June 14th, 2013 The Hatchery Deutsche Telekom
On Friday, June 14, 2013, OLC attended The Hatchery’s Friday series featuring thought leaders, innovators and executives in a fireside chat. This particular event featured Andreas Wuerfel, Director for Innovation and Technology Scouting at Deutsche Telekom USA and Eric Dulkeith, Director of Detecon.
Eric Dulkeith: I belong to the former in-house consulting group. I lived in San Francisco, but relocated to New York City. I worked closely with applied research. In the last six years, our goal was to establish a footprint and relationships with startups and so on.
We’re building innovators. We’re the man in the middle. We know what’s going on and we oversee startup contracts.
Telecom revenue is going down. They have to keep in mind that you are juggling with millions of dollars and playing with infrastructure. There has been a trend starting three or four years ago—that services: IT or media—are low-hanging fruits for carriers. To have a well-respected client, that’s easy. Carriers have that. Besides adjacent industries, given the speed of mobile—car, mobile and health are the new ventures for carriers. It’s the tip of the iceberg. What devices will be connected in the future—that’s what we’re trying to see. In a few years from now, there will be a few devices that won’t be able to connect. In the long term perspective, long term investments are smart choices.
From a carrier’s perspective, when they want to invest, it’s chaos. Carriers are large—they have subdivisions and incumbents. There’s a lot of processes there. There’s a lot of drawbacks in this. Carriers want to be fast to take advantage of mobile, but oftentimes, it’s too late to acquire startups because they’ve been acquired before carriers get a chance to.
Andreas Wuerfel: DT USA represents DT, the mothership. We look primarily at East Coast technology. There’s primarily three units that we look at: venture, partnerships and commercial use. On the investment side, all our investments are right off the spreadsheet.
Following the guidelines for internal funding, we have mobile and those are done with strategic investments. We’re looking to think outside the box. We do have a Silicon Valley office, but I’m representing venture on East Coast.
We’re playing in all stages: A to exit—and it can range from as low as $30,000 in C funding and relatively quick with due diligence, certainly. One thing I find important is that you need network proximity. Be specific about what network you want to be part of. This is very important. On the commercial deal side, DT is unique because it has consumer-facing content services. We have a whole array of classified services. Those can give companies value proposition and we can provide a bridge.
Regarding Google Glasses, I find it really amazing that there’s a mobile connection in a sense with Bluetooth. We spent time building networks and Google is making sure that it’s being used.
ED: Wearable technology will be big—the reason being that it will be hands-free. Samsung is going the wrong way. I can barely use my phone with one hand.When you approach a communication director at a carrier, think about what problem they are trying to solve.
AW: Don’t necessarily think about your target market as your end user. There’s a B2B to X market. We’re providing service to enterprise marketplaces and for software developers who want to use our networks. It’s about supporting processes.