Ilona Polishko - Homewards
Ilona Polishko - Homewards #1
Describe the idea:
Our goal is to create sustainable, environment-friendly and innovative infrastructure that simplifies the process of talent mobility. Homewards is a circular subscription web service, based on the principles of sharing economy. Homewards offers access to various products through a rental system. The users can rent different products for the entire period of their stay in a country/city or for special occasions. The target audience of the service are exchange students, guest researchers, international experts etc.
Who are you? Previous education/jobs/ experiences etc.
I have graduated this June from Lund University and my major is in Consumption, Innovation and Brands. My previous working experience is related to Marketing and I am genuinely interested in this filed. I have worked for Samsung Electronics and Phillip Morris, where my main responsibilities were related to market research, reporting and cooperation with partners. I also had international internships in Czech Republic and Bulgaria. My main goals are self-development and constant learning.
What will you do during these three months? How will you spend the time?
During the next three month our team will brainstorm, gather data and analyse it. We need to finalize the idea and create the first prototype of our minimum viable product. Afterwards, we will start to communicate with our target audience. Also, we will try to gather the feedback of other members of VentureLub community in order to evolutionize our idea, make it concrete, simple and attractive.
What do you expect to achieve during Leapfrogs?
Our team has 3 major goals to achieve during the coming months:
- To complete a user research: learn the experiences, expectations and preferences of our customers. Identify KPIs of the project;
- To obtain fundamental knowledge of different business models, fundraising, budgeting and planning.
- To learn the art of sales pitching, to access a valuable business network in Sweden and Europe, establish the first contracts with product providers; start the development of the software.
Tell us what you have done on your projects so far during the Leapfrogs time:
We have already created a mock-up site with the goal to launch it and test the real interest of potential users. The next task to solve is to find the cheapest way to advertise it and reach our target audience. Also, we had established contact with Hemmlis and discussed plans for future cooperation and mutual support. To start with, we are going to exchange research results and insights. Among other plans is to take part in the 6th International Degrowth Conference to widen our network and promote the idea.
Has everything gone according to the plan? Has anything unexpected occurred? Has something been easier/harder than expected?
No. One of our main goals for the summer was to launch a survey. The questionnaire is ready, however still not launched due to different reasons, such as negotiating the platform and aligning the action plan with our third member, Johan Jansson. Discussion with Hemmlis gave us a lot of useful information and helped to transform the scope of our project to avoid the difficulties and problems they have gone through. A lot of aspects which we considered as success drivers turned out to be non-working on the example of Hemmlis.
What will you focus on during the remaining time? Will you follow your original plan or has anything changed along the way?
We will focus on launching the mock-up site and analyze the results, A/B testing also considered as an option to define the best design and product range. We are going to make a qualitative research (interviews or and focus groups after) to finalize the first concept of our project and cover those pain points of our target audience which are still neglected. A meeting with Hemmlis’ board is scheduled to align our actions and discuss possible collaboration and mutual support.
How did you experience the three months?
It was a very interesting summer! Regardless of our results, we enjoyed the role of entrepreneurs and the opportunity to test our business idea. We learned a lot during this three month and the newly gained skills and knowledge definitely will be useful in business life.
What has been hardest/most enjoyable?
As everyone knows, summer is a dead season in Sweden. Everything that we planned to do, and it involved any kind of communication, was done with a delay. Sometimes it was hard to focus on work because of different summer time distractions. From the enjoyable part, it was nice to be in the office, discuss with other difficulties and ideas. We truly liked the company of smart and energetic student entrepreneurs.
Did it go as expected? Will you continue working on your project in the future?
Not really. We considered only partial cooperation with Hemmlis and concentrated on developing our own scope of specialization. However, as it turned out, it is much more productive to work together and have a shared focus. We would not continue work on our project as we initially envisioned it but definitely will work on the spreading of circular economy and sustainability ideas.
What would you say is the most important lesson learnt while working on your project?
In our case it may be the value of market research, also the understanding that everything takes around five times more time and energy than planned.
Do you have any tips to other ”new” entrepreneurs?
We would like to advice to search for people who believe in the same ideas and has similar values to work with them closely. And have people who can challenge your idea, it is often good to check how strong your arguments, your approach and action plan. But don’t mix them up with simply negative people!