Viktoriia Zinchuk, - Homewards
Viktoriia Zinchuk, - 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.
With inspiration from time spent in Asia, this project was born during my studies in Industrial Design at Lund University. This project has grown with the tools of the education to become a representation of me and my view on design, with emphasis on sustainability and democratic design.
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?
During the last three months we were actively researching the circular economy markets in Europe and worldwide. We learned a lot about various sustainable business models and customer solutions. Particularly inspirational were the projects Vigga (subscription for kids wear) and Hemmliss (second hand furniture). We also conducted few interviews with potential customers in order to learn more about their experiences, fears and expectations.
What has been hardest/most enjoyable?
As for me, the hardest part was to face numerous rejections of our project applications for mentorship, funding, business acceleration etc. We have learned from this experience that before going to business angels or investors you mast have much more than just an idea. Website, business plan, first sales - those are the things investors are looking for. However, I absolutely enjoyed the supportive and adventurous atmosphere of start-up ecosystem. Thanks to Venture Lab!
Did it go as expected? Will you continue working on your project in the future?
Not really. We consider only partial cooperation with Hemmlis and decided to focus on developing our own scope of specialization. However, as it turned out, it is much more productive to work together than compete. 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?
I think the most challenging and insightful lesson to learn was the understanding that idea is only 1% of success. Everything else is hard, routine, bloody and exhausting work. Years of daily hard work. I will try to always keep this simple spark of genius in mind.
Do you have any tips to other ”new” entrepreneurs?
Work harder. Keep it simple. Read the “The Mom Test” book.