FRILO Software GmbH has been offering structural analysis programs for structural design for over 45 years. What once started in 1978 in a basement in Pforzheimer Straße has developed into a real success story thanks to the founders Jens Friedrich and Nobert Lochner and the later managing directors Hans Stegmüller and Markus Gallenberger. Today, the medium-sized company with a family touch has around 65 employees at three locations. FRILO has been managed by Dr. Detlef Schneider since February 2024.
Dive into the eventful history of FRILO in the slideshow! From the development of the first programs in the founding period to the upswing in the 80s, the challenges threatening the existence in the 90s as well as the reorientation of the company after the turn of the millennium. Our corporate history continues to shape our identity and our actions to this day.
Like so many others, the young engineers Jens Friedrich and Norbert Lochner seized the opportunity when the Commodore PET 2001 made the purchase of computer hardware affordable for private households and small offices at the end of the 1970s. Their initial motivation is of a banal nature: Friedrich and Lochner have complex check-operations to do and are looking for a way to automate the same calculation process over and over again. Thanks to the appropriate programming skills, it is not far from a solution for their own use to a business idea. They found the “Friedrich + Lochner – Gemeinschaft beratender Ingenieure”.
Equipped with a small screen – a novelty at the time – and a tiny keyboard, the PET allows them to create calculation programs and save them on small tape cassettes. In the founding years, the two of them were beating the bushes in the basement of the Pforzheimer Strasse. For the first time, the first calculation programs for personal use can be sent by post to “customers”, who in turn put the programs through their paces as beta testers equipped with a computer. They quickly realise the time-consuming manual calculation work is a thing of the past. The first programs are sold and the first trade fair presentations take place.
The product plate grows. The continuous beam and the first roof programs – with which everything began – are joined step by step by new programs. By mid-1982, there are already 32 solutions in total.
The cherished PET, to which loyalty is maintained until the 8000 series, has had its day and is replaced by a Sirius 1, whose 10MB hard disk still costs 20,000 DM in 1983. With the change to the Sirius computer, the programs are ported to a new operating system: MS-DOS. For programs in which the computational methods are essentially implemented, the new operating system finally allows optimized graphical interfaces and graphical input options to be worked out.
With Dipl.-Ing. Jan Skrzypczyk, the first civil engineer is hired by Friedrich und Lochner. A few months later, another specialist follows with Dr.-Ing. Peter Laidig. The company then moves into its first real office in Grazer Strasse in Stuttgart-Feuerbach. The FRILO programs gain in popularity because the sequence of program steps succeeds in reproducing as precisely as possible the workflow familiar to the engineer working in practice.
On December 15, 1986, the 1000th customer is registered.
The days of “yes=I” commands are numbered. The Sirius 1 is followed by the IBM PC – the industry standard at the time. Dipl.-Ing. Herbert Höcklin joins the company on one condition: he is allowed to make the programming language C, – until then a foreign word to the founding fathers – presentable. With his commitment, he made significant contributions to the field of graphical representation and input.
The fall of the Wall in November 1989 changed the political landscape in Europe. Norbert Nawroth, head of department at the Institute for Reinforced Concrete in Dresden, wants to take advantage of the new perspectives and starts looking for contacts in the West. He finally met Jens Friedrich and quickly came up with the idea of founding a branch office in Dresden with employees of the institute. The branch in the listed “Blue House” at Bergstrasse 70 is born. To this day, FRILO’s steel construction programs in particular bear the Dresden signature.
In 1989, there were just 5 permanent employees, but their number increased to over 20 within 2 years due to the growth in Dresden and further new hires. The small Stuttgart office with the family touch in the Grazer Straße was soon no longer sufficient. The move to the open-plan office in Stuttgarter Straße is a done deal. In addition, MS-DOS has had its day as the operating system. On June 03, 1992, the company has 4,000 customers.
With the introduction of Windows 95, the pressure of the market to provide timely Windows applications is growing. The conversion of the large number of individual programs to the new Windows 95 interface ties up developer capacities, and program development stagnates. Through a joint show of strength, the company can be prevented from going out of business during this arduous time. It is a salutary shock. In order to restructure the company into a competitive medium-sized enterprise on the market, the company form is changed from “Gemeinschaft beratender Ingenieure” to a GmbH (limited liability company) in 1997. The sole managing director is Jens Friedrich. At this time, Norbert Lochner is preparing for his well-deserved retirement as a co-partner.
January 1st marks the beginning of a new era. In order to arrange their succession at an early stage and ensure the continued existence of the GmbH, the founding fathers Friedrich and Lochner decide to sell the company to the Nemetschek Group. To this day, FRILO Software GmbH remains an independent company in the group, which now comprises 13 brands.
FRILO enters the new millennium with the introduction of the software service agreement as a new customer option.
Jens Friedrich hands over the management of the company to Dr.-Ing. Hans Stegmüller, who will henceforth lead the business.
The important areas of quality assurance and customer service are reorganized, the FRILO team continues to grow and soon has to move to a larger office. For the first time, a room for training FRILO customers is also set up in the new domicile.
“Friedrich + Lochner GmbH” changes its name and now operates under the name “Nemetschek FRILO GmbH”. The family-like community feeling that has always characterized FRILO is retained despite the increased market requirements.
With the B6+ and the FD+, the first programs with the new PLUS interface are launched on the market. With the elaborate PLUS conversion, the FRILO programs get a modern, interactive graphic. To this day, the new development forms the basis of the FRILO applications.
Once again, a name change is imminent. Nemetschek FRILO GmbH” is renamed “FRILO Software GmbH”. The company still bears this name today. In the same year, the company moves again at its Stuttgart headquarters. The business premises at Stuttgarter Straße 40 are still in use today.
Markus Gallenberger takes over the management from Dr.-Ing. Hans Stegmüller. Peter Fritz, Tanja Rohleder and Frank Peiffer complete the management team.
In order to be even closer to what is happening in the Nemetschek Group, the third FRILO office is opened in Munich.
In February 2024, Markus Gallenberger hands over the management of the company to Dr. Detlef Schneider.