Venture Cup Sweden holds an annual competition to spur young entrepreneurs to create the most innovative business idea. When the winners of 2016 were announced, SI-sholarship holders were in two of the top 20 projects.
Book Boost with SI-scholarship holders Rodica Belocosov and Evgenya Davydova were awarded for their idea of an online tool to fine-tune online-bookings of hotels.
The UMustBe team is a group of students from Moldova out of which three of them currently are SI-scholarship holders. Oxana Casu, Cristian Cartofeanu and Daniel Macrinici have come up with the idea of an app that will help users to net-work and connect with like-minded more effectively. SI have had the opportunity to speak to the team about the award and the project:
Of course we have to start with the award: how did you and the team feel when you learnt that you were one of the winning top 20?
– The recognition of our achievements by the Venture Cup jury in combination with the public appreciation represents a clear sign that our idea is worth to be brought to life. It is the first milestone in a road full of uncertainties that we are prepared to face by continually improving the idea. The Top 20 Spot was found to be the necessary impulse to fasten the process of achieving the next envisaged targets.
How did the idea of UMustBe start off?
– About two months ago we gathered in Stockholm for a fika in order to discuss some project ideas we had in mind. We prioritized our ideas based on problems we encountered ourselves. Eugen shared an amazing experience during a conference where a special device contained information about nearby people, creating a more comfortable environment and efficient means for making new connections. We thought about how to bring these means to everybody, considering that smartphones are the most spread and comfortable way of exchanging information, and we came up with the current solution: a mobile application that gives users ‘lagom’ amount of information about the people in their proximity during events, such as names, photos, small intros, backgrounds and interests. In this way they being able to introduce themselves and get to know others much easier.
And how will this award influence the coming year?
– The target for 2017 is to make the venture idea happen. We intend to reconnect with KTH (Royal Institute of Technology Innovation Unit) to benefit out of the business coaching, relevant contacts and support offered. Also to explore the opportunities provided by the Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship Fellowship Program designed for the three months’ pre-incubator program with coaching, events, contacts to advisors and partners, 24/7 campus access and many valuable events.
You are SI scholarship holders, what has that meant to you?
– Being part of the SI family means a lot for all of us, First, SI offers amazing academic opportunities by having established partnerships with various institutions and universities across Sweden and sponsoring participants/students to attend different programs. Second, we are benefitting from the numerous events, conferences and workshops that were organized by SI throughout the whole year. Studying in a modern environment, interacting in an international atmosphere is a great opportunity. The new Swedish paradigm, where government, industry, academia and civil participants work together to co-create the future and drive structural changes far beyond the scope of what any one organization and/or person could do alone. Third, being part of the SI community and experiencing its amazing knowledge and talent pool will let us spread wisdom and insights about Sweden to our home country Moldova, and any other place on earth. We tend to become leaders of change and be able to enthuse others through promoting the visions and drive gained while being SI scholarship holders.
What are your hopes and dreams for 2017?
– Establishing future plans is quite a difficult task due to the always-changing nature of a startup venture. However, it is very important to define milestones, what we want to achieve in the nearest future. The first major goal we have right now is to build a working prototype of the application so that we can start to test it from different perspectives, especially to get feedback from the future customers. For that, we need to achieve the second milestone: get the app launched into the market – in the hands of customers. And of course, continue competing with other important venture ideas that are in our mind.