Sebastian Höfinger - myPaper
Sebastian Höfinger - myPaper
Describe yourself and your project. How did you get the idea?
I came up with the idea for myPaper after I wrote my Bachelor’s Thesis. Basically, myPaper is a service where readers of (online) papers and magazines create an account and can then purchase single articles, time or article contingent access passes when they hit a medium’s paywall directly on the site without having to sign up at the paper (or they can easily add subscriptions to their myPaper account, without signing up, too).
Who are you? Previous education/jobs/ experiences etc.
I studied international business administration and worked as a journalist besides my studies for around five years. I think the media industry is not only the most interesting one to do business in in the 21st century but also that journalism is an incredibly important good for a democratic society; hence, it is important to create means for publishers to charge for their products easily but also to empower users to pay for them easily.
What will you do during these three months? How will you spend the time?
I will work on finding co-founder(s) and form a team, do market research with publishers, and think about product development. Furthermore, I will try to network as much as possible, come to a MVP and – hopefully – even already look for a little startup financing in the end. Eventually, I want to be able to say ‘that’s it, we’re gonna start this up for real’ at the end of the summer or fall at the latest.
What do you expect to achieve during Leapfrogs?
To get to a prototype, find co-founders and build up at least the core-team as well as convince the first B2B customers that this is something ‘they would want when it’s finished’ and eventually to set the foundations for founding an aspiring company towards the end of the summer or fall. Also, it would be great to acquire some financing in the near future; that would be an awesome success to achieve!
Sebastian Höfinger - myPaper #2
Tell us what you have done on your project so far during the Leapfrogs time.
I have done additional face-to-face customer research with Sydsvenskan and Jyllands-Posten, and have been arranging appointments with other media. I have also been attending diverse meetings with potential co-founders and developers, various events for example in Rocket Labs Copenhagen to pitch the idea and get feedback, networking to find co-founders, business partners and potential investors and the landing page has been finished (goes online when this blogpost is scheduled). I am also looking into accelerator programs for the future, funding options and the legal issues of founding a company.
Has everything gone according to the plan? Has anything unexpected occurred? Has something been easier/harder than expected?
As of now, everything is actually going according to plan. I anticipated the co-founder and team member search to be this lengthy and cumbersome but luckily I found a good partner in IDEON who helps me to get in contact with interesting people. It turned out networking is really everything as almost everybody knows someone who can be of help in any way (or who at least knows someone who could be interested, again). Apart from that, nothing really unexpected has occurred.
What will you focus on during the remaining time? Will you follow your original plan or has anything changed along the way?
The focus is more or less the same: build up the team and get co-founders who share the vision and where the chemistry between all team members fits, conduct further customer research on the B2B and B2C side to get closer to a product-market-fit and a MVP and plan the future for the fall/after the program accordingly (cf. accelerator program, founding of a company etc.).
Sebastian Höfinger - myPaper #3
How did you experience the three months?
Mixed I would say. I had some meetings with one or the other newspaper and certainly did a lot of recruiting and talks with potential co-founders and team members but especially in July and early August business was rather slow. So it was a good time to think about the project or work on the website but certainly not for sales, customer research meetings or for finding a lot of people to do something together. Still, it was a good summer and all in all a good time but I am looking forward to the fall when things start to pick up again!
What has been hardest/most enjoyable?
The hardest for me was definitely to motivate myself during a time where both Ideon and MINC in Malmö were totally empty because everyone was on vacation. Still, it was a good time for contemplation, thinking about the inner bits of the project and planning. The most enjoyable part was actually the headhunting for co-founders: it is an interesting process and you can learn a lot from trying to recruit people. The meetings with Jyllands-Posten and Sydsvenskan where I presented the myPaper demo mock-up were also delightful.
Did it go as expected? Will you continue working on your project in the future?
It went slower than expected and the teambuilding phase is definitely even some bits harder than anticipated but myPaper will continue to be developed and hopefully molded into a cool product!
What would you say is the most important lesson learnt while working on your project?
I learned a lot by talking to a lot of different people, organizing the Leapfrogger’s Forum every second Thursday and by talking to my potential business customers (i.e. newspapers). I also learned – or to say it in a better way got confirmation again – that working in a team and having a sparring partner to share ideas, thoughts and experiences with is crucial for any kind of project. Doing even a singular task like developing a website along makes it exponentially harder: to have someone else to be the second pair of eyes makes it exponentially easier.
Do you have any tips to other ”new” entrepreneurs?
One tip that I think is very crucial is to consider time. It is very important to understand that things almost always take three to four times longer than anticipated. I believe that especially when you’re young and energetic, you underestimate the amount of time that is necessary to complete a certain task. Important contacts reply later than anticipated, there is some problem with the website design etc… Just schedule three times more time for anything, just to be on the safe side.