The afternoon workshop and evening Müsli were marked by practical advice on the first steps a startup has to take in order to minimize the risk of ruin?.
Swallow the lump in your throat and face customers!
Matej Golob, co-founder of 30Lean, led a workshop where we learned that we have to put ourselves in a potential customer’s shoes, try to understand their actual situation or problem that will make them jump into action and reach for a product. If you want a positive result, you have to swallow the lump in your throat and communicate your idea. When it comes to this, you shouldn’t worry too much about protecting the idea, because if you hide it excessively, you won’t get the much needed feedback or potential partners and co-workers. Sign-up for LinkedIn, find connections to your potential target clients and arrange for a meeting through recommendations. If they give you a date, immediately get in the car, on the plane or train, and visit them right away. All those were the messages of the first in the series of workshops in the autumn Start:up Maribor programme that more than 50 individuals attended. They listened and actively worked with Matej, who introduced numerous concrete examples from the startup practice in a very dynamic and explicit way, telling the participants what works and what doesn’t when developing a business idea.
The deputy mayor of the Municipality of Maribor, Melita Petelin, who also has practical experience in entrepreneurship, welcomed the workshop attendees. She told them that she’s aware of all the risks and challenges of entrepreneurship and wished them a lot of success on their business path. Her entrepreneurship experience is one of the reasons why she supports the Start:up Maribor programme, financially backed by the municipality that’s also offering supporting services with the purpose of helping young talents realize their business ideas.
In the evening, the action moved to Kibla ….
We continued in the relaxed KIBLA atmosphere with stories of three experienced startuppers. Matej Golob was joined by Tadej Jevševar from Chipolo and Tadej Gregorčič from Motiviti. They used juicy examples from everyday experience to present how entrepreneurs should act if they want to maximize the product’s chances of market success. Matej repeatedly pointed out the danger of the entrepreneur falling “in love” with the product, not willing to check straight away if the market really wants it. Then the entrepreneur finishes developing the product, launches it, but instead of success, what follows is bitter disappointment upon the realization that customers don’t want it. Meanwhile the entrepreneur lost a lot of precious time and money in the process.
Tadej Jevševar presented the story of the Chipolo product, the beginnings of which were most marked by starting a campaign and collecting money on Kickstarter. Instead of the expected 15,000 USD, they collected 350,000 USD, which also introduced new challenges and responsibility to the users. We had fun listening to the story of how they soldered the first Chipolos by hand and were trying to catch the deadlines for delivering the product to the first Kickstarter backers. “With the experience we have today, we would’ve launched the product two months later, have angry backers but, at the end, happy users,” said Tadej. They actually had to exchange most of the first products, as they hadn’t been market-ready since the batteries ran out too quickly. He concludes: “Luckily, Kickstarter is made in such a way that the backers are with you in good and in bad, and this didn’t tarnish our good name”. Today Chipolo works excellently, it’s used all across the world, the users are happy with it, using it to find their phone about twice a day on average. We can soon expect Chipolo 2.0 with new functions on the market.
Tadej Gregorčič was challenged, right at the very beginning, with the question of when will we finally see the premiere of the Elroy cross-platform video game that they’ve been promising for the past two years. It’s a video game based on a good story and interesting riddles. He additionally explained that it’s a very ambitious project, a work of art with the specifics of a product that doesn’t allow for any mistakes (games you pay once and play). Once you launch it to the market, there’s no making it better. So they want to develop the game and test it from all key aspects before they launch it to the market. Motiviti also works for big clients such as LG and Adidas. Tadej says that those are offers you can’t really turn down. They’re short-term projects, but intense ones.
Every Tuesday until the end of the year, Start:up Maribor will pamper entrepreneurs with useful workshops for developing their startup, and provide the best company in town in the evenings with networking and a moderated discussion at Müsli events in Kibla.