Student turned Technopreneur :: Part2

Building a successful business is always my dream.

This is a follow up post of Student turned Technopreneur :: Part1 which shared about what we’ve done and what mistake that we learnt from our first startup during our undergraduates.

Just Do It

I will continue to use Just Do It to share our entire journey as if we were not started our startup, there are nothing to share today.

Dropout?

During my undergraduates program, I always thought of dropping out because I believe that a certificate couldn’t bring me anything(Although it may increase my chances to get a better job and better pay). As I know that my dream is to be an entrepreneur, a certificate couldn’t bring me anywhere; but I do agree that the importance of knowledge and skills. Education is for knowledge but not certificate, its compliment. (Will not covered in this post, but I hope I can cover it in the next few post.)

Beginning of 2015, I came across this question again. To continue study and fight for graduate date OR dropout and focus on the startup I’ve found.

So? Drop or Not Drop? Let’s guess………

Nope, I chose a better alternative way — extend my semester so I can have more time to work on my startup and get my “Degree”.

Source: FindAPhoto

Quite often, we have to made many decision which there is no right or wrong. So, how to choose? I would calculate the opportunity risk, and I would consider which risk is worth for me to pursue?

Answer for me : Entrepreneurship is worth for me to pursue, what I will lost is the time and money that I’ve put in and I weight entrepreneurship as priority and very important to me.

:: So, Just Do It | Always find the alternative way ;there is no right or wrong for every decision making, only worth or not, you will always learnt something on your decision

Funding

We have few chances to pitch to investor and friends.

Yet, we are not well prepared. We have not understand the market, the revenue stream and we not even know what funding is all about. What we care is how to bring in money.

As I reflected and get more knowledge on funding, I just realise that we have to think from the investor’s shoe. What things will benefit them if they investing in you and your company? What value do you provide?

:: So, Just Do It | be well prepared ; always think from the investor’s shoe

Partnership/Merging

In these competitive market, the more partnership you have, the better. Its better to make friends than enemies.

Source: FindAPhoto

The lesser enemy the better. So, in the midst of our 1 year startup journey, we have this opportunity to met a person who have an almost similar app which we could become competitor. With the help and link from our faculty’s professor (I would like to thank him so much that he connecting us) and we would like to make an alliance.

So, further talk of the alliance is scheduled. Yet, we have many concern. The most concern of mine is the culture of the company, I would afraid that what I believe for the company will shift (Part of the reason I started a company is because I wanted to built a team with culture that I believe).

With some discussion with one of my team member and value the pro and cons, we decided to turn it down. Yet, the person who we wanted to team called us back. Through the conversation, he solves my worries by getting to know more on what he values the most and I also met him personally the next day to talk further.

After I back from the personal talk, we’ve decided to dissolve the VCT team(I will cover how we dissolve in the “Dissolve” section)

So, we were back to the alliance discussion table. Yet, we didn’t go far. After our first meet up with the alliance, we decided not to join the alliance.

In our first meet up, we talk about what we wanted to do next, how to do it. Yet I felt insecure with a few reason:

  1. The solution(reward system part) might involve some MLM(Multi Level Marketing) formula which I personally will try to avoid to involve
  2. Transparency and accountability — We have to wait for his app’s source code(which I doesn’t know get from where, why have to wait which I didn’t ask) and funding have to wait/we have no funding yet. So, we have to start the development first while waiting(I were told to have investor which in the talk so have less worried on that when I met him personally)
  3. We have to build an entire new solution from the scratch using wordpress; its fast but I have to pickup a new thing, it takes some time. I used Laravel framework, and I do worried and hesitant to use wordpress due to some reasons. No bias :D

Disclaimer: On the alliance part, it’s purely from my personal view. It might have different view from any other party, contact me or talk to me personally ya. I love to hear from different perspective. :)

Anyway, he is a great guy and the alliance is great. We would like to thanks for all the opportunities that given by all parties. Just that the solution, the transparency and accountability issue that caused us insecure.

If times travel back, we would not make these decision without knowing the exact details and we would not changed our mind easily after each decision.

:: So, Just Do It | make friend than enemy; take consideration on culture company when do any merging; take consideration on values; take your time to think before committing to any relationship (alliance/partnership/merging/etc)

Dissolve

We dissolved our VCT team as we decided to join the alliance. Another reason to dissolve the team is because the technical team will not stay in the team after they graduate so we couldn’t bring them to the new team either.

During the dissolution, we dissolve peacefully as we were all agreed. We do have a written agreement on how to dissolve when we founded.

:: So, Just Do It | get the written agreement ready before start, so we could end well.

Pivot

After all these, we look for ways to continue our journey, we looked into delivery service around student’s hostel and yet we could not find any prominent idea.

  1. On demand delivery — might not work for student here
  2. Food and item delivery — we surrounded by amenities, student can easily get anything in walking distance

This is one of the idea that might(we assume)work if we pivot. But unfortunately, our cash is slowly burning out and we don’t think its a good idea for the market.

Such a coincident, my parents called me back to my hometown(Penang). So, I have another alternative way, by calculating the opportunities risk. I would have better hope and opportunity in Penang as the market is bigger and able reduce my overhead.

To make this decision — retreat away from Kampar (we founded here) is not easy. We might care to save our face since we are all out of it. Yet, we have to make a wise decision. 
Since then, we had retreating from Kampar and informed to all the remaining team members. Its saddening but we are glad that we made this far and learnt a lot in our first startup.

After that, we also did not find our VCT idea is workable or prominent for Penang market. Since then, we had to shut the service down.

:: So, Just Do It |you can always pivot when something is wrong; you might even pivot everyday to find the right solution; don’t care to save your face, care more about survival

The only way to do it, is to do it.

So after all the sharing, as student — get as many advise from those who are on the startup. They are kind to share. Get mentor to guide you if you can. All the best in your startup.

There’s lot more experience to share which I couldn’t cover all here. Connect with me personally.

Currently, we’re working on an education management platform that increase teacher’s efficiency, saves time and also saves money.

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Thank you once again! Happy New Year 2016!

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