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Top Entrepreneurs: Werner Horn & Marietta Ulrich-Horn

12/13/2017

The founding of their innovative company Securikett

Securikett building

Interview with Werner Horn, Co-Founder and CEO of Securikett Ulrich & Horn GmbH

Can you briefly describe your company?

Counterfeiting is a widespread problem, harmful not only to the legitimate producers and the deceived users but, for example in the case of medicine, presenting an imminent danger to life and health. Securikett is on the cutting edge of security measures that enables producers, retailers and consumers to distinguish authentic products from counterfeits or illegally trafficked items.

 

Securikett provides physical and digital product security. As to physical, Securikett is considered a technology leader in tamper evident labels. The digital aspect is a cloud based solution to trace and verify products throughout the supply chain to dismantle illicit trade and to distinguish original products from counterfeits.

 

Most of our customers are leading global brands from different industries, pharmaceutical, medical devices, automotive, spirits and luxury industry to name a few. Our products are supplied to more than 35 countries around the globe, with China being the biggest single market.

 

Currently more than 50 people are employed, we have representatives in India, Turkey, US, and Japan.

 

When did you decide to start your own business?

The business was founded in November 2001, the label printing production started in May 2003. Since 2010 we have developed the cloud based IT solution, called Codikett®.

 

We had realized that counterfeits and parallel trading will become a growing threat, due to free trade, internet sales and courier services, to name the most important facilitators. Provision of solutions was scarce at that time, security printing mainly tied to governmental applications. We could draw on our experiences and know how in label printing and entrepreneurship, and grasped the window of opportunity.  

 

Why did you choose this form of further education? Was this before, during, or after the founding of your company?

The company was founded after finishing the MBA program. Both Marietta Ulrich-Horn and myself had reached a point in our work careers, where we wanted to develop further and to work more internationally.

 

Was the completion of your MBA helpful for you as an entrepreneur?

The completion was very helpful. It was important to think strategically from the beginning and to focus under all circumstances on the business model. We followed a balanced score card principle to support the complexity of activities, in our first years.

 

What were your personal highlights during your studies?

The way how knowledge was taught made it easy afterwards. The professors focused on the very important things for each topic. Thus we gained a good understanding and overview of all aspects of doing business. This turned out to be very helpful when we became responsible for an entire business, and not just a department.

 

Were there any people supporting you in your professional career?

Unfortunately, initially no. Just my wife and me, we were and are the team to develop the business. When we started, not many people thought we would have success, eventually we got more and more support by our families and our first key customers.

 

Did you actively build a network? Did you take some profits out of this alumni network?

We did build a network within the international security community. We also stayed close friends with some of our class mates, not so much within the wider alumni network.

 

In what direction do you want to develop your company?

We have taken a next step by building a new production site and headquarters. The facility is designed for app. 120 employees. Our company has a very good international reputation. International sales representatives and possibly joint ventures in other parts of the world will take our business model to the next level.

 

Would you take this path again and/or recommend it to others?

Yes, for sure, we do recommend this education as an excellent, most efficient way to widen one’s horizon and to develop the tools for working in a global environment.

 

What do you see as the top five challenges in your industry?

  1. To be an attractive working place for high potential personnel.

  2. To maintain innovation.

  3. To balance affordable investment levels for organic growth vis a vis larger players.

  4. To foster standardization, and to develop a common language of anti-fraud and anti-counterfeit measures, as an integral part of brand risk management.

  5. To maintain the work life balance as an entrepreneur.

You can read more interesting career stories here.

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