We have built Brian to create real value for consultants and other high-paced business professionals. We do so by exploring innovative ways to connect humans with state-of-the-art technology and data. Our goal is to “generate” more time for our clients to invest in new business ideas or share them with their loved ones.

– Our beliefs –

Leap of faith

Acceleration

The business is accelerating but a large share of professionals today have to deal with ‘standard’ operative tasks for which there are already smart tools and services available (translation, financial analysis, research, calculation model, and so on).

Complexity

It is increasingly difficult to keep track of the best services/tools und distinguishing between real value services and good marketing. Many professionals are ‘lost’ in the high number of options, solutions, and data sources.

AI at the start

There are already online services and tools supporting multiple tasks of advisors. These tools are fast, instantly available, increasingly smart and, compared to their value, quite affordable. Considering the recent advances of AI, we believe to be just at the beginning.

Seeking simplicity

Accessing smart features of multiple tools in ‘one place’ without worrying about data security, and doing so using free natural language, enhances efficiency.

– Founder’s story –

“It’s 10:00 pm. We are working with high pressure on a proposal for an exciting consulting project. We want to integrate a few slides from a different proposal but these are in German. We need them in English and we need them now. All team members are busy with other tasks (note: nobody likes to translate slides), the support staff is not available on short notice… so I start to translate them by myself. In order to be faster, I copy-paste the slide sections to DeepL and back… I am impressed by the quality of the translation and think to myself… there must be an automated way for this!”

I talk to friends, AI experts and some colleagues about the idea of a multi-skill digital assistant designed to help people like us with recurring tasks. There is nothing like this on the market, the people are excited about the idea. I am excited too! But is something like this technically possible?

On December 5, Brian is born. At first, he can only do small talk and tell jokes. I am experimenting with chatbot technology, RPA, researching further online skills and databases. I analyse all top AI 100 companies in order to find out which of them are potentially helpful for business professionals like me. I can get no sleep – new skill ideas come late in the evening, in the middle of the night, very early in the morning… the only relief is to write them down – a mind map of 50 potential skills is the result.

It will work! We have built the architecture for Pro Brian and we see the technological prove that Brian will work and it will be amazing! The first users test the translation skill and they are loving it. It is not perfect, but it saves a lot of time!

AskBrian GmbH is founded. We have some funding, have done all the registration and paperwork. In parallel, we develop the free skills of Brian.

Pro Brian is alive! For the first time, the end-to-end architecture works! Brian answers emails and performs tasks in the background. This is just amazing! Still, much more to do: he can process only smaller files, he is not stable and the translation quality is not good enough.

Champagne Breakfast: In the night, we had a technological breakthrough when all PowerPoint slides are translated and formatted correctly. The founder is crying. Happiness. We intensify the client conversations in order to start free trials. So exciting!

Brian is running, we have paying clients, 600+ users, more than 1000 requests a month. We are improving the deliverability, solving special issues, adding translation of pdf, png, and jpg files. Now we are ready to onboard further clients and start contacting investors.

We experience very positive traction, amazing feedback, and great potential. The founders decide to dedicate 100% of their passion and energy to Brian. We believe we owe it to our clients, we owe it to Brian and we love building Brian. With additional power, we move faster.

The world is struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy slows down and this is the time where we push even stronger and close our first external financing round!

We have gained private investors from leading consulting firms and startup founders – Investors from consulting firms such as Bain, Oliver Wyman, Stern Stewart, EY and the founders of Flaconi, Zenloop, Kartenmacherei and more! With our new supporters, we have so many more possibilities!

On 6 July 2021, our company took a significant step forward with the successful completion of our pre-seed investment round. This key milestone will allow us to accelerate the development and market expansion of Brian, which is set to change the business world.

Under the leadership of FOSTEC Ventures, a capital increase was executed with additional contributions from existing investors as well as new investors such as Carcharodon Capital, COREventures, and Whistler.

In August 2023, AskBrian was successfully acquired by think-cell, the leading productivity software provider specialising in data-driven PowerPoint presentations. This move signals an exciting period of growth and innovation for both companies. Together we are creating the conditions to redefine productivity in the professional sector.

– Integrating the best –

Brian integrates selected data sources and best digital services available. Only with the leading providers, we can provide the best service possible: no matter if it comes to translations, OCR, industry insights or financial information we always shoot for the stars.

– Future of consulting –

We cooperate with leading student consultancies – the future of consulting. We want them to know Brian and benefit from his skills; we are giving selected student consultants the chance to co-create Brian – their future buddy at work.

… and so proud to work with BDSU (Bundesverband Deutscher Studentischer Unternehmensberatungen e.V.) and JCNetwork as well! The student consulting unions unite 70 student consultancies with more than 5,000 student consultants!

– Inspiring people –

Brian represents a new species of software. We do not try to ‘disrupt’. We love to create, build and develop further. While creating a new market we are proud to combine the best of consulting and AI.

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– Who we are –

We, the people behind Brian, simply love what we do. We are a team of senior business professionals with an extensive background in consulting, software development, and research, with an obsession to deliver value to our clients. What unites us together is the goal to achieve something extraordinary.

Pavol Sikula

Founder & CEO

Experienced Management Consultant
14+ years at Stern Stewart & Co.
Expertise in support optimization
Two-time Ironman

Matthias Ruppel

Co-founder & CTO

Passionate software developer
Experienced team leader
3 years big data at T-Systems

Franziska Grünsteidel

Team Lead Business Development

Consultative selling enthusiast
Passionate team leader
Loves econ simulation games

René Karsch

Business Development Manager

Consulting market insider
8 years of Startup & Corporate experience
Loves his black poodle:)

Thorben Knittel

Business Development Manager

Consulting & Automotive background
Start-up enthusiast
Loves running marathons

James Simpson

Global Business Development Manager

Experienced business developer
Corporate and Startup experience
Trail running enthusiast

Daniel Steblin

Fullstack Developer

Experienced Software Engineer
Startup background
Loves Fitness/Bodybuilding

Anna Schwarzband

Marketing Manager

Experienced Marketing Manager
Start-up enthusiast
Loves to play piano

David Thiel

Digital Growth & Strategic Partnerships

Experienced Management Consultant
E-Commerce Expert
Loves to play Lego with his kids

Khushi Agarwal

User Success Officer

Business & strategic Innovator
Product Enthusiast
Bookworm at heart

– How it started –

From the very beginning, our business angels have been there for us, combining their experience in top management consulting with a remarkable track record in digital entrepreneurship. We are extremely grateful for their belief in us, which has been an invaluable part of our journey.