Mix & Match — The journey from insight to implementation

This is the story about six university students taking their very first steps on brainstorming and startup initiative.The narrative I am subjoining is about how we started from total zero, the steps we followed, the obstacles we had to deal with and how we finally managed to carry our startup initiative out.

Certainly, just like any other startup company, we also started from scratch. The whole impulse came as part of the Ad Discovery Workshop, an experimental peer-to-peer learning hands-on workshop conducted by Betty Tsakarestou, Assistant Professor at the Department of Communication Media and Culture, of Panteion Univeristy, Athens, Greece.Then we were called to fraternise with our co-students and team up with the ones that we would share common interests and common goals . And this is how our team was composed! Of course, it was not supposed to be a team among friends, on the contrary. So, this was the first challenge that we were called to confront; each one of us had to cooperate with individuals carrying different ( and unique as it turned out) ideas as long as educational background too . Namely, two of the team members , Lydia and Stavros were erasmus students originated from Cyprus while the rest of us - Xenia, Danai, Katerina and I - are co-students from Greece.

What followed next was our first meeting as a team. Then, we had the chance to get to know each other, exchange ideas and eventually respond to our very first mission which was to come up with our own startup idea.

Our first picture as a team

This is when Mix & Match occurred. Mix & Match would be an event planning company that would organise and host customised events. The name of our company has a twofold interpretation; on the one hand it would represent our team that is innately different and on the other hand, we wanted it to represent the character of our company.

Our envision was an event planning company that would be innovative on the area as long as it would give anyone the opportunity to organise tailor made events according to their expectations and desires based on a specialised platform. In addition, we came up with the idea of an animal awareness campaign that would be hosted on terms of Mix & Match company. Specifically, we wished to host an event that would aim in raising awareness about rhinos’ poaching. So, in cooperation with Danai, we worked on building the website that would host and promote the campaign. Unfortunately, later on, we realised that this kind of a goal would not be achievable or realistic, at least in a country such as Greece. So, the idea was rejected. However, we decided to upgrade our initial vision and build an application that would function as a platform on which the event would be set.

As anticipated, these ideas did not just come up! They were the outcome of hours of discussion, comparison of ideas and prospects. In order to insure the orderly functioning of the team we were also asked to declare a coordinator ( our co-ordinator Danai Kontitsi). On the weeks followed, we would arrange meetings in order to proceed with our idea, to give it a boost and make it even better. Every meeting was a step closer to our final goal.

One of our first meetings

As we were proceeding with our startup idea , we found very useful the tools that OpenIdeo would provide for startup initiatives. These tools were our guides that would lead the path for us to put our goals more clear and in a more realistic manner. Using the “user experience map” as a template, we created an experience map for our own potential customers. After the map was completed, we were asked to evaluate it and adjust it to the new requirements that came up. OpenIdeo would also provide as the tools for this step. In addition to this, every week we would present our progress before our co-students and we would gather constructive feedback.

This is us with our complete user experience map.

During the evaluation process we had to deal with plenty of obstacles. We realised that some aspects of our progression had to be set aside otherwise our application would be defective. Meanwhile, we had to assign tasks among us so that our application would be carried through effectively. Personally, I undertook the research for our company , as long as I am familiar with technology and social networking. The point of the research was for us to be aware of the competition, gather ideas from the field of event planning and get in contact with potential clients in order to take some useful interviews. Meanwhile, I was also in charge of handling with our social platforms. On this part of assigning tasks we made sure that each one of the team members would take on a task that would fit them better and would pleasantly accomplish.

Having undertaken different tasks (art director work from Danai, marketing and advertising from Lydia, public relations from Katerina, writing and editing from Xenia and CEO and sales management from Stavros) we managed to cover every single aspect of our goal and make it real by connecting the pieces of the puzzle.

When it was time for the final presentation , we would be able to present before the Ad Discovery Workshop all the work we had managed to actualise so far. We finally had a story to tell! It was an event-planning application that would give its users the opportunity to customise their very own event just the way they envisage it! As long as our application was ready, what we had to do was spread the word and make it public through the social media and the internet. We promoted our work via our website, Facebook page, Twitter and Slideshare so that our work can be open to public.

(You can check out our final project bellow)

Eventually, after six months of brainstorming, constructive work and cooperation, we were able to see our initial vision coming real and concrete. I have to admit that the joy of the satisfaction we obtained was indescribable! Though, it was not only the pleasure that we would obtain but mainly the experience. We started working on this project without any previous experience on startup initiatives and despite this, we managed to carry out a professional result. It was not easy and it shouldn’t be, otherwise we wouldn’t have been committed to our work.

So, in conclusion, I would like to make a statement based on my very own experience ; the reason we succeeded to make our vision real, was not the high grade of willing which every single member of the team had! On the contrary, our success was a combination of three basic reasons;

  1. the fact that our goal was clear from the very beginning
  2. all the members of the team were sharing common goals and
  3. the fact that we were patient, we had strategy and we did nothing in a rush.

Meet the rest of the team and read about Mix & Match journey from their perspective!

Xenia Ntavranoglou, Katerina Tsigarida, Danai Kontitsi, Stavros Poyiadjis, Lydia Chrysanthou

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