A platform to build product communities, Projectium.Network, has announced its IOS launch

app launch
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written by OLESIA DEINEKA

Projectium, a platform, enabling early-stage startup founders to build communities around their startups and products, has launched on IOS on July 15. The app is available to download for free in the Apple App Store.

In particular, our platform makes it easier for users to grow their startup as a result of validating their project idea and getting relevant feedback from the industry experts. 

Unlike existing platforms, Projectium provides opportunities for constant interaction with the audience to create your community around a startup. Moreover, the competitors either allow to demonstrate their startup once or specifically aim at recruiting.

“If you think about how you could successfully build and launch a new tech product, the first that comes to mind is idea validation and quality feedback from professionals in your industry. Do you know where to find them? Probably yes, but the easiest way is to simply publish your startup page on Projectium” – says the Founder and CEO at Projectium, Alex Buzin.

For instance, some of the app’s key features include:

  • Interactive cards: make an engaging presentation of your product using integration from 20+ sources: YouTube, Medium, Sketchlab and more.
  • Community threads: post regular updates about your startup and, as a result, get feedback gain new followers and engage with the existing ones.
  • Project timeline: showcase the stages of your startup development and get insights from the industry professional.

Download now and get a endless premium status at Projectium. Don’t miss the chance to join the new digital Silicon Valley!

ABOUT
Projectium.Network is a networking platform for growing a community around your early-stage startup or a project. At Projectium things are interactive:
  • Instead of presenting your startup in text –  get an attractive project page with creative visuals.
  • Tired of filtering spam on Reddit? Get personal project recommendations based on your interests.
  • Publishing on ProductHunt seems one-time opportunity? Grow your startup community and track results on Projectium every day .

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How to bring your startup to the next level: top 3 problems analyzed

How to bring your startup to the next level
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written by OLESIA DEINEKA

Founding a startup is not for the faint of heart. Even though the barriers to launching a startup are at their lowest as they were before, 90% of new startups in 2020 have failed. What is most inspiring in this saga about entrepreneurship, is that a community of bright individuals challenges global corporations and proves that anyone with talent and a smart idea can build a successful business. That is truly inspiring and probably is the main reason why I’ve joined an early-stage startup.

Only the strong survive. Turns out, this phrase relates not only to people but also to startups. As a recent startup employee, I’ve observed that a path of a young business idea is somewhat chaotic and definitely not easy.

So how can you bring your startup to the next level? I’ve analyzed the 3 most common problems and tried to find a practical solution among millions of advice from seasoned entrepreneurs. Knowing what challenges your startup faces and how to overcome them, will increase your chances of success.

Problem #1. Lack of idea validation

A successful startup begins with a deep understanding of a problem that shapes product development. And this issue should be relevant to a certain group of people (preferably a big one). Unfortunately, 34% of startups fail because they cannot find a market fit. “Before starting to invest your time and resources into developing an idea into a company, validate your idea and get enough feedback,” says Ammar Akhtar, founder of Finalrentals. That brings us to a question: so how can a founder validate his idea and decide whether it’s worth moving on with it?

Solution

Do your research! If after reading various sources you think a particular startup idea will be used by many clients or businesses, here’s how to find the industry specialists and ask them:

  • Specialized Facebook groups

  • Linkedin

  • Specialized platforms – like Indiehackers and Projectium

  • Reddit

  • Discord

Find out the pros and cons of these platforms in our previous article .

Problem #2. Not keeping your focus narrow enough

If you want to be successful, find your highly specialized niche and create a solution that will solve one of its problems. According to the Fortune article, the primary reason why all startups fail is the lack of market need (42%). Profitable niches should be looked for where there is demand but a lack of quality offers.

Many entrepreneurs are struggling to reinvent the bicycle and simply fail to notice that the market is in need of bicycle parts or maintenance services. Usually, the same technology can be used in different scenarios and served ‘under a different sauce’.

“It’s crucial to start focusing and narrowing down from the start. As the project grows, one can spiral down and expand to other niches”, says Hugo Magalhães, the founder of Helppier.

Solution

1. Evaluate your passions and skills

Understand what you are passionate about and what are you good at. Or something you hate and want to improve! Hugo Magalhães has been creating user manuals for Siemens and decided to improve that experience. That’s how he created the first demo version of his product. Therefore, asses what you love and what you can do — that’s the first step to finding your niche.

2. Figure out if there’s a market for your niche

Plug in some keywords related to your niche, and see which words and phrases get suggested. Narrow down the suggestions by monthly search volume, competition level, and suggested bid” – Rampton suggests. Consequently, find out if there are potential customers for your potential startup field. No customers — no market!

3. Narrow down your niche

That’s where idea validation comes into play! Register at sources, such as Projectium and Indiehackers, browse Reddit, Facebook or Linkedin groups, and ask other professionals!

4. Check out the competition for yourself

A good sign that this niche is worth pursuing, is when the sites ranking for your keywords are generally smaller or of a low quality.

5. Test your niche

One way to test your niche is to create a landing page that promotes a free info product related to your niche”, advises Rampton. So, test your niche and find out if it is in demand.

Problem # 3. Lack of funding

The financial issue is always in the first place for any business, and for startups in particular, since the amount of money for starting a project, as a rule, is limited. Having talked with several startup founders, I’ve discovered that almost all young businesses tend to face the problem of lack of finance at one stage or another.

The lack of finance during the early stage can be often is fatal for many startups, preventing them from growing: be it launching new product features or hiring competent specialists.

Solution

Statistic says, that the price of launching a venture nowadays is 1000% lower than it used to be twenty years ago. The majority of young tech projects are bootstrapping, so can you.

Many experts and seasoned entrepreneurs recommend that startup founders think about financial management from the very beginning, trying to keep costs as low as possible. Ammar Akhtar recommends carefully calculate the funds and have enough for at least a year of running a business and having enough to make a living if your business never takes off.

The savings should not be harmful – cutting development costs or salaries of professionals will more often harm a startup than vice versa. But it’s not a sin to save money on the office, for instance. Research illustrates that remote teams are more innovative and are more likely to stay with the employer.


Yerdle’s co-founder and business coach Karl Tashian believes that most startups are not ruined by funding problems, staffing errors, or poor product vision. In order to prevent the death of the company, he suggests, first of all, to understand yourself and be passionate about what you do.

No doubt, a startup is a risky business. Once everyone said that people cannot fly. But the Wright brothers believed in their dream and took the risk of flying on the first plane. Apple, Virgin Atlantic, and Microsoft were also risky ideas at the time. But that’s the point! The entrepreneurial spirit is based on risk. And the one who overcomes the fear – thrives.


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Momen Elshamy on launching a bootstrapped startup to compete with Canva

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written by iryna prysyazhnuk

Momen Elshamy is a graphic designer and a founder of Premast – an Egypt-based startup that offers presentation design tools.

Premast was launched in August 2020, in the middle of a pandemic and uncertainty. Without any outside funding or government grants, by March 2021 startup is profitable.

IMB, Johnson&Johnson, and Volkswagen are among the clients.

Premast doesn’t have a crazy idea behind it that no one ever heard about before. Nor it has millions of dollars behind it, like WeWork.

Premast operates in a very competitive environment. The company offers presentation templates and customizable graphics on a subscription basis. Canva, Prezi, SlideShare are among the main competitors.

So how it all works?

How it all started.

Momen Elshamy has a background in design and years of experience working for LG Electronics and Axon Global Education Network.

However, he didn’t enjoy working for a big company and started freelancing using Upwork. The clients started to reach out to him, and that’s when he found an underserved market.

A large number of his clients from the US and Canada were requesting customized presentation designs. He learned, that clients wanted their presentations made in PowerPoint, not just PDF, so they can easily make necessary changes themselves.

The existing presentation design tools were either too complicated to use for a non-designer or didn’t offer designs that would stand out.

Premast helps users to design presentations that stand out effortlessly

From the marketplace to a startup.

To validate his idea, Elshamy has designed a presentation template in PowerPoint and put it out at a marketplace Envato.

He had already had several templates for social media out there, but one single Powerpoint template turned out to be a gamechanger. It was downloaded so many times, Elshamy instantly knew there was a need for that product. By that time he had so many clients from his freelancing, that he had hired two other designers to help him out.

In March 2018 Elshamy started to prepare a launch of his own company. His team started adding Powerpoint templates to the marketplace account on a weekly basis. He came up with the future company’s name and created the first landing page.

In early 2019, Elshamy realized he wanted not only to give people templates to download but the tools to customize the design in the easiest possible way. He personally is a fan of Canva and wanted to create a tool that will focus on a user-friendly and very easy presentation design.

How did the pandemic affect startup launch?

Before launching Premast as a startup, Elshamy worked on its brand selling templates via the marketplace. However, he always had in mind a bigger picture and was working towards launching his own project. The team started with just a landing page and was planning on a startup launch when COVID-19 changes everything.

“The start of the pandemic was very hard for us. We started to work from home, and we were not ready for this. We had a hard time meeting the deadlines,” explained Elshamy.

Elshamy and the team had a hard decision to make – to launch despite the disrupting pandemic or postpone until the next year?

He decided to launch.

“I just had a feeling, if we postpone a launch to the next year we might not be able to hold until the next year,” said Elshamy.

“We needed something to push ourselves, to give us the power to continue.”

Premast launched and, as many businesses during COVID-19, pivoted.

Elshamy discovered the need for presentation templates completely new field – education. He noticed that with the universities going all remote, more and more educators were looking for an easy way to create engaging presentations.

Today the educational templates are one of the most downloaded at Premast.

How did you become profitable?

When speaking of the financial part of the company, Elshamy is very clear – he bootstrapped the startup and uses the profits to re-invest and expand his team.

Currently, Premast employs 20 people and has a business unit, a large design team, who works on UX and UI and presentation design team, who creates new PowerPoint templates.

“I analyzed and researched everything – how much money each presentation cost me, what is the cost of my customer acquisition, what templates are the most popular, and what is not working so great,” explained the founder.

“We are very focused on analyzing expenses and immediately shutting down the things that won’t work for us. We are a profit-oriented startup”, said Elshamy

Premast has a free and a paid plan. The plus plan costs $10 per month. It gives customers access to all the premium templates, graphics and includes multiple brand kits.

Elshamy on how the company set up pricing for its product.

Just after its launch in August 2020, Premast gained over 12,000 users in just 6 months.

The key to staying competitive on the market – constantly testing new features, making a platform faster an and adding

“The biggest challenge for us now – to keep up with the customer demand and innovate as fast at it’s possible. We’re working on the templates for Google slides now, as the customers keep asking for them,” said Elshamy.

The most important advice?

Elshany highlights that he wouldn’t go this far without his team.

Elshamy on the most important lesson learned from the pandemic

He adds, that to win a team a founder needs to help them grow and learn. The founder should educate them on every aspect of the startup, including the budget. Also, the founder needs to identify the role of every team member and what kind of work they’re expected to do.


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5 ways to validate your startup idea without leaving your home

startup ideas need feedback
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Written by Iryna Prysyazhnuk

Do you have a startup idea?

Before launching any kind of startup you probably will do a lot of research. Actually, you should do it!

Different founders and mentors would advise on taking different approaches to find co-founders, teammates, and approaching investors, but there’s one thing they all agree on.

Before starting to put your time and money into anything, validate your idea! 

Idea validation is the most crucial step, as mentioned by George Burke and Ammar Akhtar.

If you have a great personal network in a startup community, probably you’re able to validate your idea just by asking a couple of questions on your LinkedIn or Twitter. You will get some answers and possibly can follow up, and get some sort of feedback.

If you’ve been working with startups for years, you probably have a good personal network to interview your potential target audience even by phone or Zoom.

But what if you’re the first-time founder and not well immersed in a startup community yet? 

Here are some ways you get feedback on your ideas:

  1. Facebook Groups.

Join startup and entrepreneurship groups either in a global community or specific for your county. After you get approved by the admin, you have an opportunity to create a post. Share your idea and validate it through comments and engage in discussions.

Pros:

  • easy to post and doesn’t require extra registration (who doesn’t have a Facebook profile!)
  • you can post the same question in different groups and gather over 100 comments of feedback in a short period of time
  • you can connect with users who left comments and ask them for an interview or personal feedback

Cons:

  • once posted, your post stays on top only for a short period of time
  • groups have lots of spam
  • you can’t filter the relevant audience if your idea targets a specific niche/market
  • groups are not always easy to find

    Discord for startups
    Discord channels can help startups to validate their ideas

2. Discord

Discord traditionally has been a community for gamers, so if your product or service targets this audience- it’s your choice #1!  However, even if your idea is not around gaming, you can find the communities of web developers, designers, entrepreneurs, and marketers who would be able to provide feedback. Join servers that such as Unscripted StartupsProjectium.Network and Startups & Entrepreneurship.

Pros:

  • you can easily find a niche community to pitch your idea to
  • users are responsive and helpful

Cons:

  • users often don’t use real names, so it’s hard to understand who they are and what is their expertise
  • Discord highly discourages  links to other websites and platforms, if you want to test MVP
  • Discord doesn’t support threads, so comments for your idea would be scattered and might not be seen by a lot of people
  • Groups for startups are relatively small in size (less than 2k)

3. Reddit 

Reddit is known for everything but idea validation, but some entrepreneurs do post their business questions in relevant subreddits. If you’re willing to give it a try, Reddit threads such as r/startupsr/startup and r/Startup_Ideas  and r/EntrepreneurRideAlong can be helpful.

Pros:

  • very large and active community
  • people can upvote for your discussions and you’ll get over 100 comments with feedback
  • some founder report Reddit as a good source for getting feedback fast

Cons:

  • anonymity means you don’t know anything about the users giving you feedback  – are they even your target audience?
  • comments are not always relevant, people would promote their services in popular posts
  • if your idea doesn’t get upvoted, you will have just a few comments

    Reddit for startups
    Some users use Reddit to start with the idea validation

4. Specialized platforms – IndieHackers & Projectium 

If you familiarizing yourself with a startup world, you have probably heard of those two platforms. The biggest difference between those platforms –  is that they’re not a one-time deal. You’re able to create your project and build a community around it. You’re able to ask for feedback for your idea and it won’t get lost in the sea of other messages.

Let’s take a closer look.

Indiehackers is a community focused on inspiring you to start a profitable business, turn your side hustle into a main source of income and grow your company.

Pros:

  • large community with active members
  • a well-designed platform, where you can create both a personal profile and a project
  • has lots of interviews and podcasts, sometimes it’s easy to get lost

Cons:

  • a large community means that getting attention for your project is harder
  • not specifically focused on startups only, tho has a lot of projects in the industry
  • text-heavy

Projectium focuses on early-stage startups and providing a community for founders, contributors, and early adopters.

Pros:

  • a community tailored to the needs of startup founders, contributors, and early adopters
  • the platform lets you keep your project “live” and create a community around it
  • interactive cards feature of the platform let you gather all your project’s information in just one place and present it as a portfolio
  • the platform is new so getting noticed and receiving feedback is easier
  • lots of options for visual representation

Cons:

  • the platform is new and is in a beta-testing version right now
  • the community doesn’t have a very large number of users just yet

5. LinkedIn

If you managed to build a strong personal network, then you might want to run a series of polls asking questions to validate your startup idea. You might not even ask directly, but try to understand the “pain points” of your audience and its needs.

Pros:

  • easy – posting a poll takes just a minute
  • no need to create a profile, most likely you already have one (if no, you definitely should!)

Cons:

  • you have to have a large personal network, preferably over 1,000 people
  • you will likely get feedback from people who are not your target audience
  • your poll might will get lost in your other posts

No matter what idea validation path you will take, remember to make sure you’re getting feedback from your target audience, not just random people.

How much feedback do I need to get?

The simple answer – the more the better, but around 100 people should be your goal. Don’t be afraid to follow up with those people answering your polls and providing you with short answers. If they’re your future audience, ask for a 15-minute call and try to learn more about their needs, problems, and challenges they face.

Idea validation would definitely take time, but this is the crucial step in building your startup, take it very seriously.


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Hugo Magalhães on the challenges for tech startup founders and narrowing down to scale up. 

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written by iryna prysyazhnuk

Hugo Magalhães is a software developer, project manager founder and CEO of Helppier, a Portuguese-based startup.

Helppier is software that helps users to create automated tours and visually appealing in-app messages without coding. Its mission – to make the lives of e-commerce businesses easier. The software provides interactive chats, video-tours and onboarding guides, pop-ups, welcoming messages, and tutorials among the other features.

How did you decide to become a startup founder?

Magalhães wanted to an entrepreneur from his early twenties. One day while on vacation he spotted a magazine on business and entrepreneurship. He read it from the beginning to the very end. He realized, that he wanted to build a product that he will enjoy working on and that will impact people’s lives.

However, Magalhães didn’t start his own business until well into his thirties. He worked for large companies creating and testing software and various IT solutions. And while working for a German-based consumer tech giant Siemens, Hugo discovered his startup idea. 

How did you spot an idea for a startup? 

Magalhães was part of a team that developed software for the documentation area. One of his tasks was to create the user manuals. And he simply hated it. The idea of creating user manuals in a better way stuck with him for several years. After some time Magalhães launched his freelance business and his customers asked for the exact same thing – create user manuals. That’s how he discovered the second problem.

“A lot of efforts were put into user’s manuals that no one actually reads. I decided to improve that experience and created the first version of what is Helppier today,” said Magalhães.

He created a widget that anyone would use to easily guided tours for their users.

How did you validate your idea? 

Magalhães said he shared his idea with friends and colleagues and got some feedback. However, he admits that he didn’t try to solve the market problem back then, but rather tried to make a solution for himself.

How did you take your project to a next level? 

Magalhães explained that at first, they tried to solve too broad problems at Helppier, something a lot of early-stage startups actually do. When things didn’t work quite as expected, they started to focus on just the onboarding process.

“We did a small pivot and focused on a specific niche, specific use case, ” said Magalhães. 

That focus gave a clearer vision for the whole company and a better messaging for customers. 

If you’re having trouble answering many different types of questions, chances are your focus is not narrow enough.  

Hugo Magalhães on the importance of narrowing down a startup.

He adds, that the marker has too many different areas and angles that for a startup. It’s crucial to start focusing and narrowing down from the start. As the project grows, one can spiral down and expand to other niches.

The biggest challenge for a technical co-founder? 

Some may think that for technical co-founders it’s much easier to build a startup. However, the future founders-to-be have to be prepared for the challenges they will face even knowing how to build the product.

Challenge #1 – to find a team. Working for a startup takes a special kind of individual. 

“Managing and hiring people, it’s one of the hardest things to do. Having one or two interviews cannot give you even a small peek of how people behave, and if they are a right fit or not,” said Magalhães.

He added that understanding that a person is a right fit for a startup will take at least a couple of months. And that’s not only because of the technical skills.

“We need these people to have a lot of resilience because you’re not just hiring someone that it’s coming to a company that’s already developed. It’s something new so that we need to be resilient”, said Magalhães

A few months or maybe even a year will tell you if your employees have the persistence to keep pushing. Where to find those people?

Magalhães said that he found news team members among the young university graduates. Helppier team now consists of five individuals, including developers and marketers.

Challenge #2 – finding customers for your product. 

“You think that the product developed would be bought instantly. That’s not true. You need to understand where your users are”,  said Magalhães

Magalhães said that funding the customers and identifying the right niche for the company was a path of trial and error.

Hugo Magalhães of Helppier – resilience is a key in building a startup

In Helppier the team now is focusing on solving this problem through various partnerships and affiliate marketing programs.

Hellpier’s plans for the nearest future – open to the market by creating an affiliate partnership program.

To learn more about the product and company’s mission, vision and how it can help your business, please visit Helppier.com or connect with Hugo Magalhães


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Ammar Akhtar on bootstrapping a startup, growing during pandemic and skills every non-tech founder needs

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Written by iryna prysyazhnuk

Ammar Akhtar, founder of Finalrentals and a keynote speaker shares insights on discovering a niche for innovation, bootstrapping a startup, and skills every non-tech founder needs.

Ammar Akhtar created Finalrentals in 2016, and the company has become the largest car rental marketplace in the UAE with over 40,000 locations worldwide. Akhtar brought together his expertise in information technology and his passion for cars and tech and created a successful company without outside investment.

How one can spot a startup opportunity in a crowded market?

Akhtar’s expertise is in the rental car industry and building all sorts of technology for it, from the websites to the complex IT solutions. While working full-time for renowned brands such as Dollar and Thrifty, Akhtar noticed one thing all of them didn’t have – seamless customer experience. Those brands had great infrastructure, people, cars, but customers were not happy when getting their cars at the checkout counter.

Akhtar realized, that the entire industry lacked a united ecosystem that would make customer’s experience in renting a car easy and pleasant. And decided to create that ecosystem.

How do you move from the idea to launching s startup? What about the finances? 

Finalrentals is a bootstrapped startup, meaning that Akhtar has launched the business without outside capital. He didn’t have venture investments or grants from accelerators and used his own savings. Akhtar describes his company as “at a very lean and a very breakeven sort of a smart business, which is now kissing profitability.”

He explains that two things helped him to create a successful bootstrapped company: savings and years of industry expertise.

“I had some money in my bank and I understand the industry. I knew everything about car rentals, how it works inside out, every single thing, not just the tech part,” said Akhtar.

Akhtar’s advice – take your time to know the industry you want to innovate, learn all the aspects and problems, not just the one you want to solve.

What to expect in the first year of running a startup?

“It is going to be very difficult because you will not start making money just after you have the business. That’s not how it works, it will take a lot of time. Do you have the time? Do you have the resources?” said Ammar.

Resources mean friends and family, savings, and some angel investment.  How much of those? Akhtar recommends carefully calculate and have enough for at least a year of running a business and having enough to make a living if your business never takes off.

Akhtar explains, that in today’s world bootstrapping is not hard, but requires a calculation of the entire scenario.

If you’re not sure you have enough resources and time, Akhmad suggests trying to secure seed funding, such as early investments or grants.

Before starting to invest your time and resources into developing an idea into a company, validate your idea and get enough feedback.

Akhtar emphasizes founders need to get feedback before investing time and money into building MVP

He emphasized that feedback and understanding of product and market fit are the crucial elements in the success of any startup.  Create a prototype and test it, get your first 100 customers, and study their user experience and feedback. Only after proceed with developing your idea or adjusting it to the market needs.

The most important lessons learned from the pandemic? 

Being capable to work remotely and transform Finalrentals into 80% remote business was one of the lessons Akhtar learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, what really helped him to grow the company and hire new team members during this most unpredictable time were personal relationships.

“My father always used to say that business is done on the basis of the relationship. Business is human to human”.

No matter what type of business you are, tech or digital, putting human relationships at the center of this business is a key for thriving during challenging times.

Akhtar explained that the relationship that he has built with the suppliers, customers, and employees was the key to the company’s growth during a pandemic. Finalrentals have hired people when other startups were furloughing. Finalrentals opened their first office European office in Poland and scheduled the launch in Malta.

How the business actually grew despite location closures?

Part of the success of Finalrentals is based on its business model – the company charges a small amount as a transaction fee and never relied on large cash flow amounts.

Not having any large expenses was the other factor that helped Finalrentals to grow instead of shutting down.

Challenging times are great for executing decisions from a long-term box.

Unpredictable times are great for adjustments and need to be turned into opportunities.  The physical locations of Finalrentals were closed due to government restrictions, so Akhtar has focused on questions he and his team had in the long-term box. They have created a brand-new version of the website with an improved customer experience and an entirely new booking engine.

Those improvements made the Finalrentals even more ahead of all their competitors.

What are the tips for early-stage startup founders?

One of the factors that contributed to the success of Finalrentals is Akhtar’s expertise in the car rental industry and experience with building all types of car rental technology. However, that was just a part of a story.

“I didn’t know anything about marketing, labor law, or franchise agreements, but I had online resources. Spend two, three hours, and learn all those things”, said Akhtar.

He emphasized that for non-tech founders it’s extremely important to understand how the tech part works, and not rely on just hiring professionals. Founders have to understand the basics of every aspect of their business.

Akhtar’s advice for young entrepreneurs – learn online about every aspect of your business

“Whatever you’re doing, you must learn something about it. Don’t just think you will hire people! You must understand something, sink your teeth into that”, said Ammar. 

 


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What is Neuromarketing and how it can help your startup?

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WRITTEN BY BOZHENA KLICHUK

While data-science and data-based decisions are a new normal for marketers all over the world, an even deeper understanding of the customer’s behavior based on scientific research is still a novice.

Have you ever wondered why you liked that song on a Sunday morning or picked potato chips in the red package, not the yellow one? Why do we do things we do? What makes us tick? It might be a coincidence, or an invisible power managing our choices whether it’s chips, a song, or a movie to pick for the night. Neuromarketing.

What is Neuromarketing and how it works?

According to Harward Business Review, Neuromarketing refers to the measurement of physiological and neural signals to gain insight into customers’ motivations, preferences, and decisions, which can help inform creative advertising, product development, pricing, and other marketing areas. Brain scanning, which measures neural activity, and physiological tracking, which measures eye movement and other proxies for that activity, are the most common methods of measurement.

In other words, it’s an application of neuroscience to marketing. The study of how the brain is influenced by marketing and consumerism.

Today brands cannot just predict future behavior but they can also model it by combining AI with neuroscience. It’s not only that technologies went further but that there is a reason to fix it. We have marketers on one side who want to create amazing experiences for us to fall in love with without creeping us out. On the other side, there are us, consumers who want to be charmed and flirt with the brands just not be creeped out. The ‘creeping out’ part is still out there on the billboards, TV and countless ads online. Neuromarketing aims to bridge the gap between marketers and consumers.

Neuromarketing is a science applied to marketing needs.

Meet Neurotrack – Ukrainian startup discovering the emotional and behavioral reaction of the target audience by tracking the conscious and unconscious reactions of the body.

Neurotrack was founded in 2019 by Vitaliy Miniaylo and Alexander Shvets. In April 2020 Vadym Kozhevny joined the team as CEO.   Kozhevniy and Miniaylo have been working together previously and had the matching experience and similar views on neuromarketing development plans.

Vitaliy Miniaylo and Vadym Kozhevny have crossed their paths while working together on developing unusual methods for Internet promotion, such as displaying videos to the YouTube trends. Kozhevniy was searching for ways to improve marketing practices and bring Europen experience and expertise to Ukraine.

Both Miniaylo and Kozhevniy had knowledge in marketing and data science and connections to large clients, suck as local e-betting companies, so that made it easier to start.

“I came up with a question of how effective marketing tools can be used to maximize the quality and efficiency of creatives. We did a little research and found out that there is such a thing as neuromarketing beyond the borders of our country. It has been utilized by almost every major company and university in some way or form,” said Miniaylo.  

Examples of neuromarketing include the use of images and videos with babies or puppies to have prolonged and more focused attention from customers and the use of red color is the most common color for the food industry. (Take a look at the McDonald’s or Burger King’s logos)

Electroencephalography helps to evaluate emotions
Vadym Kozhevniy showing the device for evaluation emotions in the human brain – electroencephalography.

“There are so many ways to manipulate our brains. And all of it is collected into one science called neuromarketing”, said Miniaylo.

Kozhevniy and Miniaylo partnered with the scientists, who helped to shape the way startup worked and the services it provided.

Neurotrack has focused on the usage of two main technologies, such as:

    • Eye-tracking – the motion of the eye is measured with the help of a special device. It helps to create a heat map and subtract the blind sports. The direct and indirect goals of these actions are to increase sales with a certain number of visitors.
    • Electroencephalography is a device that helps to evaluate emotions. Each area of our brain is responsible for certain emotional expressions. And all of the emotions are being shown by the device while the person, who is wearing it, is shown specific visuals or videos. After the evaluations, with help of the same device, the emotions are classified and being worked with for marketing purposes.

      Neuromarketing in action
      Neurotrack team in the process of evaluations emotions that occur in the brain after the person looks at the video or pictures.

How behavioral research is connected to marketing?  

Behavioral research and eye-tracking can make the process of advertising creative evaluation objective. That means, if earlier this process went through a certain number of managers, though they weren’t the target audience, now we can communicate directly with the audience. In other words, these devices simplify and clarify our daily work routine. Instead of wasting time on the team’s opinion, we spend it in a more productive way – by getting the direct opinion of the target audience.

Neuromarketing can be used anywhere. Each and every industry needs it. The highest demand for it has the entertainment industry. All of the movie trailers go through neuromarketing research. In case if somewhere in their process a negative reaction is caught, it is cut off and changed so that the viewers like it. That accordingly affects ticket sales. Music, by the way, works the same way. Mozgi Entertainment, for instance, was one of Neurotrack’s clients earlier. They are testing the quality of the track both on their fans’ and non-fans’ reactions. This could take music production to a new level. Perhaps this is one of the reasons Western music is of better quality and, accordingly, more popular. It has its math inside.

What is the role of neuromarketing in our future?

Miniaylo believes it’s critical for optimization of the content that is produced for both online and offline mediums.

We want it to become a culture of digital marketing consciousness and thus simplify people’s lives. Then all the amount of annoying advertisements both online and offline would switch to quality content. If we optimize this, everyone would feel better”, said Minyaylo. 


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How to create a successful business without experience or connections

How to start a business without connections or experience?
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Bozhena Klichuk talked to Nikolay Lysenko, a Ukrainian-based entrepreneur and the creator behind the networking club InterRegnum. Lysenko truly believes that networking is the key to boosting the startup industry development and believes that everything is possible with the right people and connections.

Please tell me your story. How was your life before InterRegnum? 

I’m 18 now and I don’t have a lot of experience. I used to work on small projects in retail and now have a business on Amazon.

What made you come up with this idea?

We already have a few clubs in Kyiv such as Young Business Club and CEO club. However, the concern I had while looking into those clubs was the absence of young people. I had an impression that everyone forgets about them, so I decided to be that guy that gives them a chance to show themselves and share their ideas. I feel them, I am the same age and that is why I think that I can lead them.

How long was the path from the idea to its creation?

It took me about a year including all the ups and downs.

What were the first challenges you met along the way? 

The main challenge for me was a lack of competency and experience, everything was new and unknown. But you learn from your own mistakes and grow from them. The theoretical knowledge doesn’t help until you test it in real life.

Startup ideas tips

How did you build the connections with companies and mentors that are invited? 

Building the first connections was actually pretty easy due to the help of the Young Business Club. They were mentoring me from the beginning that I am really grateful for! Step by step I kept networking, going to events and meeting new people. You never know how the person next to you can influence your life.

What are the further plans?

The main plans are to expand to the four major cities in Ukraine: Lviv, Kharkiv, Odesa, and Dnipro. The main mission is to promote networking, support, and trust among our Ukrainian youth as we can see from our European neighbors.

What would you advise to the young entrepreneurs that are just starting their path?

Before you get disappointed about your project and want to throw it all away, stop for a minute and think about what you can change. Then change everything except the main idea. Another thing is the perception of your idea. If you do it as it is for fun without overthinking and tension, it will definitely work out.


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George Burke, co-founder of Founderpool, on how to launch a successful startup during pandemic.

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Written by iryna prysyazhnuk

George Burke is a San Francisco based entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience in the startup industry and the co-founder of FounderPool.

FounderPool, Burke’s new project, de-risks entrepreneurs by pooling startup equity. In the first month of allowing for open enrollments and applying, FounderPool got around 60 founders, who had raised almost a billion dollars between them.

FounderPool was ProductHunt’s #1 Product of the Day.  Since its launch in July 2020, the founders have raised billions of dollars for their startups.

How did Burke create such a successful project in a short period of the most uncertain time of the last decade? 

First, there was an idea. However, he didn’t transform the idea into the project right away, as many entrepreneurs do. FounderPool is not Burke’s first startup, but the first one he created differently. Burke explained, that the book “Lean Startup” by Eric Rise made him take a different approach.

“I didn’t want to start up anything until validating it. I’ve had too many startups where I feel like I’m trying to push a good idea onto the community onto consumers or customers, but they don’t actually want what I’m creating,” said Burke. 

Burke’s advice – do not build a thing until you know that you have customers for it.

How would you know something like that?

Talk to your audience. Don’t try to ask anyone if they like the idea of your startup, as most of the people won’t tell you the truth anyway.  Instead, ask questions and learn about the challenges, fears, and needs of your audience.

Burke has taken this exact approach – being pretty immersed in startup culture in San Francisco, he was able to get a short conversation with founders and CEOs of tech companies he knew. However, he didn’t ask them right away if they would be willing to become customers of this new thing he is creating. Instead, Burke asked about their fears and learned that risk, fear of a total loss, and uncertainty about their business was at the heart of investing challenges the founders experienced.

“80% of them said at the end of the call without me even asking: “Hey, can I be a part of this thing, when you actually launching it?”

To Burke that was an indicator that there was a market fit and that he should explore the question and actually make a product around it.

“Create a product around the fears and needs that the people you interview have” – advises Burke. 

The other element in FounderPool’s success was the messaging company used – the messaging was coming directly from the users’ words, the way they described their experience with FounderPool. Burke explained, that the way founders of the company want to present it and the way customers actually interpret what the company is, is not the same.

“We rely on how other people see it for that messaging. Somebody said that we are team Avengers for the founders. And we’re like, yeah, we’re definitely using that!”, said Burke.  

Finding the right niche and the right messaging is great, but not enough for a successful launch.

A personal network was a key element in building trust and attacking the first founders to FounderPool. Many of the 60 first people in FounderPool have been friends of either Burke or other co-founders.

“There’s the right time. There’s the right market. There’s also the right network“,  said George Burke. 

You can join Founderpool by submitting an application on the official website and keep in touch with the company’s updates on LinkedIn and Twitter.


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Welcome!

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Startup founders, experts, and contributors share with Projectium users their insights and tips for early-stage startups.


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