On the Beginnings of Entrepreneurship and First Ideas: an Interview with Sophico, VRET, Amplius, and Toleero
On the occasion of the open competition for the fifth generation of startups called “Don’t pack your suitcase – SPARK yourself!”, we have prepared a brief interview with four of our startups – Sophico, VRET, Amplius, and Toleero, who will share their beginnings in the startup world. All this with the goals of encouraging you to apply and to show that the beginnings don’t have to be that hard. 🙂 SPARK: How did you come up with your startup idea? Sophico: After dealing with a number of challenges in the basketball world as a player and trainer, Sophico’s founder has decided to offer a solution that will end all the challenges coaches, parents, players, and club management face. A team of sports fans and professional programmers gathered around a unique common idea that will change the future of sports club management. Sophico (sophisticated + software) has started the process of developing a sophisticated solution for sports management. VRET: We came up with the idea when we decided to take advantage of SPARK’s advantages and decided to launch the startup. During the research, we discovered that VR technology is the future and that it is widely used as an aid in medicine in America and other developed countries. We decided to make psychotherapy help software, because we wanted our startup, except for the good business side, to be recognizable by humanity. Amplius: Our team was always looking for a project that would fill out our free time through summer. In school, we noticed that our classmates always use smartphones and stay out of battery. Later, selfies became popular and people were going out of smartphone memory. This was another feature of our product. Summer came, so we tried to “push” the idea into SPARK, which we finally succeeded. Toleero: We came up with an idea from our own need or frustration with the service in a restaurant. Given that we didn’t have a good way to express this dissatisfaction with the owner, we created an anonymous and quick feedback tool to the person in charge, i.e. the owner directly. SPARK: Was your idea elaborated when you decided to sign up for a startup program? Sophico: When applying to the startup program, the idea was pretty elaborate and we realized the MVP very early. However, we didn’t want to stop there because we had a vision about Sophico as a platform, and we continued the process of product development. VRET: At the very beginning, the idea was developed at the lowest possible level. Amplius: Our team has never done anything like this, we knew what should we do, but for such things we needed equipment, money, and so on. Toleero: Initially, we had an improvised version made in just a couple of days, although we think we could even get into startup program without it. The idea itself was not overly developed, there was that skeleton that is still present today, but the real things were developed in SPARK. SPARK: Did you have a team? Sophico: Yes, at the time of application we had a team assembled. Meanwhile, two more permanent members joined the team, and with them, we “closed the circle” of the primary positions in the team itself. VRET: Yes. Amplius: Initially, we had a team of people for making a prototype, but we didn’t have a developer who could make the application. SPARK has suggested to us two guys who are capable and willing to work on our idea, of course, we have chosen a better one. :). Toleero: No, we didn’t have a team in the beginning – there were only two founders (Farik and me). SPARK helped us in gathering the rest of the team. SPARK: After you enter our startup program, did the idea change or remain the same? Sophico: The idea didn’t change, but the way of realizing it did. During the program and acquiring new knowledge and skills, we came to new conclusions and implemented them. When the platform came to the stage of primary testing, and later on, we analyzed all feedback from the market and tailored specific modules. Also, as a team we became more mature, the product was improved, and Sophico now has the responsibility to continue in this direction. 🙂 VRET: The original idea and vision are the same, but the idea development went on with the new steps we learned in the startup program and the mentoring program of foreign mentors. Amplius: No, the idea hasn’t changed. It was always the goal of keeping small dimensions, just increasing the number of product features. Toleero: The basic idea is still the same, but there were some major improvements and pivots, such as customer engagement and feedback. Did you come up with some new ideas or did these young ambitious peoples manage to inspire you for an application to startup program at SPARK? Applications are open on our website by Monday, 3 December 2017 at 3 PM.
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