When Jens sees a highly realistic premature baby manikin in a German TV-series, he was greatly impressed by the lifelikeness of it and immediately contacted the responsible special effects designer Christoph Kunzmann in Berlin. It's the beginning of a great friendship. The first trips to Berlin and Vienna follow and Chris produces a first prototype of Paul.
"The brightest minds at a university often sit in the basement..."
Together with engineers Ewald Unger, Michael Haller and their team at the Medical University's Center for Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, the first plans for a completely new type of high-fidelity premature baby simulator are being developed.
From idea to spin-off...
Michael Hoffmann joins the team and develops the projects business foundation. The goal is now clear: we want to develop a premature baby simulator that can improve the quality of care for premature babies worldwide.
We are innovation award winners!
Our university project for the development of a premature baby simulator prevailed over 34 submitted projects and received the prototype funding "PRIZE" from the Federal Ministries for Science & Research and Economy, Family & Youth.
SIMCharacters would be a fitting company name...
On the way to founding a company, the City of Vienna accepted us into the support program of their high-tech business incubator "INITS".
Now we're really getting started!!
We are accepted by the Austrian Economic Service (AWS) and the Federal Ministry of Economics, Family and Youth for the PreSEED high-tech funding. Now we are able to develop the first real prototype of Paul with the research funding.
We become a real company!
Jens and Michael found "SIMCharacters - High Emotion Simulation". The university project has actually become a company.
Paul in the spotlight...
For the first time ever, we present Paul to the public at a “Shark Tank”-like Austrian TV-Show called“2 Minutes 2 Million”. Sadly, we weren’t among the candidates, whose inventions got selected for additional investments, despite overwhelming praise for our little Paul.
The disappointment of not finding the right investor at "2 Minutes 2 Million" is short-lived. In December 2015, the Austrian Economic Service (AWS) and the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy accepts us into the SEED high-tech funding program, and we find our dream investor in Remo Schneider.
We move into our first real office with our friends from SIMStation in Vienna. Elentari, responsible for product development and special effects design and Michael Haller, responsible for the technological development for Paul, Axana Hellmann for the back office and Michael Hoffmann, responsible for finance and business development, become the first employees of SIMCharacters. Now we can bring Paul to series production!
High-ranking visitors at our headquarters!
Austrias Finance Minister and Vice-Chancellor Wolfgang Mitterlehner visits us together with State Secretary for the Ministry of Finance Harald Mahrer to discuss the situation of high-tech start-ups in Austria...
... and to meet Paul of course.
A very special World Prematurity Day!
On World Prematurity Day we are proud to put our first Paul into test operation at the Medical University of Vienna, where it all began 7 years ago...
The time has finally come - Paul is here!
At IMSH 2018 in Los Angeles, the world's largest congress for medical simulation, we can finally introduce Paul to simulation specialists from all over the world. The feedback for Paul and our team is overwhelming. We are incredibly proud and very happy!
Our Facebook video of Paul goes live and has reached nearly 10 million people to date. It has been shared over 55,000 times, liked almost 20,000 times, was commented on over 4,000 times, and viewed over 7 million times. Paul's Facebook community grew to almost 20,000 followers overnight.
Houska Prize 2017 - we won!
In May 2017, we beat 27 other research teams and won the 2017 Houska Prize for “Research and Development in SMEs”. We are very happy and incredibly proud of the entire team!
Paul goes around the world...
We are blown away by Paul's growing popularity and the great feedback we're getting from neonatologists, neonatal caregivers and simulation professionals. Paul is now used in more and more well-known clinics all around the globe. (including Johns Hopkins, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Harvard, …)
Dog trainer Martin Rütter, soccer pros Toni Kroos and Matthias Ginter also become friends of Paul.
Our development and production team are growing and Paul is becoming better known. In addition to Europe and the USA, we now also produce Pauls for South America, Russia and China.
Again, at IMSH in San Diego, USA. For the first time with our own booth, the biggest we've ever had. Shortly thereafter, the COVID19 pandemic begins, and we all have two difficult years ahead of us...
The SIMCharacters team is still growing: our old place at SIMStation in Rüdigergasse is slowly getting too small for our entire team. In April 2020 we move into our new headquarters in the heart of Vienna. On more than 500m2 directly at the famous "Naschmarkt" we continue to develop and produce Pauls with more than 20 employees.
And then the COVID-19 pandemic grips the world for more than two years.
For us, this means the cancellation of all congresses and events. Unfortunately, we almost only see each other at online demos...
... but we can hardly wait to finally meet everyone in person again.
On the other hand, the forced break also gave us time to take a deep breath and to develop something new...
The next few months will be very exciting!
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