Dr. Florian Wolf of Mergeflow tells us about software for accelerating time-to-insight on R&D, technologies, and markets.
First of all, how are you and your family doing?
Dr. Florian Wolf: We are all fine. We’re very grateful for that, particularly when you consider the suffering in so many other parts of the world.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Mergeflow.
Dr. Florian Wolf: While I was doing my Ph.D. at MIT, I sometimes thought about starting my own company. But this thought took some time to take shape. Then, after doing a postdoc at the University of Cambridge, things became more concrete. The original goal with Mergeflow was very different from what we do now. We started out writing software for institutional hedge fund investors. But a few years ago, we pivoted, and now we build a SaaS platform that collects and organizes R&D and business content from the web and other places.
How does Mergeflow market its product/services online?
Dr. Florian Wolf: We do a range of things. For example, we do original research into many topics across tech sectors. We use our own software for our research and then write about what we find. We publish most of this in our blog at scope.mergeflow.com.
We also started making videos where we show hands-on how you can use our software to explore technologies and business. Most videos are part of our online video course, “Tech Discovery for Innovators,” at www.mergeflow.com/techdiscovery-for-innovators.html.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how did you get through it?
Dr. Florian Wolf: We really transformed the company. Before the pandemic, we were using a classical enterprise B2B sales model, with many meetings, and everything was more like a project than a product. Now everything is subscription-based, and we introduced new, completely self-service plans. We did not have that before the pandemic.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to manage your online marketing?
Dr. Florian Wolf: For some things, we use products that many other people use as well, such as Mailchimp or Slack. But what’s unique about us is that we can use our own software to create content. For example, we publish weekly data snapshots on various technology topics. We call them “Weekly Innovation Insights,” and they are available at www.mergeflow.com/360-reports/index.html.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Dr. Florian Wolf: biggest competitor is probably the status quo. And we think that the best way to address this is to focus on building our product. It’s important that “product” includes the entire customer experience.
Your final thoughts?
Dr. Florian Wolf: When we look back at our current era in the future, I hope that we will call it “The Great Awakening.” There are many challenges (climate, security, health, education), they are hard, but we must deal with them. And we can do it, but we must make science and engineering cool again, something that kids want to do when they’re grown up.