Interview with Christoph Wagner
is the easiest and fastest way to create high-quality scans with your iPhone, iPad or Android device. When you scan a document, Scanbot makes hundreds of decisions to capture the document perfectly, crop the document, straighten it and apply the filter.
What are your plans for the future regarding Scanbot?
OK so there's an answer for our Scanner App, Scanbot, And there’s an answer for
Scanbot SDK, our B2B product. For Scanner App, Scanbot we are currently working on
integrating a lot of new features and I don't want to go into the specifics here but let me
say we are working on augmented reality, on machine learning, and artificial intelligence
and I think we’ll be able to add lot of great features which will make working with
documents even easier and provide more value to our users. For the B2B product, The
Scanbot SDK, today it's used by a lot of companies not just for scanning documents but
also for extracting data from this document. For example, from invoices, we can extract
data like IBAN, like the payment amount, and it can be automatically prefilled into forms,
for example in online banking applications. So what we are working on also with the
help of artificial intelligence and machine learning is to make extracting information from
documents really easy. So basically we want to save the users all this manual data
What makes Scanbot better than the usual camera function of smartphones?
All right. There is a short and a long answer to this question. The short answer basically
everything. So the native camera application is great if you want to take pictures of
people or scenery. But if you try to use it to make a scan the results actually are not
even closely resemble anything which could be called a professional document scan.
So what is Scanbot doing better exactly? First thing, we have automatic scanning
meaning the app calculates a lot of different data points and actually takes the snap in a
perfect moment to achieve the highest resolution. Second thing, we perfectly cropped
the document. So this means that you don't see a desk or wherever you put the
document when you're scanning, you can easily save the scan as a PDF, and of course,
it's possible to generate multi-page PDF. For example, if you're scanning a contract.
Furthermore, you have a lot of filters in the app and they range from grayscale filters to
black and white filters, to colour filters, and many times after you actually use the filters
the scan looks better than the original. Also, we include a lot of functions which makes
working with scans and sharing them quite easy. For example, we have automatic
uploads to cloud storage providers like Dropbox, or for example, functionality to encrypt
documents which contain sensitive information. It's also super easy to share your scans
between all your devices to synchronize them
You have already developed a similar App before launching Scanbot but unfortunately the App was not successful. What do you think were the reasons why it did not work out?
So the vision for the previous app of the company, for the doo document app was way
larger. We wanted to change the way people work with documents forever, instead of
relying on folders they should rely on a smart search. In the beginning we had great
traction, by this I mean we had a lot of downloads very quickly but unfortunately the
users didn't stay they didn't become monthly active users. So why did this happen. I
think there are three main points which are the reasons for this. So first we failed to
communicate value proposition to the users very clearly so everyone knows this Uber
for X and yes we failed to concisely communicate our value proposition to the users.
Second, timing, I guess we were just too early so people didn't perceive the problem we
solved as a real problem for them. And then the problem space was too big. So we
actually tried to tackle a lot of stuff like all at once and we failed to actually achieve the
expectation of the user for like certain features. For example, we had a feature which
classified documents automatically so it could say okay that's a contract, that's an
invoice, that's whatever. And it worked great. So it got it right in 95 percent of the cases
but the users didn't see it like that. They saw in 5 percent of the cases it actually
misclassified the document. And this led to them losing trust in the application. What did
we learn from that? I think the main point the most valuable lesson that we learned is to
just tackle a smaller problem, with a laser focus but to solve it really really really well
and to exceed the user expectations.
How did you find out that there is a demand for an App like Scanbot?
Developing a scanner app was certainly inspired by a previous project of the company,
a document management app called doo. Scanning was already part of two of a
previous solution it was used quite a lot by people. So yeah there were some early
indicators that a scanner as a stand-alone product could be a success. Of course, it's
hard from the beginning to predict if a product is going it's going to be a success or not.
But I believe the value proposition is just very attractive to the users. So basically you
get to carry a professional document scanner in your pocket for just a fraction of the
cost of a professional hardware scanner.
You are now the CEO of Scanbot but you did not found the company. What is the story behind this?
As previously discussed the initial vision of the company failed. And it pivoted to a new
product, a scanner app, Scanbot. I joined approximately one year after this decision
initially as the head of operations but it was already clear that if proved myself and
demonstrated that I could add real value to the team that had a pretty good shot at the
job of becoming CEO. So basically the previous co-founders, and CEOs, and the
investors looked for someone who could lead the startup with initial traction into
becoming a long-term successful company. For me, the main motivation was to learn
from very experienced entrepreneurs and investors like Frank Thelen.
Can you please introduce Scanbot?
Hi my name is Christoph. I'm the CEO of a company named doo, we are the developer
of the very popular scanner app, Scanbot, which has over 10 million downloads. And we
are also developing the Scanbot SDK. The Scanbot SDK can be used by other
developers, by other apps to quickly integrate scanning functionalities into their own