Melinda Mai Dinh - FavrHero
Melinda Mai Dinh - FavrHero
Describe yourself and your project. How did you get the idea?
After graduating from my second bachelor degree in Strategic Management from Lunds University, my close friend left to study in San Francisco for three months. I wanted to surprise him on his birthday by preparing a scavenger hunt. With no contacts in San Francisco, I had difficulties finding companies or people that would go the extra mile to help me. I needed personal help with hiding clues and pay restaurants. So I founded FavrHero.
Who are you? Previous education/jobs/ experiences etc.
I have double bachelor degrees in Computer Science and Strategic Management. When studying Computer Science, my lecturer would often tell me the importance of understanding the languages of both tech and business. So I decided to take classes in business. I was 15 when I started my first business, importing electric-bicycles from China to Sweden. From there, I’ve started a beauty salon from scratch and worked there as a manager while studying.
What will you do during these three months? How will you spend the time?
FavrHero got a good start when we won Internet Discovery Day in Malmö. From there, these three months will go primarily to studies of customer behaviour. By creating focus groups, I will be able to collect early user data. Most of the time this summer will be spent on researching the market, recruiting heroes, designing and developing a MVP.
What do you expect to achieve during Leapfrogs?
During these three months, I hope to have a group of heroes and heroines actively granting Favrs for each other. By the end of Leapfrogs, the Beta-testers should be able to use the FavrHero platform to post and grant Favrs.
Melinda Mai Dinh - FavrHero #2
Tell us what you have done on your project so far during the Leapfrogs time.
As it is well known that in the world of Start-ups that a lot of changes may occur over a short period of time. Gamification has been applied to the FavrHero platform. Instead of just completing Favrs for money, users can also unlock different Hero Tokens depending on what Favrs they have completed, and where it was completed. Most of the time this summer has gone to redesigning the graphic profile, logo and concept of the service.
Has everything gone according to the plan? Has anything unexpected occurred? Has something been easier/harder than expected?
When you meet a lot of people you are bound to hear a lot of different opinions on your platform. Which is great, but you can’t always let it get to your head, because then you’ll have a product that is chaos. We have had a lot of feedback and tried to make changes accordingly to what FavrHero stands for. This is when the chaos happened. We lost track of what we were doing, and lost focus of our vision. Remembering the vision is critical when the team grows.
What will you focus on during the remaining time? Will you follow your original plan or has anything changed along the way?
With a new graphic profile and added features like gamification, the platform is undergoing a complete redesign as well. Our main focus for the remaining time of this period is to test the new features of gamification and long distance favors with our focus groups in Malmö and Stockholm. Another goal is to as finish the beta version so they can move over to use the FavrHero platform. The plan is to research, release to our testers, get feedback and iterate before we release the beta version in autumn 2015.
Melinda Mai Dinh - FavrHero #3
How did you experience the three months?
The time that the leapfrogs project gave me to work on my project full-time is a thing that really kicked off my startup. It allowed me to let go of everything else and fully focus on what was important at that time. I don’t know where the startup would be today if I didn’t join this project, it probably would be just an idea still. I have been taking this time to test out different ideas and play around with the design.
What has been hardest/most enjoyable?
When coordinating tasks that need to be done, it is very difficult to make others be done when you want it to be done. There will almost always be some delays and problems that occur. However, since I started pursuing my business idea, I’ve come in contact with some great people, won a few prizes and got great opportunities for future businesses. It’s like a whole new world you didn’t know existed opening up for you.
Did it go as expected? Will you continue working on your project in the future?
FavrHero is a project that will continue to help people in need of favors long distance. Even though the release of the platform is not released yet, we got a good focus group that is testing the concept of long distance tasks. Leapfrogs gave me the leap I needed to start my own business and I will seize the opportunity to the fullest by continuing.
What would you say is the most important lesson learnt while working on your project?
In a startup there is always some uncertainty with everything you do. When venturing into the startup world for the first time, one needs to know that you won’t be financial stable or skyrocket into a successful corporation overnight. Another element of a successful startup is to work with the right people. This has been stressed on a lot and I will continue to stretch on it because it really is that important. The wrong co-founder can bring down your entire business.
Do you have any tips to other ”new” entrepreneurs?
Don’t overthink things, sometimes its better to just roll with the flow and something good is bound to happen. When you overthink and listen to other people, you will wander away from your mission and feel lost. Listen to critique and advise from others, but always listen to yourself first. It is your startup and ultimately you have to live with it, hopefully for a longer period.