April 5, 2023

Winning an open call: Startup sovity tells us about it

The EUHubs4Data project has allocated an impressive 5.8M Euros for three open calls to develop and test data space technologies. The startup and IDSA member sovity applied with an experiment in the recent round and won. We were curious how they did it and what it entails. Sebastian Kleff, CEO of sovity, was happy to answer our questions.

Why did you apply for this open call?

Due to our experience and focus, it is relatively easy for us to take on an experiment that has to do with data spaces in the most abstract sense. The call offered a lot of freedom: what kind of components to use, what kind of topics to focus – but it had to have something to do with data spaces. So, we were flexible to select an experiment that strategically fits very well with our vision.

It’s about more resilient supply chains, right?

Exactly, the solution is called SoDeCaMa: sovereign demand and capacity management. It’s about generating better transparency along the supply chain of, for example, an automotive manufacturer by collecting data not only from the parties themselves creating transparency there, but along the entire chain.

Where does the supply chain topic come from for you?

We have already gained experience in this area in the past. Sebastian Opriel, our co-founder, wrote his dissertation in this context. But it also comes from the needs of the market. We see that this is a very large topic where Data Space technology makes a lot of sense: There is a lot of data that needs to be collected, a wide variety of parties are involved, and the information is sensitive.

What exactly did you submit as a solution? Can you explain the experiment in more detail?

It’s about implementing an application based on data space technology that collects data in the context of supply chains, such as demand and production information or stock levels. The application acquires the information via a data space and then displays, whether everything is in order or not, for example: “You get everything delivered” or “You have bottlenecks to expect”.

What is the current status? Where do you go from here?

We are still in the co-creation phase, which means we are currently talking with various users, experts who have the problem and would like to get such a solution. We are interviewing many to understand where exactly the need is and where we can create the best solution. So that we can prioritize the feature in the end: This is what we want it to be able to do, and this is what we don’t need. We will then design a concept, an architecture, and go on to implementation. And the implementation means setting up the data space and building an application on top of it. We have 9 months to develop it.

Which IDS components will be installed?

The connector – or several connectors –, an identity provider and perhaps also a catalog. That’s all already there and known. It’s a matter of putting it into context, combining it and putting that what is still necessary into an application: technically implementing a concrete use case.

What else do you get from the open call besides the funding?

We have two expert partners, namely SCSN and 4PDIH. SCSN has a lot of expertise in this area, works with partners and can offer a lot of content support, plus it provides a network, so we can talk to experts. And 4PDIH is helping us on co-creation in this field: How exactly can I prioritize a feature list? How do I get to the requirements? How can I understand the needs of the customers? They also support us in architecture design. Those two partners help us. And we have access to certain datasets we can build on.

How important are such open calls for startups?

Very important because they give us another financial opportunity to develop something, but also to build expertise based on a technology or in a new subject area, which gives you a lot of freedom to talk to other parties as well. It is great that the EU shapes such programs to foster Data Spaces.

Do you need support from your ecosystem?

It would be great if interested parties with a need for such a solution reach out to us to provide input or feedback on included features or to participate in a test. Ideal interview partners and experts would be in supply chain, demand and capacity or shortage management.

How important is the IDSA Open Call newsletter for the ecosystem?

We probably wouldn’t have become aware of this call without it! Because there is an incredible amount of movement and activity in the context of data spaces in the big jungle of EU calls and funding.

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