Building a business in just fifty four hours is no mean feat, and to come out the overall winners is the icing on the cake. We caught up with Startup Weekend Nottingham winners (and now Heart Internet customers!) Eduhop to find out more about their project, the Startup experience, and their top tips on turning ideas into reality.
First of all, congratulations again for winning Nottingham’s Startup Weekend this year! Can you give us a bit of background to yourselves and Eduhop for the uninitiated?
EduHop is an easy to use flashcards app for students to revise whenever you have a moment, focusing on revising notes intelligently over time for long term knowledge retention, collaborative note creation and revision, premium quality pre-made flashcards, and high accessibility with low effort! This all leads to one thing: Maximum results, minimum effort.
So we’re a group of 4 guys, 3 of us are university students, and all of us are developers with a range of experience levels, meaning we like to program and design. But it wasn’t the knowledge base that brought us together, but rather the combined passion to build an innovative product to solve a problem that we ourselves are facing. We wanted to build something elegant in its design, simple in its usage, and above all effective for its purpose. It had to provide the maximum results for students, with the minimum possible effort.
The idea was conceptualized and pitched by our personal genius, George Abrahams, and was very well received by the crowd. The rest of the team intuitively knew that Eduhop was a venture they wanted to be a part of. We worked on the idea over the weekend, with the coding mastermind Mathieu Dutour implementing the iOS prototype, the charismatic Kumbi Tanekha strategizing the business plan, and the epic Vinay Karode producing the UI with the utmost care.
Startup Weekend is a pretty unique way of starting a business. What made you decide to go to the event, and why did it work for you?
It is, isn’t it? Each one of us ended up at the event for different reasons, but at the heart of it all, we like to think the commonality was our zeal to work hard with like-minded, intelligent, talented people on a project we truly believed in. The Eduhop team formed naturally in a room filled with all types of people, and we were lucky enough to hit the right balance of knowledge, experience, critical thinking, commitment, and comradeship to succeed.
What were the biggest highlights of Startup Weekend?
There were so many! Of course we now have our team and app, and got first place and everything that came with that, but honestly, it was the incredible interesting people we met along the way and the huge learning experience that was the real takeaway. We loved the atmosphere, hearing other people’s ideas, and being a part of their birth and evolution. The great, altruistic input of the organizers and experts (entrepreneurs, copywriter, designer, startup mentors etc) can’t be understated – everyone is very grateful that they took the time and effort to share their experience to mould and streamline our creation.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to turn their idea into a business?
1) Be objective and honest with yourself: If something’s not going to work, face the problem, and work out a solution, if there is one.
2) Listen carefully and with an open mind to the advice you’re given, but don’t necessarily follow it if you don’t agree – go with your gut, at the end of the day, it’s your decision!
3) Potentially most importantly, focus on working well as a team, good teamwork leads to a wealth of ideas and feedback, and eventually an effective, successful product.
You decided that Eduhop would be best suited to an app. Why did you make that decision and what benefits does it have being an app?
Eduhop perfectly suits the form of an app, which is in fact fairly integral to many of our key features. The main benefit of an app is that it travels with you wherever you go, be that an elevator or a lecture. Spaced repetition is revision of small chunks over time to massively improve knowledge retention, and makes use of the ability to learn on the go. Note creation is also benefited, as students can jot down a flashcard whenever they learn something, making use of the camera and microphone. We also believe that being an app will encourage and facilitate collaboration on decks of flashcards.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced with Eduhop so far?
We have to admit, there were moments we thought the idea was going to fall through completely – it couldn’t make money, it wouldn’t garner support – but we worked through it, and after a lot of stress and concentration, we have an idea which still seems like it might just work!
In my opinion, our greatest challenge is the lack of free time we have to dedicate to the app alongside studies and work, especially at this point in the year. Admittedly, it is very tiring, but we don’t mind it! Nevertheless, the dedication the team is showing to get what we need done in such a short amount of time is absolutely outstanding.
Additionally we face the problem of physical location. As the complete team cannot be at the same place and same time very often, it causes communication problems. We’ve managed to successfully counteract this by utilizing modern technology like Slack (which is awesome by the way), Facebook, email, and phone.
What tips would you give to someone thinking about attending an event like Startup Weekend?
Just go for it! Even if you don’t find something good to work on, you will definitely acquire tonnes of expert knowledge and get to meet a lot of talented people. Also always go with an open mind to make the most of the weekend.
Given the time again, is there anything you would have done differently? Why?
The time we spent over the weekend was more than enough to validate our idea, develop a prototype for demonstration purposes, and give ourselves confidence to keep working on it even after the weekend.
As a group of 4 developers, we were very excited by the idea and the problem which we strongly feel it will help to solve, and focussed our efforts on that. However, I feel that we should’ve invested more time on the business side of things, such as producing a polished pitch at the end of the weekend, rather than rushing it at the last minute.
What’s the next step for Eduhop, and how do you see it developing in the future?
We’re now excited to be continuing development of the website and brand, as well as of course the app, which we hope to be releasing soon! Once the app is completed we will be looking for feedback from an exclusive group of students and lecturers, primarily from the Universities of Nottingham and Lincoln, in order to fine tune and make any necessary changes.
Further down the line we have all sorts of ideas of how to progress: Reliable premium content; institutional partnerships; integral and increased statistical and analytical capabilities; as well as a bunch of other super-secret plans which we’re sure people will love!