Yesterday, July 10, the 40th edition of our Founders Club took place and we had the pleasure to welcome Dr. Yang Ji from LiangDao GmbH as a guest at the Kavalier Dalwigk transformer house. Dr. Yang Ji is no stranger to the brigk network, as we already had the privilege to welcome him as a speaker at our STROMAUFWÄRTS festival this year. Since then we have been in close contact with brigk and its managing director Dr. Franz Glatz.
Dr. Yang Ji, founder and CEO of LiangDao GmbH, has had a fascinating journey. From a small town in China to the top of the German tech industry. With inspiring experiences and a deep understanding of technology, he has made his company a leading player in LiDAR sensors. At yesterday’s Founders Club, we learned more about Dr. Yang Ji and what he does as a founder and CEO.
Dr. Yang Ji originally comes from an idyllic small town in China and has been living in Germany since 2001. At the age of 19, he began his computer science studies at the renowned Friedrich Schiller University in Jena. From there, his path led him to Munich, where he received his PhD in 2012 from the Technical University of Munich in the field of computer modeling and simulation. Since then, he has enjoyed a remarkable career in the tech industry.
Dr. Yang Ji landed in the automotive industry “by a happy accident.” After completing his PhD at TUM, he applied to Siemens. However, it wasn’t until the day he started work that he learned that the position he had originally intended for was no longer available. Instead, he started in the automotive industry. He then began his career there as a senior project manager in various departments. Among them PLM (Product Lifecycle Management), Key Customer Management and Strategy, as well as Senior Expert for Industry 4.0 and in the automotive development process.
During his time at Siemens, he gained valuable experience in the automotive industry and learned how to fascinate people with technology. This passion and expertise is also evident in his work at LiangDao GmbH, which Dr. Ji founded in October 2018 together with three former fellow students. The company specializes in the development of LiDAR sensors and has grown into a leading software specialist and system solution provider in the field of LiDAR sensors in just five years.
With a strong team of now more than 70 employees, LiangDao has won well-known customers such as Porsche, Volkswagen, BMW, Magna as well as cities such as Munich, Hamburg, Solingen, Ingolstadt and Wuppertal. These customers rely on LiangDao’s innovative technology and customized solutions to further develop and improve their own products and services. Today, LiangDao GmbH is one of the leading companies in the industry. The name “LiangDao” translates as “Way of Light” and reflects the company’s innovative strength.
Dr. Ji’s motivation for starting his own company was to fulfill himself. Although he had a stable income and a secure job at Siemens, he felt an inner urge for more. He wanted to find a purpose and implement his own ideas. In 2017, he began to research intensively and make his plans. In this process, his wife was an important source of motivation and support. She encouraged him to pursue his dream and embrace the uncertainties of entrepreneurship. Their shared vision pushed him further and strengthened his resolve to take the startup path. Now, he wakes up every morning with a “great sense of responsibility” and full of drive. Ready to take on the challenges of entrepreneurship and drive his company forward.
Experiences and tips
Already during the conversation with Dr. Franz Glatz, the topic of “corporate culture” was raised several times, which is of particular importance for startups. It is crucial to create a corporate culture in which the CEO is not just an authoritarian boss, but an integral part of the team. In addition, Dr. Yang Ji emphasizes the importance of trusting one’s own employee:s, without completely abandoning his role as CEO and Managing Director:in. For him, honest feedback plays a crucial role in supporting employees in their further development. He relies on his “gut feeling” and offers fair feedback instead of purely critical assessments. In the past, he often wrapped feedback in “absorbent cotton” until it was possibly revised. But he realized that it is important to point out mistakes in a concrete way in order to improve and develop in the future.
On the subject of the “shortage of skilled workers,” Dr. Ji also has a clear opinion. He believes that there is no “shortage of skilled workers” problem, but that it is a matter of attracting the right people to his company. At LiangDao, he gives career changers and people who have a desire for change the opportunity to develop and flourish.
Outlook into the future
When asked where he sees himself and his company in 5 years, Dr. Yang Ji replied with a dry sense of humor, “That’s such a German question,” which made the audience laugh. For him, the focus is on the journey itself, rather than frantically following a rigid plan. He prefers to adjust his goals and enjoy the process of development and growth.
In conclusion, Dr. Yang Ji encouraged the audience to take advantage of the many funding opportunities available to fully realize their own potential and move projects forward.
The 40th Founders Club was very inspiring and provided a wonderful opportunity to learn from Dr. Yang Ji. While he provided profound insights into his mindset as a CEO and founder, he still remained refreshingly down-to-earth. His motivation and passion were palpable, and it was fascinating to learn what drives him. He generously shared his extensive knowledge and valuable experience with us.
Following the conversation between brigk CEO Dr. Franz Glatz and Dr. Yang Ji, the attendees:inside took the opportunity to network more intensively with each other over pizza and beer, as well as the best view on the roof terrace of the Kavalier Dalwigk, to make new connections and further expand their network.
We are grateful for this exciting evening. Thanks also to all the new faces and old acquaintances who were there. We are already looking forward to the next Founders Club and more inspiring encounters!