How I developed my Start-Up during my studies ?

Lucas GEBHARDT
Dec 17, 2018 · 4 min read

Allow me to set the scene : I just turned 19, I’m in my second year of a bachelor’s degree at the IAE Lyon…and I have a unicorn to develop!

January 2017
I have just received a sum of money and I have to spend it wisely to launch a V1 of www.handivoyage.net as soon as possible, without using it all up this time. At the time, the idea was to release an AirBnB Like dedicated to people with disabilities, offering solely private accommodation. I found a brilliant service provider specialized in the market place: LETSCO. The work begins, and my website will be ready in April, we’re on the right track. Meanwhile, after a tough selection process, I am offered the opportunity to join the Ronalpia social incubator. The latter will then help me a lot to move from the ideation phase to the action phase, as well as setting up an offer adapted to the demand.
As Handivoyage develops, my appearances at university are increasingly rare.

April 2017

The V1 of Handivoyage has finally launched, the adventure can finally begin! Well, sort of: I have a store that is “half-empty, with only 100 offers, not enough! We, being my mentor and I, decide it would be better if I don’t immediately start communicating with potential clients, and to instead give ourselves a month to add more accommodation options to the Handivoyage website. At the end of April, we had nearly 300 homes on Handivoyage: Mission accomplished. We can now launch the V1 globally. We publish our first presentation video, which you can find here (thanks Lucas DOITRAND and Lou Cannet).
As luck would have it, when our platform is launched, I win the 2017 LIONS OF TOMORROW prize, organized by the MEDEF Lyon-Rhône. I am even lucky enough to meet Gérard COLLOMB, the Mayor of Lyon. A huge spotlight! On the day of the release of www.handivoyage.net, there were more than 1,000 unique visitors who checked it out: a success.

May to August 2017

The Handivoyage team has grown with the addition of 3 trainees and we are now 4 in the Handivoyage team, including a brilliant MOREUX Solene. Sales are going well and we’re starting to earn our first thousand euros… and I have to say that it’s pretty fun! In addition, traffic on the site is gradually increasing. It goes from 30 to 50 unique visitors per day… which isnt’ bad, it’s nothing to write home about. So, we decide to use the best/worst means available to increase the numbers: GOOGLE AD-WORDS… Accounting is excellent, ethically it’s… doubtful. But the result is there, and we are therefore ending our first summer with a turnover of €32,000… and a first positive operating result.
Some more good news: I passed my second year at IAE LYON!

September 2017

Last year of bachelor’s degree. I decide to stack all the odds in my favour… by asking for a total exemption of attendance. This year: I will only sit the exams, no more pretending. In the meantime, we have requested funding from BPI France: The French’Tech Exchange. Fortunately, Handivoyage is still considered to be an innovative company and they financed 20 000€ of R&D (Isn’t France the best country for start-ups?) !

October to December 2017

Completely alone. That is what comes to mind when I think of the end of 2017 and the first meetings I had to raise funds for the first time. However, the results are there: Alone, I allow 70 families to go on holiday and I make 32K€ of turnover. We therefore need money to build a team and duplicate the model quickly: Simple as pie. But no one believes it. So, what is the problem? Silly me, of course I am still the problem : Too young, no team, student, no technical skills.
At the end of December, I therefore decided to turn to those who trust me: my friends, my family, and the Business Angels of Beaujolais (yes, we don’t just drink).
But nothing has been done yet… and I haven’t achieved the goals I had set myself for 2017, as I still haven’t raised any funds. My only option is to go into 2018 ready to fight: We will raise funds and become the world’s leading social unicorn start-up.

>> Find out more in the next episode ! 😍

>> Discover our Handivoyage platform here.
>> Find me on Instagram by clicking here.

Lucas GEBHARDT

Written by

CEO and founder of mobee travel / www.mobeetravel.com, a holiday booking platform for reduced mobility people / Instagram: Iamgebh

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