My Startup Journey
The First Two Years Of Being An Entrepreneur
6 months ago
10 minute read
The Start of Something New
In the end of 2017 I was pitched an idea for an EdTech software which would help young students learn study skills in an interactive way, through study-games.
Rasmus pitched the idea and was at the time pursuing a Master’s Degree in Management. He pitched it for Marcus and I, who were both pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science.
We quickly started coding the software, and called it “StudyGuide”. We ended up working on it on the side of our studies for roughly 1.5 years. During this time we received soft-funding to do some market research and test our ideas.
In May 2018, we had created our first basic version of the software. We started an IT company called MMR Solutions AB which we would use to release our software. It was a bit premature to start a company at that stage in hindsight, but it helped us all commit further to the team, and continue developing our first “alpha” version of StudyGuide.
I remember when our company registration was approved. I felt a level of excitement I hadn’t felt in years. It was truly the start of something that could change my life entirely with the teachings ahead.
But the software was far from ready, and as soon as we registered our company, we ended up doing a big pivot with our vision of StudyGuide. At first we made a handbook for good study-skills, and depending on what the student told the software he/she was studying, the software would give the student a set of instructions on good ways to study for their particular goal.
The software was good, but far from good enough. It wasn’t engaging, nor fun. And for our target group at the time (12 - 16 year olds) it had to be. So we went for a more interactive approach. An approach where students would actually not get the instructions on “how” to study, but be given the study activities themselves in StudyGuide. StudyGuide went from being a study-skills-handbook, to a place where students would bring and perform their studies - and get automatically improved study skills for doing it.
And so, the new and improved “StudyGuide” was born.
The Runway Begins
In February 2019 we got accepted to a one-year pre-incubation program at the Innovation Center of The Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. The pre-incubation program gave us access to business coaches, legal advice, a shared office-space and weekly seminars/workshops which were engineered to help us succeed in whichever business-phase we found ourselves in. The pre-incubation program would finish in March 2020, with one private and then one public presentation for potential investors who would be interested in the product.
The summer of 2019, Marcus and I finished our Bachelor’s Degrees and started working full time on our startup (finally!). But since we weren’t students any longer, we needed salaries. I could manage to work full-time without a salary for 3 months so I did. We made massive progress on the “StudyGuide” application, and we were close to our first MVP (Minimal Viable Product) that we agreed would be the version which would be available to the public.
After the summer, I jumped on a consulting gig as a developer for hire, a gig which I had scouted out before the summer of 2019 even began. I knew that some day I would be in need of something that would help my economy go around, and that day had come. I worked as a Frontend Developer for 20 h / week on a project for Enigio Time AB and billed them through my company, MMR Solutions AB. I did that between August and November 2019. The rest of the time I had, I naturally spent developing “StudyGuide”.
The Last Mile
During September (2019) and November (2019) we released two MVP versions of our new and improved “StudyGuide” for public testing, and we will have another MVP version released in February 2020.
Today, StudyGuide has 200 registered users which is far from enough to determine whether or not the product is viable for the targeted market. By October 2020, our final go-to-market product will be ready, and we will do everything we can to ensure that the value we give is truly appreciated by students all around the world.
Since today is 21th of December 2019, I am unable to tell you exactly what happens next. But what I can tell you is that I’ve learnt a lot on my journey, and I’ve realized a lot of things about the world of business and I intend to share every piece of valuable knowledge I come across to all entrepreneurs out there, reading this.
Because in the end, one of the best ways of teaching yourself something, is teaching it to others.