On April 1, 2018, Karakun AG started its business in Basel. The company does not only focus on its customers but also places great value on employees who share the company’s values and carry them to the outside world. A strategy that paid off, as the company was able to position itself as an outstanding employer and fill vacancies with excellent employees despite a shortage of skilled professionals. Today, employee benefits are regularly put to the test and adjusted. As of 2023, all employees benefit from a 40-hour week with 30 days of holiday (at 100% workload).

Subsidiaries in Germany and India

“Karakunies”, as the employees call themselves, are active at four locations. In addition to the headquarters in Basel, Karakun founded branches in Mumbai (India) and Dortmund in 2020. The acquisition of EXOKNOX GmbH, a software company specialising in digital engineering solutions in the automotive industry, added a branch in Stuttgart. Of course, remote working is available at all locations.

Business development

On the revenue side, the company can look back on a stable turnover situation. The core business “Solutions”, i.e. project business with customers from a wide range of industries, and the increasing licence and maintenance revenues are of great importance. Customers are start-ups and large listed companies from different industry sectors. Karakun also celebrates its first successes in the new strategic area of public sector projects.

The company uses a considerable portion of the revenue for investments in the product business with the plan to ensure the future viability and sustainability of Karakun. Over the years, the company invested around 10 to 15 % of the annual turnover in the development of products – regardless of market fluctuations caused by Covid, the global political situation, shortage of skilled professionals or supply chain problems. Karakun plans to continue this strategy in the coming years.

The developments in the company’s industry solution for the Swiss electrical industry, VOLTA, show that this strategy is fruitful. The product team is more than busy with the introduction of new customers as well as customer-specific extensions. The team has grown accordingly to ensure future product development and guarantee maximum customer support.

When we launched Karakun, we expected to be successful in the market. However, the scale has far exceeded expectations.

Dr. Elisabeth Maier
Dr. Elisabeth Maier

Cooperation with universities

However, Karakun not only stands for high-quality and sustainable software solutions. The company also places a strong focus on research and innovation. To this end, Karakun experts work with several research institutions and universities as lecturers or in research projects.

In the AI environment, Karakun and its partners DSwiss and the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI) researched the industrial application of the latest Deep Learning technologies (pre-trained language models) in a project funded by Innosuisse. The results significantly reduce the efforts and costs of using such methods in customer projects.

Karakun is also well-known in the world of open-source software. In addition to active participation in Eclipse Working Groups and other widespread projects, the company has developed its open-source product, OpenWebStart. Thanks to OpenWebStart, companies and organisations worldwide can use their applications based on the deprecated Java WebStart technology without further actions. Until today, OpenWebStart has more than 300,000 downloads. The estimated number of active installations is more than 400,000. Companies like Deutscher Wetterdienst, DXC Technology or the Charité Berlin use OpenWebStart.

“When we launched Karakun, we expected to be successful in the market. However, the scale has far exceeded expectations,” says Dr Elisabeth Maier, CEO of Karakun. “Without the commitment of every single employee, this would not have been possible. However, we also know that we cannot rest on our laurels. By expanding our customer base and investing heavily in our products, we are already setting the course for tomorrow.”