Key Topics

Start-up Story: Ciara – A million-euro investment within 3 months in the digital sales sector

stories-Ciara-founders © Ciara GmbH
Written
27 September 2019
Topic
Entrepreneurship
Share

With their digital assistant, the team from Ciara took off two times in a row: Founded in January this year, it had already acquired a million-euro investment by May. With their sights set on big visions, the founders are particularly interested in having the right team by their side.


What is Ciara all about?

It offers a digital 'Inside Sales' assistant. Ciara is a software that supports sales representatives during sales conversations – interactive adjustment and smart voice recognition included. This means that during a customer call, Ciara will suggest the ideal next step in the sales pitch and deliver responses to customer objections in real-time. For instance, should the customer find the cost too high, Ciara will immediately provide the right argument to justify the price.

Would “sales-conversation-guideline-meets-language-assistant” perhaps be a more apt description of Ciara, then? Yes, and a great deal more than that, too: The vision of the startup is to deliver an all-in-one assistant for sales calls that does more than merely support the conversation and provide conversation guidance tips – but also reads out and updates the CRM tool and automatically sends out the right follow-up emails.

stories-Ciara-dashboard © Ciara GmbH

The Ciara dashboard with tasks and playbooks

From founder to mentor to founder

Once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur. Founder Martin Heibel already brought startup experience with him when he first joined UnternehmerTUM in 2016. Together with three of his friends, he’d founded the IT company IntraWorlds as a student and had served as one of its CEOs for nine years.

At UnternehmerTUM, he spent two years building up the XPRENEURS incubator, which supports teams from all around the globe in developing their business ideas into scalable enterprises.

“As an entrepreneur, you’re always on the lookout for opportunities to start something new.”

Martin Heibel

Experiencing the XPRENEURS teams’ passion for starting businesses, Martin was once more bitten by the founding bug himself.?

He found his ideal co-founder in Konstantin Krauss. At the Munich Summit (MUST) in early 2018, the two shared a conversation that made a lasting impression on them both. They found themselves naturally bonding during a promising discussion about their joint passion for starting businesses and how technology can facilitate the workplace of today.

Finding a startup team isn’t necessarily easy. A great deal has to happen for it to all fall into place.

Martin Heibel

Find your four tips for finding the right co-founders below. In the case of Martin and Konstantin, their respective skills just happened to complement each other beautifully, too: Konstantin’s strong coding skills, experience with CRM systems and development of SaaS (software as a service) were the perfect match for Martin’s sales assistant idea, business acumen and sales knowhow.

stories-Ciara-founder-martin-heibel © Ciara GmbH

All for one – toward the right team

The only thing missing was the right team – a crucial success factor. What’s the number-one recruiting secret? “Many aspects are implicit when it comes to recruiting your first team members. At the end of the day, though, the decisive factor is your gut feeling,” says Martin. Even so, a few aspects needed to be met for Ciara, such as:

  • “Can we imagine working with this person? Does he or she a good fit with the team?” The two founders made sure their existing team members got a chance to speak with applicants to ensure this.
  • “Can this person work independently, identify problems and find solutions – even outside their specific remit?”
  • “Does he or she have the necessary expertise and bring the required skills to the team?”
  • And: “Is he or she truly ready to step things up and make a difference?”

For the Ciara founders, it’s paramount for everyone to find solutions for the startup as a whole and to be prepared to get involved in all areas of the business. An engineer conducting a sales call? That’s not out of the question.

Working in a wide range of roles gives you the chance to progress very quickly and put everyone’s knowhow to good use in all areas. As long as you're working in versatile roles, you're able to move fast and use everyone's competence for every aspect of the business.

Founder Martin Heibel

Scalability? Check!

Ciara is already implementing the technology trend to combine previously separate data from various software systems in an automated and intelligent way and to use it holistically. The software isn’t a CRM tool, though.

stories-Ciara-sales-assistant © Ciara GmbH

“Our goal is to take the CRM systems that have been around for 20 years and render them far more serviceable than they are today – while also providing an assistant to improve usability without replicating them,” explains Martin Heibel. To achieve this, the young startup is already collaborating with such major players as Salesforce, Hubspot and Pipedrive.

“The days are numbered when we’ll be operating a computer with a keyboard, a mouse and lots of open windows. Voice recognition is the future.” The Ciara vision is to build a digital assistant for professionals from the most diverse business areas:

We believe that the feel of a business software and the way you can use it is going to undergo fundamental changes.

Founder Martin Heibel

Since Ciara was founded in Munich in 2019, it’s also expanded to include a subsidiary in California in order to tap into the tech market overseas. The long-term goal is for the software to provide support for customers worldwide in conducting better sales and customer conversations.

Munich - a great place for founders

The UnternehmerTUM network, with its talents, other startups and partners, still serves Ciara today. Many investors with whom Martin already worked in the context of the XPRENEURS incubator are supporters of his startup today, such as UnternehmerTUM Venture Capital Partners, Felix Haas, co-founder of IDnow and Bits & Pretzels, along with Scout24 CEO Christian Mangstl. In May 2019, the team was able to secure a 7-figure investment, only three months after being founded. The two consider Munich a great location for founders as it offers a wide range of highly qualified talent, opportunities for lively exchanges and even more potential.

stories-Ciara-founder-konstantin-krauss © Ciara GmbH

Co-founder Konstantin Krauss

Just a few months into our collaboration, we were able to reap immense benefits from our investors’ knowledge and networks.

Co-founder Konstantin Krauss

Interested in finding out more about the Ciara startup and its sales assistant? Check out the company’s website here.

Copyright title image, portraits of Martin Heibel and Konstantin Krauss, Ciara screen images: Ciara GmbH

Discover
Related Services

Academy header

Academy for Innovators

We equip you with the skills, tools, and mindset needed to transform vision into action. By embracing the power of project-based learning, coaching, and personal...

Leadership talent academy header neu

Leadership Talent Academy (LTA)

Find your own personal, value-driven leadership style to shape organizations built on a culture of togetherness, trust, and powerful action.

services-EMBA-team

Executive MBA in Innovation & Business Creation

Our MBA program for entrepreneurial professionals and future leaders: become a driver for innovation and create impact.

services-xpreneurs © Copyright: Steffen Kastner

XPRENEURS Incubator

We support tech start-ups on their way to market entry. Validate your business model, win your first customers and secure your first investment.

services-xplore-bootcamp-prototyping

XPLORE

With our pre-incubation program, we’re supporting founders and start-ups with tech-based ideas. Prepare for incubation and acquire your first seed capital!

services-Erasmus-for-young-entrepreneurs

Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs

Our exchange program with stipends for aspiring entrepreneurs: build up your international business mindset and receive mentoring from an experienced founder.

services-Techfounders-lecture

TechFounders

Our five-month accelerator program TechFounders provides your start-up with great prospects for growth - thanks to coachings and our extensive network.

160909 16 08 14 u TUM techfest 2 3200px

Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs Global

The extension of our exchange program connects talents from Europe with global entrepreneurs in Canada, Israel, Singapore and the U.S.

Discover
Related Stories

Copyright: Truma Group GmbH © Copyright: Truma Group GmbH

"Experience, Composure and Perseverance" - Impulse from Alexander Wottrich About Family Businesses

Portrait Dr Michael Diederich Badge

"Family businesses are also strong players in the global market" - Impulse from Michael Diederich, CEO of HypoVereinsbank

Young people talking and laughing © Norbert Güntner

Collaboration over Competition: Founders Support the Next Generation

Young people chatting in green backyard © Bert Willer

The World of Research, a Paradise of B2B, and Circular Entrepreneurship: Munich’s made for Founders

group photo of the Class of 2023 at the EMBA program © Simon Kratzer

Back to School, Forward to Entrepreneurship: Five Professionals on the Executive MBA in Innovation & Business Creation

Copyright: Tanso Technologies

"Sustainability Creates Great Opportunities for Companies to Future-Proof their Business Model" - Interview with Start-up Tanso

ENTRE Ebener 0040

UnternehmerTUM for Corporate Partners - Drive Innovation, Stay Competitive

Sitting man with a laptop, working on a machine © Oliver Jung

“Prototyping Means ‘Just Do It’!” Young Teams, Fast Progress - A Feature

Ferblick © Copyright: Jan Mittendorf, ferblick

Artificial Intelligence for Human-driven Processes: Start-up Story ferblick

Pro Glove paul and thomas Linked In KL

Start-up ProGlove: From a Competition Idea to Industry Success

Inveox Portrait 3

"Go Through the World with Open Eyes" - Interview with Maria and Dominik Sievert from inveox

David Hahn verkleinert

Becoming a tech founder in Munich: David Hahn’s story

Desk from above

Finding capital for your start-up - Get started

stories-unternehmertum-EMBA

5 Alumni, 5 Start-ups: How the Executive MBA in Innovation & Business Creation supports founders

Group in front of laptop

Overcome mindset gaps in the collaboration between corporates and start-ups

stories-startup-tipps-ciara-founders © Ciara GmbH

Startup tips: Ciara - "Ignore the risk of failure"

stories-start-up-story-passbase-founder

Start-up Story: Passbase - a digital Identity

stories-inveox-maria-und-dominik © inveox

Inveox Manage and More Success Story: "Only Understanding for Oneself Can Open the View for Others"

Newsletter
Get Monthly Updates

Your bite of the innovation scene: stay up to date with news from the UnternehmerTUM network and our event recommendations and discover which start-ups are up and coming now.
You'll find our privacy policy with information on logging your registration, mailings via Mailchimp, statistical analysis, and unsubscribe options here.