“HAUS61” to Promote Innovations in Airfreight

The founders of CargoSteps, Rachid Touzani, CEO, Murat Karakaya, COO, and Tom Anyz, CCO, aim to help young entrepreneurs get their business ideas off the ground with their Frankfurt-based logistics start-up lab. They have gained considerable support for their venture.

CargoSteps has been on the market for a good three years. In February 2016, the Frankfurt entrepreneurs Rachid Touzani, CEO, and Murat Karakaya, COO, started working with IT specialist Tom Anyz, CCO, to create more transparency in the transport sector. Their universal track-and-trace solution for couriers and express freight enables cross-company shipment tracking via GPS. CargoSteps integrates all forwarding companies and their Transport Management Software systems (TMS), subcontractors, and courier drivers so that a complete status can be called up at any time. Today, CargoSteps receives support as a start-up from the State of Hesse and the House of Logistics and Mobility. In 2017, CargoSteps won the Frankfurt Founder’s Prize, and their customers now include established forwarders, couriers and transport companies.

From Start-Up to Incubator

But the road to success was rocky. “The logistics sector is very fragmented and conservative,” says Murat Karakaya. “Despite our logistics background we had no access whatsoever to raise awareness about our business idea in the market when we started.” It is no secret that founders are faced with major challenges to get their start-ups off the ground. The CargoSteps bosses are now addressing this problem with “HAUS61”. From April 2019, up to six logistics entrepreneurs will develop innovations for the air freight sector under the roof of this start-up lab. Meanwhile, Touzani, Karakaya and Anyz have built up a wide-ranging network in the Air Cargo Community and gained considerable support for their project. Partners include Sovereign, Logistics4Pharma, Quick Cargo Service, the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics, KRAVAG and Conbrio. Fraport AG has also recently become a partner of “HAUS61”. The aim of the lab is to network regional start-ups with established companies in the logistics sector and promote ideas. The name is derived from the address of the lab in the middle of the “Mainhattan” district in Frankfurt’s Kaiserstrasse 61. Close to the main railway station, the area is known as the red light district and is home to numerous hotels, bars and cool clubs that are open into the small hours.
“To help an idea achieve a breakthrough, you need a great team, absolute commitment, endurance and a good network,” Karakaya knows from experience. “In ‘HAUS61’, we want to offer the best conditions to the most promising ideas.” The “HAUS61” concept is to bring together young start-ups and logistics experts. Practical content will be delivered via workshops and there will be regular pitches with plenty of scope for feedback and exchange. “We want to help the founders build their credibility right from the start and be taken seriously as entrepreneurs,” says Karakaya. “At the same time, we hope to expand the fantastic air freight network and give it even more innovative strength by promoting promising business ideas.” For him, this is not primarily about earning money. “None of the founders has to surrender ownership shares – it’s the good idea that counts.”

Application Phase Currently Underway

Anyone wanting to apply for a place in the start-up lab can submit their project on the website www.haus61.com. The potential start-up ideas will be matched with partners during the selection process. This will enable start-ups and industry leaders to develop the Rhine-Main location for freight and logistics together.

Max Philipp Conrady, Head of Freight development and Management at Fraport AG, is pleased about the collaboration. “As partners, we can contribute our own project ideas and realize them hand in hand with start-ups. This gives us an early insight into innovations, which is a great advantage to us, as Europe’s largest cargo airport,” says Conrady.

Rachid Touzani, CEO at Cargosteps, und Max Philipp Conrady, Head of Freight Development and Management at Fraport AG, are pleased about the collaboration.
Text: Sven Mentel
Photos: CargoSteps, Fraport