ICT Hub helped us to better connect with the startup community, founders, lecturers and great mentors
SEEZER is a local startup voted the best startup oriented towards a global market in the IT sector, in June 2016, at the first “SYMORG StartUp day 2016″. This gave them the opportunity to be a part of the largest European development center in Berlin “Rainmaking Loft“.
They participated as lecturers at the Youth Business Forum last year in December, and at the ”Belgrade Venture Forum” conference.
They are also part of the ICT Hub’s Generation 3 program. Their idea is now an existing product − an app that you can try out for yourself at this link.
We will now let you hear from them how their idea evolved and what are their experiences so far.
Explain to us what your app is based on and who should be the first to try it.
SEEZER is a mobile app that originated with the development of an offline tool − SEEZER: Insta Story Maker. The app is based on a principle of a perfect tool for creating an Instagram story that at the same time, serves as an introduction (Teaser of SEEZER) in the process of developing a social network, which is something we’ve also been working on for some time now.
In this way, we are building SEEZER community, and upon the release of SEEZER network, members of the community will be the first official users of the platform, already connected and familiar with the app. The goal of every SEEZ (which is how this content is called among the users) is to provide action and reaction.
Currently, SEEZER allows users to see both sides of the story and create SEEZes using both front and back camera (simultaneously or one at a time). Since it’s possible to combine photos (and soon videos) within the SEEZER frame and to directly pin stickers offered by the app, SEEZER represents an ideal tool for creating a story for Instagram, Messenger, Facebook or Snapchat.
Who is the ˮmain culpritˮ for this idea?
Considering that Walt Disney came up with the idea for Mickey Mouse while traveling by train to Hollywood, I wouldn’t knock down informal conversations with the right people as a way of coming up with good ideas.
The idea came about very spontaneously, in the middle of a conversation, over a cup of coffee with my best friend, Nikola Vulić, also a founder of SEEZER. We touched upon the topic of apps and IT in general, and we realized that we’ve never heard of an app that functions as a standardized tool for the simultaneous use of both cameras (front and back phone cameras). The idea had long since reached a pivot and is evolving in accordance with a strategic development plan. However, the inspiration first came from the possibility of a simultaneous video recording, the concept of action and reaction.
As Linus Pauling says, ’The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas’.
How long have you been developing your project and what stage are you in now?
We have been working on the project for over a year and a half now. For the last few months we’ve been working on improving the SEEZER tool and we’ve come a long way in our plans for the SEEZER network. We are in constant contact with our users, in order to get the best possible feedback, and with our mentors and investors who are open for collaboration and giving advice.
Has the program in ICT Hub helped you and in what way?
Just as the goal of any university, apart from providing education, is to connect people with their colleagues for the purpose of collaboration and experience, being a part of a development center such as ICT Hub, helped us to connect even better with the startup community, founders, lecturers and great mentors. One of them is Kosta Andrić, who was always there for us, to listen and to advise us on our next step.
What would you change, what was the program lacking − feel free to criticize us as well.
Given that during this program, we had the opportunity to hear excellent lectures from ICT Hub’s guests and to pitch in front of the representatives of Tech Stars, I believe that it’s necessary to promote this program more among the young, entrepreneurial people so that they could enter and access the world of startups and the entire community in a more efficient way.
What type of problems did you encounter along the way and how did you solve them?
I believe that it’s clear to anybody who follows this blog that a startup is the right set of people working towards the development of a certain product or service in very uncertain conditions. That makes problems a normal occurrence.
One of the biggest problems for us was finding a full stack developer. It’s the same problem that 90% of today’s startups face, due to the fact that IT market is still far from being saturated, which means that today it’s easier than ever to find a job if you are a developer. The person who helped us solve this problem was Vukašin Stojkov, the head of StartIt center. A very good article about communication can be found at this link: http://bit.ly/2pkKvUP.
We had to go through our entire circle of friends and acquaintances to eventually find the right team. What is interesting is that we went right back to the beginning as far as contacts are concerned, because the team we met, curiously, worked in an IT company founded by our friend from elementary school. The interest was mutual and that’s how our MVP came to be. This is the place where we found our CTO, Aleksandar Stančić, who made the impossible possible.
Our second major obstacle was the pivot of the idea when we realized that simultaneous recording is only possible on certain phones. However, we are very grateful that the pivot happened, because it significantly changed the development and our vision for the better.
How do you see the support system that currently exists in Serbia for young entrepreneurs like yourself?
We’ve been interested in startups since we were 18 years old. We are very pleased with the direction this entire scene is taking. There are more and more events oriented towards teams with an initiative to start their own business. Hubs like Impact Hub, ICT Hub and StartIt, that we are in contact with, play significant roles.
Where we see room for improvement are the state regulations concerning registration and the system of financing of entrepreneurs. I had an opportunity to participate in a roundtable on the topic of planning financial support for Serbian startups, where I came to a conclusion that there are a lot of entrepreneurs out there, but unfortunately, they are largely uninformed about existing investment opportunities. This obviously means that more education is needed.
What is going to take for your startup and project you are working on to be on the same level as similar apps, which are very popular in the world?
Perseverance and quality. We want to offer users something significantly different from what the giants on the market are currently offering. The vision of the network we are working on aims to connect users in very creative ways. However, the main catalyst of every network is not the set of features it offers, but the community as a very important factor.
What are your experiences so far? How much do people like this idea and what sort of feedback are you getting?
We have divided the marketing plan in specific segments. According to current figures, we have a very high score on Google Play − 4.9, and very positive comments. Through social networks, we receive new SEEZes every day, which delights us each time and gives us that extra push.
The main feedback that we get from time to time concerns the option of simultaneous recording since it’s supported by certain device manufacturers, but judging by the users’ comments, we also know that the SEEZER’s moderate pivot has been very well accepted.
What are your plans for the future, what are some immediate steps, and what is the goal on the horizon?
Our plans for the future are improvement of SEEZER tool, and promotion through companies that have expressed great interest at the time we were still in Berlin. Our next steps are registration, the start of an investment round, for which we already have many offers, and making additions to our team.
Our overall and daily goal is certainly: to SEEZ the opportunity!
On behalf of the SEEZER team,
CEO & Founder Dimitrije Jelić
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