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My founding principles

Thomas Punzenberger

What led me to start COPA-DATA?


As a young development engineer, many doors were open to me at the beginning of the 1980s. I had always been attracted by the software industry, which was just taking off at that time. However, if someone had told me that I would later become the CEO of a medium-sized, internationally successful software company, I probably would have laughed at the idea.


When I was young, I never dreamed of being self-employed, much less running my own company. That was something for other people. To be part of something; to make a difference – yes, of course! But I didn’t plan to start my own company. Yet it all turned out differently. Why?


The catalyst was an experience I had in my early professional life. I was working on the automation of testing stations and, as was usual at that time, was developing software from scratch, even though the applications were very similar. It wasn't a problem for me, but as a pragmatic person I thought: there has to be an easier way!


It was exactly this idea which led me to found my own company, COPA-DATA, in 1987. My goal? To develop software that makes life easier for people in industrial and infrastructure environments. I aimed to develop a new type of software that did not yet exist but with a potential in which I firmly believed.


I wasn’t sure at the time whether the idea would work and, of course, I had doubts. Life can't always be planned; often you don't know until much later whether you've made the right decisions. But when you're convinced of something and passionate about it, it's like you have a fire burning inside you. When you pursue this vision continuously and consistently, success will come – especially if you're holding good cards in your hand. And, of course, a little bit of luck doesn't hurt either.


Today, when I look back at the beginnings of COPA-DATA, it is nice to know that my vision has inspired others. The spark has been ignited, and now we are blazing a trail to make life even easier for the many people who work in industrial and infrastructure environments. Our passion and ambition continues to burn brightly, and I can assure you that we still have a lot to accomplish!


Thomas Punzenberger