Diana Schnetgöke


From the Start up! trainee job interview to entrepreneur

Bike got stolen? Thanks to a built-in tracker and technology it can easily be tracked. Existing  bike tracking solutions are either expensive, need to be charged often or are simply not precise enough for the purpose. That's why four new talents at Deutsche Telekom are currently developing a better solution.

The prototype of the bike tracker is presented and held in the hand.

The bike tracker combines nu-SIM and narrowband IoT technologies in an innovative, market-relevant product idea.

Ashmi Banerjee was very excited as she prepared for her first interview at Deutsche Telekom. She had finished her master's degree in computer science from TU Munich and had already gained some experience as a software developer. Now she wanted to join Deutsche Telekom as a trainee. The Group's trainees or "start-ups" pass through various areas of the Group for 18 months before moving onto permanent positions within the company.

Her application was followed by an invitation to the assessment center where all candidates are required to present a new product idea for Deutsche Telekom. After taking a look at the company website, Ashmi was convinced that there was very little contribution of Deutsche Telekom for sports articles. 

Being a bike enthusiast and a budding triathlete herself, she realized that often exists an uncertainty of her bike being stolen when she has to park it in shady areas. She discussed it with her boyfriend, who is also a triathlete and that's when she got the idea ...

Every year, about 260,000 bikes get stolen in Germany. Out of  these, only nine percent are recovered. Efficient bike tracking could considerably reduce bike theft and give the bike owners a peace of mind when they have to park their bikes in shady places. For her Assessment center interview at Deutsche Telekom, Ashmi developed a concept using smart IoT (Internet of Things) that could prevent bike theft. 

It would have three ingredients: GPS, Nu-SIM and the narrowband IoT. GPS is supposed to provide precise location. Nu-SIM is a special power-saving chip with a cellular connection. It is permanently installed in IoT devices. “Narrowband IoT” is a narrow-band connection in the network that allows devices to transmit even from distant underground garages or basements. However, the unique selling point lies in the fact that, it would offer a data-sensitive on-demand tracking, i.e., only when the location information is requested. In short, everything convinced the HR managers at Deutsche Telekom, and Ashmi came on board in the company. 

Four women stand together and are excited about their innovative product: the bike tracker.

All for one: Ashmi Banerjee, Fabienne Ganjon, Sheng Yue and Friederike Michaelis are happy about the prototype of their "Bicycle Tracker 4.0". Now they are already intensively looking for interested partners.

Four enthusiasts, one goal

That was a year ago. "I never dreamed that I would be holding a prototype tracker in my hand today," says the 27-year-old. The team has not only already built a functional hardware prototype but also a website with the working title: Bike Tracker 4.0. The website is already online, along with a prototype for a web-app. Extensive customer interviews and survey are already conducted to validate their business idea. 

Moreover, Ashmi is pleased that she immediately found three other young women from the trainee community, who are as enthusiastic about the idea as she is: Fabienne Ganjon, who studied electrical engineering is a hardware specialist, builds the prototype in the team to fit into frames or handles. Sheng Yue is an IoT enthusiast. As she studied management and economics she is responsible for the business aspects of the project. Friederike Michaelis, a mathematician, contributes her expertise in various areas as a consultant.  

"Want to attract interested parties right now"

They are all happy to have room for innovation alongside their actual jobs. 3 months at the Lean Innovation Program (former UQBATE) gave them the opportunity to find their respective roles in the team, to deal with new topics such as finance and to develop their product together. 

Now everything is still open. Although an initial prototyping grant came from Deutsche Telekom subsidiary Mobility Solutions, which rents out bicycles as well as cars, investors are still needed to make it big. Interested parties are also in demand: "Anyone who wants to be one of the first owners of the future tracker can already sign up for our waiting list," says Fabienne Ganjon. Like the other three, she is very excited about the future of the Bike Tracker 4.0: "We are all very motivated and having a lot of fun. One thing is already certain: In terms of personal development, we're all wearing the yellow jersey by now."