Meet the makers

How Wingman AI came to life

Timo Korinth, ShipBit CEO Timo Korinth, ShipBit CEO

When Timo saw a video showcasing how it would be to talk to generative AI in his beloved game Star Citizen in November 2023, he was immediately hooked. The only problem was that it was all staged. So he decided to prototype it for real.

At ShipBit, we were trying out different things to improve our social media presence and overall visibility at the time. A couple of days later, Timo decided to show off his prototype on YouTube. We were blown away. The video went viral and exceeded everything we had published before.

Timo convinced us of the potential of this technology and we finally decided to build a product around it. We assigned three of our six developers, which was a big risk for a small company like us without any external funding.

We had to bring it from prototype state to an Open Source project in no time. We got rid of all the hacks and shortcuts and started learning Python and using the AI as we intended.

We started planning to roll it out on Windows (which was much harder than we thought). We were also building a Discord and a Patreon community around it. In addition to that, we kept on posting new content on YouTube to keep the community engaged.

Just a month after the first prototype, we launched the first Wingman AI alpha version to the public in December 2023. The feedback we got was incredible.

The first versions were rough around the edges, but we kept improving. We added new features almost daily, while cleaning up and abstracting the code base.

We quickly identified two main obstacles people were facing: Manually editing yaml configuration files, and setting up their own OpenAI API keys to pay-per-use, which seems to be something that not everyone likes to do.

We started with the first problem and started building an easy to use client - finally something we were already good at.

We also wanted to make it as easy as possible for anyone to use Wingman AI. So we decided to pay for the use of the OpenAI API and offer it to everyone for free while building a backend infrastructure for a long-term solution.

This was not an easy task. Apart from building it, we would essentially be becoming a SaaS provider, which requires a lot of consideration, especially when you're based in Germany. There are many considerations, such as legal issues, costs, scalability, security etc.

Over time we had built up an active community of users, moderators and developers who helped us a lot. Without them and our other ShipBit employees who kept us alive with paid projects, we would never have made it. So thanks to all of you!

In April 2024, we launched Wingman AI 1.0 with the new backend that finally allowed us to offer an optional "flat-rate" subscription model for people who don't want to worry about API keys or usage limits.

Simon Hopstätter, ShipBit CTO Simon Hopstätter, ShipBit CTO
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We are ShipBit

ShipBit is a small, but mighty team of passionate and experienced developers based in Dortmund. Germany. We are all highly experienced software industry professionals with extensive experience in building and maintaining software solutions for a wide range of customers.

We have all worked in larger companies before and have seen many projects fail before they could even hit the market. That's why we decided to go our own way in 2020. We founded ShipBit to help companies build better software faster. Our personal goal is to establish our own customer-facing products, too.

Our developers are highly skilled and autonomous. We efficiently minimize overhead and focus on the goal: to build a minimal viable product (MVP) as fast as possible. If you're interested in working with us or are interesting in utilizing Wingman AI in your product or business, please check out our Website and feel free to contact us!