Who we are today – in a nutshell
HighPots is one of the leading medium-sized service providers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Our services focus on software development, data analysis and requirements engineering.
The results of our data analysis often have an impact on the strategy of our clients.
Therefore, there is an increasing number of boundary points with the strategy managements of our customers. Our customers are exclusively outside companies. Accordingly, Highpots is a B2B company.
Our logo is meant to represent a cell. It is the core from an artificial neuronal network. The shell around this core is a biological neuron. This is the way we want to express how our daily work is connected with artificial intelligence. Such artificial intelligence can do many important things. But the decision as to which things are to be done when, how and how often should be made by man. That is why the biological neuron surrounds the artificial intelligence in its centre.
From the perspective of our founders, many of whom are still in the company today and have been working with us, “HighPots” has been in existence for 30 years.
The name HighPots is a shortened expression for High Potentials and refers to our employees.
HighPots was founded in Germany and was relocated to Switzerland in 2018. It was not the high tax burden on companies in Germany that was the primary reason. One of the main reasons was the temporary employment act. This law requires that the same employees may not work for more than 18 months with our corporate customers. Since our projects often last considerably longer than 18 months and as we are not in a position to keep rows of specialists on hand to work on projects, we decided to move to Switzerland.
Who are our customers
Our customers are exclusively other companies. Nevertheless, our actions and thinking are often oriented towards consumers. After all, it is impossible to develop intelligent solutions for our customers without taking the end consumer into account. Our customers are international corporations as well as medium-sized companies.
HighPots is strongly represented in the automotive, pharmaceutical, banking, insurance, medical, energy and travel industries.
Our goal is to strengthen our customers. To this end, we use the intelligence, experience, creativity, joy and energy of our employees. And of course we also use modern and proven technologies and methods. The combination of all these parameters guarantees high quality and customer satisfaction.
Internationality and barrier freedom
Our customers as well as our employees usually have international backgrounds. Naturally, the internal language of HighPots is English. Our company is also open to customers and employees from all cultures, races, religions, sexes, and sexual orientations, all faiths and all countries. Nevertheless, HighPots has a uniform corporate culture within the company. An ethical attitude that is consistent, expedient and peaceful in its principles.
Employees at HighPots and how to become an employee at HighPots?
The population in most countries is too small to recruit personnel exclusively in one country. Richly populated countries such as China or India, which also have excellent universities, are exceptions. In Western Europe, Switzerland and the US, almost all companies are looking for top-qualified professionals. When it comes to staff selection in these countries, HighPots not only competes with its competitors in technical consulting, but also with all other companies. For this reason HighPots recruits employees from all over the world. A successful completion of our personnel selection process (Assessment Center) is a prerequisite.
Assessment Center (AC)
We have examined many AC’s with different activity profiles from well-known companies in different industries such as Google, Daimler, NASA, Huawei, Boston Consulting Group or Roland Berger. Some of our employees have already worked for these companies before. We also took a closer look at the assessment centers of elite universities and research institutions. We also analyzed the ACs of think tanks and non-profit organizations such as Greenpeace and the United Nations. We analyzed various intelligence tests, creative tests and methods for identifying corporate loyalty. We invested a lot of time and energy in the development of our own AC. And this is at least on a par with the personnel selection procedures of well-known organisations. Our staff is our most important resource. We do not make any compromises when it comes to personnel selection even if that would mean less economic growth for us, at the end.
Success is our incentive
Success is the engine that drives people. Success is a guarantor for well-being and pride. Success means to exceed one’s own performance or even to be better than others. Success has many dimensions. Success can occur in private and in professional lifes. Run faster than yesterday, lift heavier weights than others, make other people happy, earn more money, understand the world better – there are many more examples.
But we at HighPots agree that success can be planned. Success for us is not simply calculable but has to be planned.
Not only a satisfied customer is seen as our success but also interesting and exciting activities or projects with our customers.
Interpersonal interactions, discussions between colleagues and customers, understanding of other perspectives, achievement of a uniform understanding as well as joint action to achieve a defined goal – all these are moments of success for us.
If these success experiences cannot be achieved or the result cannot be a success in the end, our work becomes useless. If chances of success are low and constructive suggestions for the successful achievement of objectives are dismissed, contracts might be rejected.
For us, the journey is not the reward. It is the successful outcome that becomes our ultimate goal.
Change in business alignment
In 2018 we changed the business orientation of our company. In recent years, we have focused on technical marketing and dynamic pricing.
The practical implementation of the projects, however, took place through requirements management, data analysis and software development, for the most part.
All technical marketing projects were ultimately data analytics projects or software development projects.
In dynamic pricing, the requirements became more varied and went far beyond marketing.
Therefore, we decided to offer the services not in the marketing area only. In 2018, HighPots became a technical service provider for software development, data analysis and requirements engineering.
This is where the compact description of HighPots ends.
If you want to spare more time, you may read the complete history of our company in the following chapters.
The history of HighPots begins in 1984 with the foundation of an honorary association for student tutoring in the Stuttgart area. Initiator was Dr. Schuster, a math and physics teacher, who wanted to offer a free tutoring alternative for the children of financially weaker families.
The association was a success. The number of members increased, the association was able to book donations and rented an older building, which was renovated collectively.
The association changed from a pure pupil tutoring to a social meeting place for pupils of several schools. The number of pupils increased as did the number of teachers, – on certain days parents joined in and helped to support projects.
The pupils prepared themselves for the radio amateur examination, took part in youth research projects, obtained navigation licences (especially the Lake Constance patent), learnt how to fly a glider or got involved in model making or software development.
During the holidays, many students worked for Daimler, Porsche, IBM or HP and often earned an extra income through new ideas in the areas of production, quality improvement or process optimization.
At that time, established terms such as “idea management” or “innovation development” did not exist. There was the company suggestion system in the form of letterboxes on the walls next to the clocks, in which suggestions for improvement, sketched on a piece of paper, were thrown in. At that time, “innovations” were called “inventions” and the profession associated with them was “inventor” and not “innovator”.
This initially established coaching association soon became an inventor’s shop. The pupils grew older and increasingly took on more responsibility. They began to initiate and organise the tutoring groups of younger pupils as well as the use of rooms and PC workstations.
In the 90’s the older students passed their Abitur (university-entrance diploma in Germany) and went to the university. At that time, the situation in mechanical engineering and the automotive industry was not particularly good, and Germany was increasingly changing from a production society into an information society.
They concentrated on their own further training measures and intensified their efforts in the workplace.
At that time, the association fell into a deep sleep.
In 2005 Kara, a club member from the old days, revitalized the club. Kara had started her career after studying law at the public prosecutor’s office. She had focused on patent law, left the public prosecutor’s office after 5 years and had become in-house counsel for patent prosecution at Daimler. Only now did Kara understand how far the association had come with his ideas 10 years earlier. She realized that the automotive industry celebrated ideas and inventions that the association had already had many years before.
Recruitment of the basic crew
After Kara’s decision to bring the club out of its deep sleep, Kara first called Nilay. Nilay, also a committed member of the association in the late 1980s, worked as a strategy consultant for M&A at the Boston Consulting Group after having studied economics. Kara convinced Nilay – the two met for the first time in many years at Frankfurt Airport for the planning of further steps.
“IT is not everything, but without IT all is nothing” – this statement was the reason for the call to Thomas Kull (a.k.a “Krulli”) who after his studies in computer science and his doctorate had been in charge of a software development department at IBM. Thomas quickly became enthusiastic about the idea and was part of the team from there on.
Last but not least, there was also a natural scientist on board who was supposed to have the big picture in mind and who was also meant to be designing and building prototypes comprising both hardware as well as software.
One day, shortly after 8 pm Rüdiger’s phone rang. As a quantum physicist and specialist for artificial intelligence, he had already been researching McCulloch-Pitts cells and later Hopfield networks as a pupil and student. When the phone rang, he was just about to leave the KNCS Institute of the MIT.
Rüdiger was not much impressed by the idea. He was of the opinion that the most important competence would not lie in the development of the ideas or a prototype, but in identifying the right time for a certain idea – he simply denied Germany the possibility of any kind of competence in the field of digitisation.
He also drew attention to the increasing importance of digital marketing; “Technological progress may have been decisive in the 1980s, but today the winning companies are the ones that make it possible for as many people as possible to learn about progress and gain access to it – and that requires a huge amount of funds”.
Despite his reservations, Kara, Nilay and Thomas managed to get him involved with the association for 4 hours a week.
In the further process many “sleeping” club members and former members were reactivated. By 2010 the number of members had risen to over 2,500, of whom about 500 were active colleagues (more than 10 hours/week). Thus, more than 20,000 hours per month of volunteer personnel resources were available. The association handled F&E and research assignments for municipalities, cities and industry in the conurbation of the middle Neckar.
All income was invested in the equipment of the association (laboratory equipment, IT, licenses, etc.) as well as in the tutoring and school projects. The association also donated large sums to educational institutes and other non-profit organisations.
In addition to the Fraunhofer Institute, the association developed into an important regional institution for the economy.
The year 2010 was not only negative because the Agenda 2010 pushed through by the “social” SPD had proven that citizens had to pay for a welfare state but were not allowed to make use of it.
In 2010, the postman brought the association a service of process from the court. The tax authorities complained that the purpose of the association had not been achieved and that millions of euros in back taxes were to be paid.
The association regarded itself as unjustly sued, rejected the settlement offer of the tax authorities and sought a legal process.
In 2011, a final judgment was reached. The court ruled against the tax authorities on the first point, failure to comply with the purpose of the association, and ordered the closure of the association. The association was however acquitted of the second point: tax evasion in the millions.
A German GmbH & Co. KG
After the judgement it was discussed for a lengthy time whether a new association with new statutes should be founded or eventually also an association for charitable purposes (gGmbH). Solicitors had advised against the foundation of a non-profit organisation, regardless of the type of company. The risk of becoming involved in a similar case again would have been too high.
The basis crew, consisting of Kara, Nilay, Thomas and Rüdiger, agreed on the establishment of a classical enterprise.
But it was unclear which of the association’s former corporate customers would be open to an economic organization. Would the companies be willing to go along with this change? What income was to be expected and how were expenses to remain low?
Which mantra should the new company have and which company name suited the mantra still to be defined?
Which type of company offered the highest financial flexibility with calculable liability at the same time?
The auditing firm advising the association proposed a GmbH & Co.KG, – the proposal was accepted.
mission and mantra
The new company should not substantially change its portfolio compared to the former association. It should be easier to re-acquire the companies that had commissioned the association’s services.
Nevertheless, the new company, with its lower personnel resources, was not able to provide all of the association’s services.
Therefore, on the one hand, it was clarified which products and services the companies had most frequently ordered from the association.
On the other hand, it was determined where the markets would probably develop in the future.
The last step was to identify the skills and passions of the available human and material resources via SWOT analysis.
The results were clear.
The mission is to maintain the marketing and sales interfaces between European companies and end customers in the context of digital transformation.
The mantra was the result:
“Digital customer centricity & data-based marketing”
The “new” company should be involved:
- To engage in research into the role of humans as consumers.
- The Big 5 and their subgroups should serve as scientific guidelines (conscientiousness, openness to new experiences, extraversion/intraversion, tolerability, neuroticism).
- The results should serve the precise dynamic and automated allocation of consumers to target groups or risk groups (customers from the insurance industry).
- Research on methods for building and expanding trust and measuring trust between businesses and consumers.
- Achieving high technology goals (artificial neural networks, visual intelligence, machine learning, etc.)
- Develop in-depth mathematical know-how in stochastics and statistical methods for mass data analysis
- Associate with strong research partners to achieve fast product and service development cycles
Other secondary results were:
- Exclusive B2B Orientation
- Focus on B2C industries (automotive, travel, energy, pharmaceuticals & medical, insurance and banking)
Due to our extensive personnel selection procedures and demanding assessment centers, even for former club members, the new company has had personnel with above-average qualifications right from the start.
For this reason the name fell on HighPots, – an acronym for “High Potentials“.
HighPots – the logo
All HighPots employees were allowed to submit suggestions for the company logo.
Due to the strong focus on digitization, big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning, a neuron was chosen as the logo.
Based on our corporate philosophy that the biological human life form should always have the last word compared to the artificial life form, we sketched an artificial neural network as a smaller component within a biological neuron in the logo.
2011 to 2016
From 2011 to 2016, HighPots helped many marketing and sales departments of different companies increase sales.
The intelligent, automated and accurate real-time mapping of consumers to exact audiences has proven worthwhile for our enterprise customers.
Ebenso, our developed KPI systems for industry-oriented trust measurement between consumers and B2C companies have become an important tool for our customers.
Since 2011, HighPots has been researching general and sector-based consumer behavior. HighPots collaborated with universities and institutes. We had subdivided these behaviors into numerous parameters. We recorded the behavior of consumers, analyzed it and assigned the consumer with high accuracy to one or more target groups. In the end, this was done with machine learning components.
We then played out trust elements and measured the resulting trust. We had also developed our own trust KPIs for this.
If the trust between company and consumer was high enough and the consumer’s interest in a product or service was sufficient, offers were played out.
The mapping of psychological and sociological consumer-related aspects in the software brought great advantages for B2C companies.
Concrete developments of HighPots between 2011 and 2016 were:
- Development of a method and software to measure trust
- Target Group Mapper® – Software for the dynamic allocation of consumer profiles to target groups and of products to target groups
- Gamification Klick-Rally® – Development and marketing of game apps for data enrichment and end customer profiling
- Interfaces to Web Tracking Systems
- Interfaces to CRM systems (Midoco, Microsoft Dynamics, CAS, etc.)
- Interfaces to Content Management Systems
- Browser and Clock Fingerprint Software
- Ultrasonic eBeacon for multi-screen user detection
- S4CRM® – integrated multi-channel system for social data enrichment, target group definition, product target group matching, campaign management and real-time campaign controlling
- MailStone® – System for the allocation of e-mail addresses to target groups
- HP Cloud – Building a High Performance Big Data Cloud
- Digital Service Desk (DSD) – Hybrid system consisting of bot and human for support and service centers
2017 and 2018
In 2017 and 2018, we expanded our portfolio in the area of data-based marketing using neural networks and stochastic methods.
We also developed further products and interfaces for data collection, some of which acted as new marketing channels or as supplements to existing marketing channels.
In 2017, we taught our systems the distinction between success and failure.
If, for example, a high conversion is achieved, our systems remember all the parameters that led to it – from all campaigns… across all advertising channels. This was also the basis for the development of algorithms in the area of dynamic pricing.
Sociological trends were also added to this, – certain social or political events were set in context to the campaign result.
Thus, our machine learning algorithms brought permanent sales and marketing optimizations to our software products. The dynamic pricing led to a partially automated increase in sales for our customers. In general, customers hardly ordered any more operative marketing measures from HighPots (e.g. SEM or SEO). Software development and the analysis of mass data were increasingly in the foreground.
leasing of employees
In 2018, the EU Law on the Temporary Employment of Workers presented us with challenges. HighPots is not a company that places employees with other companies. Nevertheless, the EU considers all projects that last longer than 18 months and are accompanied by the same employees to be temporary employment. The law requires that employees be replaced, that the project be terminated or that the employees be permanently employed by our customers. In times when computer scientists, statisticians and software engineers are rare, our corporate customers have no choice but to entice away and take over our employees. This was the only way for customers to secure their operations.
The present – Switzerland welcomes us warmly
In order to escape the law on temporary employment, HighPots moved to Switzerland in 2018. There we are now working for Swiss companies and try to support them with our expertise.
The demand from our corporate customers for the implementation of digitisation projects helped us to decide on the future direction of the company.
In 2019 we deleted the marketing orientation from our portfolio. Since 2019, we have again focused on understanding customer requirements (requirements management / Requirements Engineering), development of intelligent software and analysis of structured and unstructured mass data (big data analytics).
We will continue to intensify our close links with research.
In particular, the areas of artificial intelligence and quantum engineering. The mapping of artificial neuronal networks on quantum computers is a major focus.