Cogia Just IPOed And Wants to Use the Access to Capital to Drive Market Consolidation

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“To accelerate our growth, we need to buy companies”Pascal Lauria, founder and CEO Cogia Tune in to our Internet Radio Station here:

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“My goal is 10 mn Euros revenue. To reach this we need to keep buying [companies]”Pascal Lauria, founder and CEO Cogia The Founder

Pascal Lauria (https://www.linkedin.com/in/pascallauria/) has a very diverse background, raised in the Rhine-Main-Area his studies took him to Canada. He later worked in Taiwan, Silicon Alley (New York’s startup hub) and in Silicon Valley. He took his experience to go back to Frankfurt and set up Cogia there (https://www.cogia.de/?locale=en_us).

“Acquisitions are not always successful. We are very aware of that. We are working on it. For example in our last acquisitions we did not lose even one employee.”Pascal Lauria, founder and CEO Cogia The Startup

Cogia Intelligence (https://www.cogia.de/?locale=en_us) is a big data, ai startup. It provides in its current setup innovative products and solutions in the areas of web and social media monitoring, market research and open source intelligence. The company Cogia GmbH is the startup, the company Cogia AG is the listed entity. Pascal started Cogia in 2010 but listed Cogia AG only in 2021 in Düsseldorf. Then the two entities merged and so Cogia GmbH got listed. You can learn more about the listed entity here: https://cogia.ag/de/investor-relations/

“With the access to capital markets I want to do one to two acquisitions per year.”Pascal Lauria, founder and CEO Cogia The Video Interview is set to go live on Tuesday, December 14th, 2021 at 16.00 CET

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This interview was conducted by Jörn “Joe” Menninger, startup scout, founder, and host of Startuprad.io. Reach out to him:LinkedInTwitterEmail

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Welcome to start up bread dot I oh, your podcast and Youtube blog covering the German startup scene with News, interviews and live events. Hello and welcome everybody. This is Joe from start up bread. I owe your start up podcast and you to block from Germany. Today are bring you another interview in our cooperation with Hassn't tread an invest under the brand invest in Hassan. Make sure to check out their website, invest in Hessan dotcom. Talking about Hessan. The largest city, not a capital, but largest city in Hessant is Frankfort, and Frankfort I do have a guest today, Pascal Hey Pascott Haydin him people who are longtime listeners to celebrate that. I owe. May recognize you from coin analyst, but today we are here Gu to your venture called KOGIA. Kogia we'll talk about pretty soon. But the thing is you got listed mostly unnoticed from anybody else. So we will talk about your story and how you got listed in dustled off, but first and up front, tell us a little bit about you and what did you and what brought you actually to Kobe. Had To be in entrepreneur. Oh that's number one. I was born and raised in dashed at another city, in Hessan, and I'm a real hessanant boy and it's Italo hassant boy. And now we created a new category, the Italo Hessant boy. Yeah, and it Tallo Hassan boy. And Yeah, and now I'm happy to live in Frankfort. My wife is also from Frankfort, so that's a real big local play. I did my my high school. You know, it's kind of grammar school in Damshta. Then I went to Canada, did my degree in economics, major macroeconomics, and I had a minor in computer computer science, and my first actually computer language was Pascal Norman, as women go. And after my Canadian experience I went to Taiwan. Had a chance there to work for software company two years. Learned picked up some Chinese while I was there and the company I worked for was actually then acquired by choral braw by Korl all right, which is another Canadian company. So kind of was kind of cool getting back to the Canadians in Taiwan. And after two years of that I went to I went back to my home country, back to Hessen, in a small town called sh who bath, and I worked for some soon European at headquarter. I was I joined the sts software data systems of some song. They made over one point two billion in revenues at the time and I was responsible to sell their software, which they're not so famous for, but we did from zero to ten million build up that unit. And Yeah, so I was what actually one of the youngest a maya managers at the time, with long hair. It's pretty revolutionary for quite conservative company. When you look there's quite conservative work there. And then for after that, I had a chance to work for Silton Valley Company and it's a spin off or like continuation of HP Open Mail, so called Scalix. After after scaies and introducing it a focus successfully into Europe, I had another opportunity to introduce and bring to market company...

...out of New York. But if it's silicon Alle, not so famous, but actually New York was going for Sylton a lie, since Eric Schmidt is now living in New York, the kid, the new alle. In that company I grew from fourteen people go to two hundred. I was you know we I do. I did ninety percent of the revenues with roughly third fifty million in three years and out of that, ninety percent is my was was my revenue. So the company's revenue was ninety percent came in coming from me. So that was my trigger where I said, well, shouldn't I do this for myself? Wouldn't make sense. So I know that's that was the trigger and that's how I started Coodya and Kobea is a big data ai company and it's basically my passion united. It's macro catching all the data, you know, understanding market trends in near real time. It's very exciting. And then ai in text mining is just a natural process just to be you know, maximize on your results and trying to get more out of your results. It was a natural thing that we had to you know, get, you look at machine learning to improve our results right, to get more out of the data. So that's the reason why actually we happen to have, you know, for over ten years of big data. I know how in in a space that at that time wasn't that hot, but now now we're one of the lucky ones that that has over ten years experience in a very important space that's big Daya Ai. And then, you know, I came up by hearing my friends suffering with Crypto and research it and, you know, having fear of scam. That's how it's added. Then coin and list, just because it's a spin off out of Kobe. Yeah, because I wanted to help my friends and one of my one of those, is a CO founder of that coiners, which is the other company of mine. Yes, the mother ship. That's how it started. We are doing, you know, our stuff, customer satisfaction retory for like fortunate by hundred companies. But yeah, sorry, go ahead. So that was point I was trying to go for. What was like the final decision you made before you decided to venture out for you and, of course, always important for our listeners who are early stage, first time entrepreneurs, how did you get your first client? Okay, as mentioned, like, my big trigger for me to become an entrepreneur was, I mean I grew a company from forty to two hundred people in ninety percent of the revenues came from me. So I thought it's not very fair, I'm not getting any of the upside. I got a couple of I mean I made a half million and I made fifty million. For the others, it just just just didn't work out. For me that sense. I said look, I gotta do this for myself, and so I started and invested my money into my new venture, all of it, and I actually talked about in the fuck up night also how I actually burned it quite fast and I had some very exciting experience over there as well. So my first customer, we how did I get them? I was cause a little bit through contacts, you know, talking to your network and trying to, you know, tell them what you're doing, and so that's how you basically when your first deals, you know, that's where you willing to do killer deals for them, right, a lot of goodies for price, just to get your foot on the ground right. And now take us through...

...the journey. So basically, you started some text recognition and with a I and then somehow ended up with customer satisfaction. How did this journey go? And we may add that it was like more than eleven years ago that you found a Kobea. Yeah, so it's a long time. Yeah, you we pivot it a bit. I we went through quite a bit of, you know, interesting evolutions. Number one, we wanted to go, and do you know, social media monitoring, because that was exciting to me. That's big data. I can use sent them an analysis, you know, with natural language processing, which is the first piece actually considered to be part of Ai, is n LP, machine learning and people learning. So that's actually first in reduction into that are world. And we I thought, I thought that area is so exciting. It was. Language are complex to identify. So this is this is that's why we know, we focus on the area of text mining, sentiment analysis and, you know, the big data means, you know, crawling technology. We have actually a pattern also out there for our crawl up, very unique methodology that we use in calling the data. So we started, you know, in the area of social media monitoring. I thought this is the best place to apply out our capability, to take the capabilities text mining, the capabilities, you know, crawling big amount of data because, you know, we we were specialized in crawlers. I had that background, we have that background. And Yeah, that's how we started. And then we had fierce competition coming out of the US and unfortunately, then we said, okay, that that that's getting not fun. It's a hard market to win these marketing guys. That's fine, I went it's and then we identify that the niche that wasn't occupied was customer satisfaction, and here we were able to succeed and they be better than the competitors, like, like small Kobia is competing against quality ricks coal tracks right now value twenty four billion, and we beat them thirty times in you know, it's like when having called having like downstair ninety eight, which is a soccer team in Dunster, Prom it's second league come team, beating Barcelona, which is a champion League's team, Thirty Times. So that was my trick. As I look, I'm actually Champions League in this area. I should, you know, get the proper funding for that too. That's that. When we get down to why I went to the listing area, is trying to get the funding to help me, you know, grow and, you know, become a sustainable Champions League player, not just the lucky one, but this was lucky for a season, but I want to make it sustainable anyway. So, talking like in metaphors kind of thing, what what do you do for this customer satisfaction before we get into how he got listed, but it didn't catch your question in the beginning. With what you mean with customer satisfaction? What what kind of services see actually provider. You Monitor your behavior of the clients on the website. You you are basically analyze the feedback, the social media content they are posting about your brand. What do you actually do there? Okay, yeah, in this case, actually the majority of the customers, you know, control the touch point, email, like through email with the internal customer based once they had it's more like in the after sales. So once you've had the contact with the company, the company emails you with a link and ask you if you if you experience was that great, that you would recommendly, maybe would you recommend it to your friends or to your contacts, and that's called not net promoter score on the NPS is the...

...big thing that brought like a big drive for us because it's just reduces everything to one question, one to ten. Would you recommend this dealer, this shot, this product, this company, to your network, to your friends and and then the question is, explain why you have giving like a one or a five, or eight or ten, and that explanation of why is the text that we analyze automatically and classify and you know, we're doing centim an analysis, their emotion analysis, all those you know, pattern recognition applications with that text and we the main focus was analyzing those comments that came back. Be a mail, it could be like and through the call center. The call centers called the customers and they typed in the feedback and we had that digital feedback also analyzed. Now we expanded with social media interest, because in the beginning they didn't care that much. Word Start, due to corona, that enhanced everything. So now they couldn't, you know, avoid the fact that you have to also look at your touch point, social media, because partially that's your only way how you're getting in touch with your contract with the customers. So you might want to analyze that touch point, and that means like a Google laps and your personal social media sites and and that that was a strange of ours that we were able to hook into those apis and forums, whatever is relevant. We can catch that data very easily and integrated in your one central customer satisfaction board and then also include, like the whole process of creating an issue management like tickets like that, to assign somebody who take care of it. HMM, okay, now we get understanding what you been doing. How you junior has been so far, and now take us through the journey of getting listed on the open market, on the DISTAL Doft Stock Exchange. We may add that we will talk about two different legal entities for now, the KOGIA Argy, that's the entity that's actually listed and that is basically a PELC company, so one that has shares that can get listed, and a Gmbh, which is something like a LEC LLC company that is privately usually privately held, and the shares are not supposed to be traded. So my understanding is you set up an additional company, Kogia Argi, and then got it listed on the OTC market, on the open market at doustled off Stock Exchange, which is one of the smallest stock exchange operators here in Germany. Right. Correct. Well, what I do is, before I did that move, I created the age which in Germany, for the people that listen to US internationally, has a higher threshold to be created. It requires, compared to a GMBH, four time or two times more amount of cash minimum for small ag so you need at least, like, you know, fiftyzero euros. An A G found it, which is a mini ag you can have a bigger. Our AD is based on a three point five million capital right, but you know, fiftyzero's the minimum and that's quite a bary of entry. I think. Fiftyzero euros to start. And then the Gbah, by the way, is only twenty, twelve tho five hundred euros in terms of paid in capital, but we will try to keep the counting terms as slow as low as possible. So you set up this legal entity that can be listed and he got a cheers, listed on the up all...

...on the OTC market, open market indust of Stock Exchange and the then what? Okay. So so first we created the AG and we this more before we get listed, and then in then we introduce with it like an like a reverse takeover, basically of my Gmbah into the AG so that you have the operational business in the AG right, is like the holding structure. And once you have done that, you give the company substance, because without substance you can just get listed. So the company had to have something and because I own all the assets of the GMBAH, that was the baseline and we applied to this will go off. If we could get listed now, this would go off. You know, they go in. You know, you have to prepare everything. You have to have your audited, not books. So there's a whole homework of things that you need to do before you can apply to a stock exchange and try to get listed. So all that homework usually done before and one. So you have to have all, you know, audited paperwork, all your all your stuff organized, well prepared, prepared and expose a like a we created like, you know, like either you have a you do a pamphlet, like a prosure, which is like, you know, fiftyzero euros that you have to pay, so it's complet. Can Market you going public project, or you do it without it, and then you still have to do a light pros like which is at least like thirty pages. All that work needs to be done with all your financials and your futures. Once you have all that prepared, which takes, you know, quite a bit of time, and then you can try to apply at the exchange. In the exchange looks at your application and then decides you have to apply. You have to present yourself like a shot position, almost right, and explain to them why they should list you and, you know, give them faith that you are a good company to go with, especially when you are kind of small like me. I mean we were we were like a microcap. So normally exchanges want people to have a little bit more beef on them. So we, for them, considered like one of the smallest, you know, listings. I think, however, what they like was the big daay I technology, the future that we're bringing in our outlook, that we had great customers and the rollout. I mean at that point I had, you know, kind of informally already a new Ray that I'M GOING TO WIN folks Warren worldwide. I had been double you already in thirty countries. So blof terms of all those good things that they that they felt comfortable to go that route to let us go public. So that was the process, or it was quite a hard process. We didn't apply only for this ago. We tried also other but just the way our timeline was was quite tight. We wanted to be public by the end of two thousand and twenty. Still Right, we came out on the eighty. Many of them didn't want to do the stuff anymore. Is a with this holiday period and it's not not everybody is open. Pascal too, was missingaire and come. Yeah, feedby service ten BIS will help my Mopos to do MoD cuzine Alice Food Model. Please cut the German speaking part out. Thank you. Yes, you've been talking about like a micro cap. I was I was looking. We rerecording this on fifteen of November and when I look at this, you have a market capitalization somewhere around nine million year as dollars. That's not too big, but it's a start. You would talking about talking about a prospect...

...of a prospectus. That's basically a document the lawyers make for you. Basically, they go through all your company and display, in the appropriate legal way, all the risk all opportunities to the potential investors and they can go through it and after day Fredit in case you understand it. It's no easy language, no easy numbers. Then you feel well prepared to actually invest there. That is a what you guys doing im when you look a little bit through the numbers in the investment relation, investor relations, I really like that, because then you really have a great source of numbers. Here in Germany, instance, many companies are pop are privately held. You don't get access to all the numbers, and I realized you guys did not post any revenue for two thousand and twenty or two thousand and twenty one, but it's more an accounting gimmick than actually missing revenue. Right. Yeah, it's just what it needs to be. Publisher. We did this what we had to, but the balances that we have to publish, we published. Of course, we're we are forced to publish, and that what is required and legal requirements. We published, of course, exactly. And so, since you're doing serial revenue right now, according to your investor relations document, it's a growth investment. Or how is the story there? It's a growth investment and we are using we're trying to raise money also to help us grow, not just to invest for the growth in organic growth, but to also have an organic growth. So that means we are looking to raise money. Sorry to do MNA's Merch and acquisition. Strategic Merger and acquisitions still help accelerate the growth. So the growth has two components to it, which is the organic and UNORGANIC method. That's why elastic was our first acquisition, by the way. So we've said it, we're promised, we're going to do it and we executed. I was pretty excited that I was able to, you know, execute very fast after my capital race on my first MNA, which I know announced that I was planning to do with this ship. So it has to be growth investment, right. Yeah, so it we have currently with the AG, which is listed, have zero revenue, right, because because of however have done the consolidation we entered introduced the GMBH into the mother company, basically in the holding. Now that's how the mother company can consolidate and present the revenue and and with other acquisitions it all also consolidate. Or when we grow, it consolidates as well, because the growth will be shown in the AG numbers. So that's how we can start with a fresh company that actually had zero revenue, like a holding structure, and and be listed with it, because it uses the revenue of its daughter companies basically and can consolidate it as its own revenue to the outside world. Bottom line for everybody without an accounting the degree, you can only show the revenues at the end of the year because the company says, okay, that's all that our own and that's all the revenues I'm showing and it shows the subsidiary revenues of Kobe are there exactly. So thank you, Joe. There was a difficult birth, but I appreciate it. Yeah, so you're listed for many reasons, including the opportunity to make it take over. You've already quite a company. Can you take us...

...through this journey there exactly? So part of our growth strategies is the UNORGANIC growth. So we had looked at a target already. I'll started it last year, October, November, O clover October. I started looking at it and then we reached out to the target and it stood. How much. It started the cost, and then then we went public and that why we raise some money and that was the baseline that we used and why we did that. We had already discussions and have a term sheet, or they plan. Even so, we didn't even have yet any money yet, but we were planning to get it. So that was a, you know, a plan behind it. So all that process work in parallel. And then once we successfully did our placement, a souchsful placement right now, we did it in May June, May June roughly. In that time Orite, we raised one point five million euros. So I had with that the baseline of my first payment, install and payment of my acquisition, which is elastic, which we are totally excited we bought elastic dot io and it's an I pass, it's an integration platform as a service and we just bought it September ten and that was it was a big act. It was exciting process to go through all the due diligence we went from a human due diligence. I make sure I had the management behind it because I would, if I do the move, needed to make sure I don't lose anybody. Being in the I ip space, in in software, that the capital of the in an asset is not not the Tangibles, but then the non tangibles, meaning the people might my asset. So the most important thing for me was not to lose anybody of that company or not to lose anybody good. That's all fools find more news streams, events and interviews at www dot start of rent that Hio. Remember Sharon is caring.

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