Software Architects showcased their solution called ‘time cockpit’ at the European BizSpark Summit, which helps people in the services industry track billable hours and the content of their work to facilitate the billing process. Hear from Co-founder Rainer Stropek in the below video interview.

The BizSpark startup of the day is time cockpit (Software Architects), based in Austria. Below you will find an interview with Rainer Stropek, co-founder of Software Architects. All the best to them and congratulations for being the startup of the day!

Website: www.timecockpit.com

 Tell us who you are and your role in the company:

I am one of the two founders of the company. At time cockpit my role is to work on the software architecture of our product time cockpit. In fact I also do a lot of the programming of the underlying framework that’s working under the hoods of our solution. Beside that I am responsible for representing our company at conferences and events like this BizSpark summit.

What did you do before creating your company?

time cockpit is the fourth venture of my colleague Karin Huber and me. Over the last 15 years we have successfully founded and led companies in the IT services area. The project time cockpit marks something of a departure from our previous ventures. In the past we have seen that consulting businesses are hard to scale. I heard a talk at a Microsoft Partner Conference about building value into the business and left convinced we had to move from consulting to products.

How do you feel being the most promising ‘Startup of the Day’ per Microsoft BizSpark?

Great! Empower for ISV and the BizSpark program have been of great help at the time when we had nothing but an idea and a business plan. Today the product "time cockpit" has proven to be Windows 7 compatible. The company has already become Gold Certified Partner and most importantly our beta folks just fall in love with the way our product reduces their pain handling time tracking. Without BizSpark the start would have been much harder – so we are very happy about being nominated as the “Startup of the Day”.

What is your company’s mission?

Did you know that we have more than 318 million knowledge workers in Europe alone? Studies have shown that up to 40% of knowledge workers’ time gets lost because they do not track it or track it wrongly – that means more than 80 billion lost hours in Europe every single year. These folks live by selling their time. That’s why they are losing huge amounts of money and insight by not tracking lots of their billable hours.

time cockpit’s signal trackers collect and analyze digital footprints that a knowledge worker leaves on electronic devices she uses every day: Used applications, files & folder names, emails, phone calls, WLANs, appointments etc. As a cloud service our software connects all different types of electronic devices to have your consolidated data ready when you need it for creating your timesheets. Online or offline – we made time cockpit a solution that goes with you wherever you are. That's what time cockpit is really all about – recovering lost time!

In 140 characters or less, tell us what your company does:

Imagine: End of the months, a day not booked, just one glimpse into time cockpit and you know when you did what for whom - that’s it.

How did you get the idea for your company?

We looked at the market for time-tracking and there were thousands of solutions so we put it aside. But we kept coming back to it. So we took a walk around a lake for hours and hours and thought how can we make this different? We realized that though there are lots of solutions it is a very fragmented market with no big players and no-one really focusing on time-tracking and there is a real space for a product that can semi-automate the process.

Tell us about your funding history. Are you currently looking for funding? If so, how much?

We have managed to receive research promotion from the Austria research promotion agency. This money helped us to finance our research work in the last two year. Additional we have been admitted to the high-tech incubator tech2b. The tech2b mentors who have been assigned to our project help us closing the knowledge gap that we still have concerning sales and marketing for small and medium businesses. We are currently looking for partners who can help us bringing the solution to a worldwide success.

How many employees do you have? How many developers?

Our team currently consists of the two founding partners. Additionally we have employed three professional software developers who are experts in technologies that are crucial in the development of time cockpit. Two fantastic freelancers have joined the team for UI and interaction design.

Are you hiring? If yes, what are you hiring for and where?

Currently we are not actively looking for people. However, we are always keeping our eyes opened for talented persons in the areas of software development as well as sales and marketing.

Which platform are you building on? Why?

Currently time cockpit has been built as a smart client solution based on Windows Presentation Foundation and the .NET Framework 4.0. A Silverlight 4 version is currently being developed. Additionally we decided to bet the farm on the Windows Azure platform. It allows us to focus on our core business, the development of the software solution “time cockpit”. We are a start-up company and therefore our resources – time and money – are limited. With Azure we do not need large investments upfront. It is a like a skin: it will grow as we grow.

Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/Internet area?

Our mission is to use the latest technologies and findings to create an application that offers a level of productivity and accuracy which have been unknown in the area of time tracking. We are strong believers that the technologies that have been developed in the last few years have the potential to differentiate us and our product from the rest of the market.

Cloud computing is a big enabler for small startups like us. For us it was obvious that time cockpit has to be a software + service solution. Windows and SQL Azure give us the possibility to start without large upfront investments in data centres. If time cockpit is going to be a great success we can easily consume more resources in Azure, otherwise Azure helps us to keep costs down.

What do you think about the BizSpark Program?

As mentioned before BizSpark has been of great value when starting our project. With programs like BizSpark it is so easy to get your hands on the tools you need to make your ideas come true as a software developer. From all software enterprises we have ever partnered with Microsoft does the best job empowering their partners. BizSpark offered us a lot of opportunities that go far beyond just providing free software.

Do you have any advice for young Software entrepreneurs?

If you have an idea that you believe in, go for it! Find the right people who can help you evaluating the chance to be successful with your dream and if you are still convinced about getting successful with it, stop hesitating!

Who’s your role model?

Doug Burgum, co-founder of the company that became Navision or Dynamics.NAV.

What’s the ONE THING you would like readers to take away from this interview?

If you are a knowledge worker and you need to know how you spent your time, you have to have time cockpit.