I’m very excited to announce that my team, FlowsBy, was selected to receive the 25,000 euro funding from TechPeaks! We are tackling the problem of how to keep shoppers on your ecommerce site longer. My teammates include:
Riccardo Osti is from Rome, and has founded 2 Italian startups before, Naroomi and Startify.it. He is skilled in sales, business development, and cooking awesome food.
Alessandro Marchesini is originally from Verona area, but spent the past 13 years traveling and working outside of Italy. He’s adept at sales and marketing, specializing in international markets. He also loves squirrels.
Giovanni Gaglione is our star programmer from Rome. His expertise lay in Big Data, Sentiment Analysis, and not hearing the alarm clock ring.
If you’re wondering how the TechPeaks program works, let me explain for some background. Techpeaks is different from most accelerators because it’s a “people accelerator”. 68 of us were chosen from 40 different countries to travel to Italy and build companies. Most of us came as individuals. Once we arrived in Trento, we spent the first month mixing and mingling. We got to know each other, formed teams, broke teams, and came up with ideas of what to build. Once you have a team in place of 3-5 people, you can pitch to a panel of VCs and entrepreneurs who help Techpeaks select which teams get the grant. If you receive the 25,000 euro no equity grant, you can use it to build your company over the next 6 months.
So how did I get wrapped up with these three Italians? Well, you have to remember that Riccardo and Alessandro are excellent sales men – excellent. Picture this – it’s about 98 degrees in Trento. There is no air conditioning anywhere. When I walked out the door in the morning, I thought I was going to turn into a puddle right there on the street. After about 12 hours of dying in the heat, Ale asked if I wanted to escape the heat for dinner. HELLS YES I DO. So the three of them picked me up and whisked me away to Andalo, where it was a beautiful 70 degrees. We ate great food, chatted, and cooled down. They told me how they invalidated 3 of their previous ideas the day before by scheduling interviews and learning that their problems didn’t exist – the Lean in me was intrigued.
Then they told me about the ecommerce idea they had been thinking about. I was sold. I could see that this was a problem from my experience at OpenSky, and I thought it had great potential and presented an interesting UX challenge. We agreed to team up and flush out the idea more.
Over the next week, we called 25 different ecommerce sites and validated the problem existed. They were itching for a solution, and most wanted to sign up for Beta right there and then. We didn’t pitch at the next Pitch Day because we wanted to start crafting our MVP first. So we did more validation and set up our test. Two weeks later we pitched for the 25K and received it on our first attempt. The judges said out of the 9 teams they had funded so far, we had the highest score.
I’m very excited to work with these guys, and am proud of how much we’ve accomplished over this short three weeks together. Within the next few days, we’ll be launching our MVP on a few websites to test our concepts and validate it. We’re committed to using lean methodologies to excel our business as fast as possible. If you’re interested in what we’re doing, I’m happy to chat and I can’t wait to post more information as our product evolves.