This blog entry is about nothing less than the future of television: the FlickStuff startup has developed an app that provides additional information about the television programs you are watching. For example, during a documentary about music, facts about the person and key words associated with them appear on the screen. Users can research the cool sunglasses worn by an actor and buy them with just one click, or find the music currently playing on the TV in iTunes, view the appropriate Wikipedia articles to an episode of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, or follow twitter comments about an episode of Tatort.
Three tables and numerous computers are all squeezed into the small office housing the FlickStuff startup on the University of Stuttgart’s Vaihingen Campus. This is where Johannes, Dominique and Annabel develop and market their app. Dominique and Johannes studied computer science at the University of Stuttgart and the app is based on their master’s thesis. Annabel began working for FlickStuff in 2016 and is responsible for marketing and PR work. She is not new to the startup scene. Whilst studying applied media sciences, Annabel interviewed and portrayed numerous startups located both in Germany and abroad for a magazine. Johannes and Dominique were amongst those interviewed. “We bumped into each other again at a bus stop in our home town. It quickly became apparent that we would be able to work well together”, says the 21 year old.
The idea for the app Came as we were watching TV
The idea that it might be useful to be able to access additional information via smartphone or tablet came as the two were watching TV. Dominique searched, without success, for a wall decoration that he had seen on TV and wanted to find solution to this problem. FlickStuff was born. Dominique and Johannes began programming. After managing to impress Professor Albrecht Schmidt, who also supervised their master’s thesis, with the idea for their new project, the next step was to implement the startup. The team applied for the Exist startup grant, awarded by the Federal Ministry of Economics. They were awarded the grant, which enabled them to finance the startup for a year and move into the office on the Vaihingen campus.
2017 will decide FlickStuff’s future
The FlickStuff team has spent the last year developing the app. In addition to the ability to display product and background information about the program, the app should also make analysis possible. In the future it should be possible for companies to receive information about what products are being bought or searched for and which programs are being watched. “The prototype for viewers is already in the advanced stages of development and has been available for free download by 100 interested parties since February 2017”, says Annabel. For the summer we are planning to complete the analysis prototype in order to serve the business-to-business field in the long term. In 2017 the young startup must start drawing interested customers. The grant will keep the business afloat for one year, but now the founders need to find their feet as soon as possible. “It remains to be seen whether FlickStuff will be successful or not. But of course, we knew that there was a risk and we wanted to take it”, explains Annabel.
The computer science graduates are supported by Technologie-Transfer-Initiative GmbH (TTI GmbH), the main point of contact for new companies at the University of Stuttgart. In comparison to other universities, the University of Stuttgart is way ahead, boasting numerous EXIST startup grants issued to new companies.