2018 - Our First Year of Startup Life
We closed a productive and fun 2018! We had many obstacles to overcome, big decisions to make and a lot of learning and legwork to do, which most of the time meant working beyond nine to five. When we officially registered our company in Sweden, we realized that we were building something much more than a product. We were building a team, a community and we were contributing to an important cause - bringing computer programming to our young generation. The main focus for 2018 was to set up the company while we got something out the door that was good enough to start gathering feedback and incorporate it in our first product.
Objectives for 2018
Our objectives were to learn about our target group interests and needs, absorb as much information as possible from key influencers and mentors in the tech industry, and build our team and brand identity. Although the job may initially have seemed a bit overwhelming for only 2 co-founders, we started off by defining responsibilities and set up areas and opportunities that could be explored.
Beatrice took over product development and operations, and Dora assumed responsibilities for design and user experience, as well as business and marketing aspects. We both went out and engaged with our users at workshops and after school events, while also looking out for new talent in our niche.
Below we round up five most important areas we committed to during 2018.
We built a minimum viable product (MVP) for our mobile app and the hardware that pairs with the mobile app. That meant creating a product with sufficient features that allowed girls to test and give their feedback on.
We had a few iterations of the app thanks to new ideas and demands from our target group, and a couple of iOS developers who helped us along the way. The app can be now downloaded and tested through TestFlight (Apple’s official beta testing platform), and it enables users to write code in Python and display their creations on imagiCube via Bluetooth. We have recently added the ability to preview one’s pixel art and share it on Instagram.
We also experimented with different electronic components to design our first printed circuit board (PCB) - the main core of our physical product. The imagiCube was the MVP that pushed forward our learning process, and will be refined into our first product to be launched in 2019.
We took advantage of any opportunity to meet with schools and teenage girls, and show our prototype to as many parents and teachers as possible. We organized workshops at Stockholm International School during summer, in less formal settings such as GoTo10 or TechTensta, in other countries at GROW – Girls Rock Our World Summer Camp in Hungary and at famous events in Stockholm such as Tekla/Music Tech Fest.
We even took our innovation overseas, and held a workshop in New Jersey! All these workshops proved to be a great way to validate our business idea and introduce teenage girls to programming. We have kept in touch with some of the girls and enabled them to continue writing code in our app and learn about core programming concepts.
Just like workshops, events and trade shows were a great platform for us in 2018 to demo our product, ask questions, collect feedback and resources, engage with new talent and spread the word about our mission. With Stockholm being among the leading tech hubs for startups in Europe, it was not hard to find fairs and trade shows that cater to our niche market.
Events such as Makerstown, Giants, Girls in Tech and Internet Dagarna brought us closer to our target group and potential collaborators. We have also had the chance to pitch at STHLM Tech Fest in front of the most innovative thinkers in tech and gain more inspiration and knowledge about the current state of women in tech and latest technology trends.
4. Bootcamps and Trainings
FemTech Bootcamp represented an intensive training week with key investors, professionals and coaches in the Stockholm tech scene for women entrepreneurs. We could evaluate our business model, improve our elevator pitch as well as network and exchange knowledge with like minded female entrepreneurs. Fast Track Malmö was a similar one-week intensive mini-accelerator which allowed us to test what an accelerator program entails for a startup. Sting Test Drive Edtech was another major training program that opened our eyes to the opportunities and challenges of entering the education industry in Sweden.
As an early-stage startup, we wanted to gain more exposure and test our business idea. We found a number of contests and competitions that could bring us valuable insight into whether we had a viable proposition and who we were up against.
Out of 731 entries from 39 countries, we got selected among the 10 finalists of the European Social Innovation Competition. We got the chance to pitch in Brussels and received mentorship from experienced social innovators and entrepreneurs. Our CEO and co-founder Dora Palfi was selected in the EIT Woman Award category by EIT Digital and won the Fintech, AI, ICT category and the best pitch at the University Startup World Cup in Copenhagen organized by Venture Cup Denmark.
All our achievements would not have been possible without the support of KTH Innovation which backed us from day one and helped us see the up-and-coming global opportunities through The Brighter Program. EIT Digital had a great influence on our initiative to build a startup around what was initially a research project. Our first office as part of Ericsson ONE incubator program provided the stage to kick-start our startup debut. It was the place where we put together our prototype, pitched ideas to innovators, designed our app and prepared our workshop content.
In the spring of this year we are bringing our first product to market through a product crowdfunding campaign.
Sign up to our mailing list to be updated on our upcoming campaign and other coding events that we will lead. There is a chance that you will be invited to test our product even before its launch!