How did HOPE Technik get started?
The four of us were very good friends before we started the company. After we graduated, we wanted to find interesting engineering jobs, but nothing fit the bill, so we decided to do something together.
The company started without pay for any of us, and we worked long hours. It took one and a half years before there were enough projects and money to pay all four of us. I’d say how the company survived back then is that other people had eight hours, we had sixteen hours. That’s how four people became eight, how five became ten. Now it’s 130-plus people and people are going home at a more reasonable time.
Did you think it’d become this successful?
No, not really. It was tough but it trains you, it puts you in a position you’d never thought you’d be in. There were a lot of highrisk opportunities that we took, projects that other people would have thought were too big for us to handle. And we took them, we survived, and these few big projects were our stepping stones to the next level. One good example is the Red Rhino project, which we called the “Tumbler” internally. It got us noticed.
Why does HOPE Technik not look like a single-product or singlefocus company from the outside?
There’s some legacy there. In the first five years we were very aggressive, we’d take whatever we could get our hands o