«We are not nouns, we are verbs»

Read the interview by SwissStartupFactory with Rolf Hellat: With the world’s first body instrument, the startup Mictic has created an incomparable and unique product. They disrupt the music market with their device, which combines sound and motion. As they work closely with RedBull they create new and innovative projects together. The body instrument works with sensors attached to wrists and ankles and an app that converts motion into sound in real time. In this interview Rolf Hellat, CEO of Mictic, gave us some interesting insights how the idea of the body instrument was born, entrepreneurship and the startup ecosystem in Switzerland. 

You are founder and CEO of Mictic AG. How was the idea of portable sensors that converts motion in real-time into sounds born?

I met a friend, with whom i played tennis every week, but this time we went for badminton. After the game he told me, „Badminton is shitty“, there is no hard hit, no impact, not even a sound, just a silent “ffft“ when hitting the shuttle hard. Suddenly we dreamed about having explosions, rocket launches or orchestral hits, when playing the badminton shuttle. Until today this vision of having realtime sounds in an augmented reality has gripped me ever since.

What motivated you to become an entrepreneur and start your own business?

I don’t have the I-want-to-become-an-entrepreneur-thing. I am driven by an idea, in this case by augmenting reality with sound – and then i ask myself, how to form this idea. The right way for me was to create a company. So the idea pushed me. I want to quote Oscar Wilde: „We are not nouns, we are verbs. I am not a thing – an actor, a writer. I am a person who does things – I write, I act – and I never know what I am going to do next. I think you can be imprisoned if you think of yourself as a noun.“

You’ve been through the Swiss Startup Factory acceleration program. How did you feel about it?

The SSUF acceleration program was crucial for the progress of Mictic. SSUF gave us a framework in a chaotic time, they gave us entrepreneurial knowhow and connected us with the right people.

What has helped you the most about this program?

I received confidence in a field that complemented me personally: economical and structural knowhow.

Which key factors should not be missing in a startup?

Being visionary.

Being curious.

Being coltish.

How important is the team in a startup?

Teamwork makes the dream work. Nothing else.

Let us switch to you as a person: How would you describe yourself?

I am an oak tree with big feets, walking, growing, changing with the seasons.

You studied film at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste and you still working as a freelancer for various companies. How do you handle all these activities?

The variety of work fertilizes me and gives me a lot creative puissance. I handle things according to this simple principle: it’s always one step after the other – just focus on this one step – without loosing the view to the horizon.

What drives and inspires you most?

What inspires me are documentary movies like „BBC Earth“ with David Attenborough, „The War Photographer“, „Unser Täglich Brot“ or „Yaloms Cure“. What drives me is the uncertainty of reaching a goal. As soon as I reach it, I loose interest in it – strange, isn’t it?

Read the full interview here!

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