Finding Your Niche in the Landscape with Kisi Cofounder Bernhard Mehl


If you've ever checked into a space during extended hours on Croissant, you've most likely unlocked the door using Kisi. Kisi is an access control system that gives you the ability to unlock doors securely, but more importantly, it's a tech company that found it's niche and is growing rapidly. We spoke with Kisi co-founder Bernhard Mehl to find more about how it all started.

Tell us about Kisi

Kisi helps modern modern and shared workspaces to secure the space without getting in the way of the authorized user. Using Kisi’s cloud based access control, users can remotely book a space, get the key onto their phone and access the space on-demand. Complicated hand-over procedures are gone and automated.

How did it all start?

Initially we worked in a medical technology company where we had the problem of getting in the door. No one got keys since the landlord only gave us five keys, even though we were growing quickly with over 30 people. When we discussed this problem one night we thought, 'Why aren’t the keys already on our mobile phone?'"

We pretty much started Kisi as a mobile app that can unlock doors. Since then, we became one of the leading access control systems and the thought leader in terms of technology in the space.

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What were some hurdles while finding your niche?

Since we had to develop four different products (Door reader hardware, controller hardware, credentials and cloud dashboard) it took us a while to get the tech right but once we did, there was no stopping anymore.

I think we thought we found product/market fit, when our first user gave us a check to pay for our product. In hindsight I’d say it was much later, when we found a repeatable go-to-market strategy.

What’s next for Kisi?

Our mission is to provide physical security for all and we start with commercial spaces. Providing a simple starter product that can be configured to run similar to enterprise grade products is a tough challenge which is why we invest even more in cutting edge design, new features such as predictive analytics, and partner with other likeminded companies to transform the real estate market into a “as-a-service” offering.