StartupYard Demo Day 2015, in Tweets and Pics

The Big Day

For the StartupYard team, this day has been 8 long months in the making. For StartupYard’s teams, in most cases, it’s been years of hard work.

Last night, before an audience of nearly 200 local investors, professionals, startupers, and members of the media, StartupYard’s 6 startups premiered to rave reviews.

Of course, our mentors were never without their opinions.

After 3 months of gruelling work with mentors, advisors and workshop runners, and 2 weeks of sheer panic and excitement as they formulated and rehearsed their pitches, our 6 startups exceeded our expectations for this Demo Day in every way.

The Startups

Here are a few shots of the teams warming up before the event:

The Community

Last night, we were reminded once again of what makes Demo Day so important.  Over 40 of our active mentors were present, and many commented on the incredible progress the startups had made in just 3 months. Mergim Cahani, of Gjirafa (a 2014 member of Startupyard), was in attendance with some exciting news of his own. We hope to share that with you soon on this blog.

The Event

Not only is Demo Day a chance for a great startup with a worthwhile idea to get noticed, and funded, both locally and internationally, but it is also the moment when our startups become “real.” The moment when they transform from something that few people have heard of our thought about, to something on the market and in the air, interesting, dangerous, even possibly inevitable.

Following opening remarks from our Director Cedric Maloux, Michael Jackson, of Mangrove Capital Partners, the VC fund, delivered an amazing keynote address, which aligned perfectly with our own mission:


Then it was time for our 6 startups to take the stage. They blew us away.

The Pitches

It’s a thrill to share that experience with our Startups, and to take a moment to see how far they’ve all come from those first meetings way back in January, when they pitched us the barest seeds of amazing ideas.

The conversation and discussion reached well into the night, with many of the guests staying to talk with startups until the small hours.

What’s Next

StartupYard can take a nap today. But it won’t last long. In addition to hosting Prague’s biggest ever open-data hackathon in just 2 weeks, we’ll be opening applications for StartupYard 2016, kicking off in January of next year, within the next week.


Meet the StartupYard 2015 Startups: Testomato, a watch dog for your website.

When Testomato joined our program, it was with the understanding that they would be hiring a CEO to lead their team. Over the past 3 months, as we’ve gotten to know the Testomato team, and their new CEO Marcel Valo, we’ve become even more excited about the potential of this idea, and confident in their ability to bring it to a larger audience.

Testomato actively monitors and tests websites for errors and other issues that may interfere with normal operation, letting the site owner know almost instantly when an issue occurs. Simple tests can be set up and run continuously, ensuring that mission critical sites and services never go down unexpectedly. Testomato aims to be the leading watchdog for websites- a must-have tool for any revenue generating site.

Hi guys, tell us a bit about Testomato. What does the service do? Who is it for?

Marcel Valo, Ceo of Testomato

Marcel: In short, it’s a monitoring service for websites. It tells you when your website has a problem that may interrupt service or access for your visitors. It does a lot more than just monitor websites of course, but this is the core functionality: making sure your website is up and running properly at all times.

Testomato is for people like myself. In my corporate career, I have been responsible for marketing communications and for company websites, and I always had lots of problems to solve with those websites. Google analytics codes missing, time-outs, meta-tags just disappearing— there’s always something potentially wrong. And it took a lot of time to even notice a problem, much less correct it. Now with Testomato, I would be able to set up a simple automatic test, and know about any problem that arises within five minutes. That’s incredibly valuable when you have a mission critical website to maintain.

Where did the idea for Testomato first come from? How did the company get started?

Jan "Honza" Prachar, Co-Founder of Testomato

Jan “Honza” Prachar, Co-Founder of Testomato

Honza: It was originally an idea from one of the founders- Michal Illich [StartupYard investor and founder of Wikidi]. We were struggling with setting up Selenium to test a few projects. We wanted something that would quickly and easily verify that a site, and all its components, were online and working.

It took a lot of time to configure and maintain, and many false alerts were reported. The time invested was really not worth the problems we experienced. But we still needed this kind of monitoring, so we came up with a simple solution for monitoring and supervising our other projects.

Marcel: My business partner Michal Illich wanted a very easy to use, but also complex and in-depth tool for monitoring his company projects. Testomato was the result of that. While it ran as a sort of side project for Illich and Wikidi for about a year, it became moderately popular among a group of web developers. While a lot of people had signed up and were using the service, Testomato still struggled to find a paying audience or a way to monetize properly. I was brought on board quite recently- only after Testomato joined StartupYard, and together we’ve been working on shifting our business model towards e-commerce, helping online retailers to make sure they aren’t losing business due to site outages and other problems.

Is this a competitive space already? What are some alternatives to using Testomato for website monitoring and testing?


Marcel: There are a number of alternatives on the market. But they’re all either too simple, making them useless for monitoring a high value site, or too complicated to use. Some of the existing solutons allow you to monitor and control whatever you want, but they’re so time consuming, that nobody buy an IT specialist or a developer would bother with them. We are developing a tool that many different stakeholders can use effectively, from marketing, to IT, to QA departments, to ensure that they aren’t missing major site failures.

You’ve made some significant changes to your business model since joining StartupYard, can you tell us more about your current direction?

The Testomato Team

Roman Ozana, Co-Founder of Testomato


Roman:  One of the realizations we’ve made is that business owners like to use Testomato as a quick and simple tool keep track of the work of their developers. There are so many things to potentially keep track of on a site, that it can be impossible to do it manually.

Marcel: Well, we’ve made a lot of changes, as I’ve mentioned. A lot of changes still lie ahead.

Our target group has shifted from developers, to people with online businesses, and e-commerce sites. Testomato could be used by a marketing head to track campaigns, for example, or by an IT department to alert them to failures in a high-value site, like an e-shop with hundreds of transactions an hour. When your business depends on your website being reliable, 24/7, and processing hundreds of transactions, a simple error can cost you thousands of euros.

A site like that can’t afford a lot of unscheduled downtime- nor can any high-traffic site or page that generates revenue. We had to shift our pricing accordingly, because this new target group has different needs and expectations. We find that this group needs more comprehensive testing on just a few sites, which means much more work on our end, coupled with a very straightforward and intuitive user interface.

What are some of the functionalities and services you plan to offer in the near future?

Marcel: Right now we are talking about locations. Because Testomato monitors, checks and tests your website from the outside, we can also play the role of a test user. How does a site work from a particular location? Is it fast enough? Is it properly localized or not? Do all the plugins work in all locations?


We currently have two regions – Europe and the USA, and as a customer you cannot pick-up one, we still do it automatically.  But this is something we plan to change. Many more sites and services now have to be location aware, and they have to function differently according to how users access them. Many site owners aren’t aware of how their services are functioning in different regions, and if they need to do more localization work. So that’s a key functionality we’d like to expand on.

Honza: Also we want to make design changes to help bigger customers configure their checks and projects more quickly. There is room for a lot of improvement, and we have a lot of feedback to work with. Making Testomato work well with a big website is a new challenge.

Tell us a bit about the Testomato team.

Marcel: We are a pretty happy team. We’re pretty quiet, compared to some of the other teams at StartupYard, but we’re happy too. Not many people right now – 2 developers, Roman and Honza, Monika, our product lead, and our lovely copywriter and social media specialist Elle. We have Irena, the link-builder, and me, the new CEO.

I should be leading the whole team, but because I’ve been with Testomato for just a few weeks, sometimes they are leading me. Thank you guys!

Honza: Marcel joined us a month ago and he is doing really great. He has already made several big decisions, so we could start implementing them and move fast. Many impasses were eliminated thanks to his experience.

I would say, and feedback from StartupYard and the mentors also confirmed this, that our team was not really ready to make the big decisions on our own. As developers, we just weren’t used to that kind of thinking, and we needed some help with direction. Since Marcel joined us, he has pushed us to move forward, and that’s really helped.

How do you plan to grow in the next year? What markets will you focus on in the near-term? 

Marcel: We want to be  a world-wide service, with strong added value for online businesses. For example, e-shops, banks or insurance companies could deploy Testomato on an ongoing basis, and save money consistently by spotting site failures as they occur.

But we’re also interested in web services and media agencies, because we can help them with many issues. If a web agency or media company knows about an issue before the client, that’s a good thing! Growth in total users might be slow for the near term, as we’re changing our focus, but we expect to grow our paying user-base substantially within the next year, and focusing on adding value for that group will help us get there.

Long term, what do you see as Testomato’s vision for the next 5 years?

Honza: We want to be even more active in searching for critical issues on a website. This means that Testomato won’t just test and monitor according to user requests, but also notify the user about possible security issues, problems with site ranking, even things like design and speed of loading for different locations and devices. There are a lot of points of failure for big websites, and they’re too many for any one person to monitor consistently. We want Testomato to be a much smarter and more engaging tool as well. Site testing can be boring, so it’s important that users see the value they’re being given.

Roman: Our ultimate goal is let you know about harmful issues on your website before customers even notice. We want to be a website watchdog, something like a security guard or a babysitter for your website.

Marcel: Testomato should start to be a synonym for monitoring and testing websites. It should be a “must-have,” like health insurance for the web. Something everybody knows about, and anybody who cares about their website will naturally use. That is my vision for the next 5 years.


Give Testomato a Try Today: Test Your Site in Seconds

Follow Testomato on Twitter at @Testomatocom

Meet the 2015 Startups: BudgetBakers, Stress Free Mobile Finance

BudgetBakers came to StartupYard with a unique problem. With a popular and highly rated app on the GooglePlay store, in many ways, they’d already won the “Game of Startups.” But like many startups, the growth hadn’t translated to profitability yet, and the popularity of their app, then called Wallet, hadn’t translated to the number of paying users they’d need to keep growing as a business.

Honza and Martin at StartupYard

BudgetBakers Co-Founders Honza and Martin at StartupYard

Beautifully designed and expertly constructed, the software immediately caught our attention. The team too, co-founders Jan Muller Martin Jiricka, were eager to take the next steps. Here’s Jan “Honza” Muller talking a bit about the BudgetBakers journey, before and during StartupYard:

Q: Hi Honza, tell us about BudgetBakers. Why did you choose to tackle the problem of personal finance and budgeting?


A: Well, it all started 5 years ago. I just wanted to learn how to develop for Android- at that time it was a really new platform.

Also, I wanted to make an application for my personal use, to track my finances. I called that original application Wallet. Through the years, the application has become more and more popular, and more complex. It’s coming soon to iOS and a web app, and is already on android (the Android app is still called Wallet for now).

As BudgetBakers has grown, I’ve changed as well. Since I founded BudgetBakers,  I’ve started a family myself and become a dad. I’ve come to really understand the need for smart daily money management. When I quit my job late last year to work on BudgetBakers full time, that only reinforced my need for solid money management. That’s quite a motivator to get BudgetBakers right!


Honza with his partner and daughter.

As an entrepreneur working for myself, knowing how much I have to spend, and how much I should spend on everything my family needs is really important- for me and for my partner. We need a smart way to make smart decisions as a family.

People are afraid to think about their budgets and the money they spend every day. But we find that once they get going, that sense of control and security is really addictive. It certainly is for me!

When we’re growing our families and our careers, we can come to let money concerns dominate our thinking. But we don’t think rationally or effectively about our money- we just worry about it uselessly and inefficiently. I’ve come to see what we do as a way of saving people from that trap.

So that’s how BudgetBakers grew into what it is today- more than an expense tracker, it’s your personal finance assistant. It thinks about every little penny, so you don’t have to.

Q: What makes BudgetBakers different from competitors like YouNeedABudget or Spendee? Why should people use BudgetBakers?

A: First of all, BudgetBakers is not just a mobile application.

We are constructing a fully integrated platform where people can learn how to get control of their personal finances, and gain peace of mind for today, and the future.

More than that, we want to go further than just helping people to track their individual expenses and manage their budgets.

Screenshot 2015-05-15 11.46.37

Managing money is an important family priority as well, and one that people have a hard time with, especially when they’re just starting their careers, and thinking about saving for a house, maybe a car, or that vacation over the summer.

You get your paycheck one day, and the next day it seems like everything disappeared. Where did it go? That can cause a lot of stress.

A lot of families aren’t on the same page when it comes to their finances- they don’t know how much they can reasonable expect to spend every month, much less how much to save for the long term.

So we’re not only perfecting personal finance via a fully integrated web-based, and mobile platform, but we’re also building in tools to encourage couples and families to begin cooperating to manage their money more effectively.

I don’t think you need to have a lot of money to be happy, but I do know that you need to have enough. That’s where BudgetBakers comes in- our platform helps people to understand what enough looks like. Are you sure you can afford that trip to the movies on Saturday? With BudgetBakers, you will be sure.

Q: A big hurdle for BudgetBakers so far has been gaining traction with users. What are the unique challenges you face in getting people to commit to your approach and platform?

A: We have 4.4 star rating on GooglePay, and we get about 1000 new users a day. We use the UserVoice platform to keep in touch with our users, and we’ve also recently hired a new team member to help with community management, blogging, and marketing.

That said, we’ve found from the beginning that our users need a lot of convincing to really start using BudgetBakers to the fullest. It seems like a big commitment, and it seems more complicated than it is. Part of the learning curve for us, especially at StartupYard, was to see how many opportunities we truly had to convince users to stick with the program, and we weren’t converting as many as we could have.

With the help of some awesome mentors and workshops, like Bogo Shopov on GrowthHacking, and Fiodor Tonti on UX/UI, we’ve had our eyes really opened to the opportunities we’ve been missing, and we’ve seen that we have a lot more room to grow and understand our users even more. That’s very exciting.

Right now, we are working on expanding our efforts in content marketing, and community building, to find new ways that BudgetBakers can reach out to its community and offer them tips, advice, and above all encouragement to make the right financial and spending decisions. There are a lot of people out there who need a little encouragement, and we want to be the ones to provide that.

Q: What do you think are the major blockers for most people when it comes to getting their finances under control? How can BudgetBakers fix that?

As I said, I think one of the biggest obstacles we have when it comes to getting people to take control of their finances is fear. People are afraid that once they open up their finances and take a look, they’ll be shocked at what they see. Sometimes they really are!
But we find that as people use BudgetBakers, they get comfortable, and they start to really enjoy the control they have over their spending. The stress in little spending decisions can start to go away, because they have a very good sense of what they should be doing with their money.

Maybe there’s a little extra in the restaurant budget this month. Great! Order a pizza, or take your girlfriend/boyfriend to a nice dinner somewhere. That’s a wonderful feeling, to know you aren’t cheating yourself when you do that. Control of your finances can make you feel virtuous and proud, and it makes you want to do better, and set better goals for yourself in the future, to hang on to that good feeling.

People have to “rewire” a little bit to make this transition, and that isn’t easy. They have to stop being so emotional about their money, and be a little more analytical- stop worrying and start thinking. BudgetBakers helps with that switch, but it can still take a big effort.

Q: Ease of use is also a major concern for any budgeting software. How are you planning to make BudgetBakers more intuitive and less work intensive?

A: We have a lot of plans on how to make our users more comfortable, and make the daily habit of budgeting and expense control simpler and more rewarding.

Screenshot 2015-05-15 11.46.12

Today we have a smart watch application which allows users to enter transactions even without taking their phones from their pockets. Also we have automatic bank statement parsing which works with a few Czech banks so far. We are working towards expanding that ability.

In the future, it’s important that we offer our users ways to integrate directly with their banks, making expense tracking practically automatic.

It’s a balance. With BudgetBakers, the value is in the peace of mind that it gives you about your finances- it reminds you to control your spending, and it keeps you honest about what you can afford, and what the best decisions for you really are. You need to engage with your budget on a daily basis, but you don’t want that to be too much work or too much stress.

There are ways that we would like to make things easier, and entering, sorting, and tracking transaction information automatically will play a big part in that.

Q: What’s your near-term strategy for growing BudgetBakers’ user-base, and how do you plan to keep new users as they join the platform?

A: Budgetbakers has already been downloaded over 800,000 times on the GooglePlay store. When we release our iOS version very soon, along with a substantial rebuild of the BudgetBakers platform, we look forward to adding a whole new group of users.

A lot of users is a great thing to brag about.

But as I said before, one of the things we really want to focus on is making budgeting and financial planning a daily routine for as many of our existing users as we can. We can still do a lot better in that area, and as new users discover the platform, they’ll also benefit from this work. If you do anything for 3 months, it can become a habit, and that 3 month metric is something we’ve been focusing on much more. Can we keep people engaged with their budgeting and financial planning for 3 months? If we can do that, the rewards to our users will extend to potentially their whole lives. We can do a lot of good with some very small, simple changes to the way they engage with BudgetBakers.

For example, a big takeaway from the StartupYard workshops, particularly with Fiodor Tonti and Bogo Shopov [ workshops on UX/UI and growthhacking], was that BudgetBakers needs to utilize the data we collect from our users, and make that part of our overall value proposition. People want to feel a part of a community, and be rewarded for meeting their financial and savings goals. Gamifying the platform and rewarding users with insights and advice is a big part of how we will improve our user retention, and help people to be more financially secure and independent.

Q: You’re based in the Czech Republic. What about the region represents a unique opportunity for BudgetBakers? What challenges does location present for the company?

A: BudgetBakers works anywhere- it works with any currency, and in about 25 languages so far. We have users all over the planet. Of course, because we’re based in Central Europe, this is where we are exploring our first corporate partnerships with banks, telecom providers, and others who can help us add more value for our daily users.

We have a large userbase in the Czech Republic, and that’s partly because of good word of mouth. It’s also because this region doesn’t have access to some of the largest competing platforms, like, and because the market here is more fragmented, with more localized apps and platforms, tailored to specific markets.

In addition, banking and financial services are also more fragmented, meaning that building larger partnerships is a slower process than in places like the US. However we count that as an opportunity, to be the first to spread in a way that less ambitious projects haven’t managed to do.

There is no market leader in this category yet, particularly in Europe, so there is a lot of room for growth. Banks and telecoms are desperate for ways to add value for their clients, many of whom are choosing lower-cost, more mobile solutions. We are exploring these types of partnerships that add the value that people are looking for from their financial institutions, but are not yet receiving.

A lot of people (including StartupYard mentors) have challenged us on how “new” and “innovative” BudgetBakers is. There are a lot of expense trackers out there, and budgeting software is as old as spreadsheets. But you have to remember, that the mobile and financial technology that really adds value for end-users is still really new. In the context of business and government, legacy methods are fine, but users today want mobility, interconnectivity, and always-on functionalities. They want their software to work with them, not just for them. So it’s not a new idea, but it is a new way of looking at budgeting for many people.

Q: Tell me about your experience so far at StartupYard. How has BudgetBakers grown during your time here? How have your plans changed?

A:  By entering SY we had to slow down development of the new version of BudgetBakers and start focusing more on management, finances and defining the strategy that will bring us to next level.

At the beginning it was very unusual for me, because i was used to spending my whole day programming. I had to turn towards management, and that was a challenge for me. But now I have to say, it helped me to crystallize my vision in term of growth and success.

I’ve come to realize that our priority has to be our customer experience and our market strategy, instead of just building an ever richer feature set. There’s no use in creating the world’s most amazing software, if nobody is ready to use that software to make a positive impact in their lives. So we’ve had to adjust our attitude towards development, and grow up as a company and a team. That’s been an amazing experience for us, and we’re really glad we decided to do it.

Learn More at

Follow BudgetBakers On Twitter @BudgetBakers 

On Firing A Startup

This week, I had to take the difficult but necessary decision to dismiss a StartupYard startup from our program. I did not take this decision lightly, and if anything, it was overdue. What I want to accomplish in talking about this chapter in our blog, is to educate other startups in our community about what it is we do, how our program works, and what we look for when it comes to startups that we accept and work with.

What We Do

We have never dismissed a team from StartupYard before. Perhaps we’ve been lucky. Of course, as we’ve written about on this blog, and as any accelerated company or accelerator team knows, there are always moments of conflict and stress.

In fact, conflict in the constructive sense is really what we are all about. We challenge and push our startups to achieve in areas in which they are not comfortable. Our mentors and workshop leaders challenge the founders in our program to think more globally, to think critically about their decisions, and to grow personally and professionally.

A difficult requirement that we put on our startups is one that we discuss with them from the very beginning. “We own your schedule.” For 3 months, they work on our clock, and they make themselves available to mentors, workshops, advisors, and the StartupYard team during that time. Company founders and sometimes whole teams move into our workspace at Node5 in order to be available all the time.

In order to make this work, we encourage our startups to do a few things they aren’t always comfortable with at first. To delay some meetings, and to slow down or halt progress on non-critical development in their products, in order to give more time to the big picture, and to see things from a higher perspective.

This is not to say that the startups slow down work. Quite the opposite, they typically spend nights and weekends to continue developing, even during the program’s busiest times. There are periods in which our demands on their time are very light, particularly in the middle of the program, but nevertheless, the time commitment is large.

We feel, and experience has shown, that this period allows founders to switch from “builder mode” to “leader mode,” and prepares them to grow their teams, take a step back from their immediate needs, and see their work in a broader context. We have seen this experience deeply transform startups, and we think it works.

When That Doesn’t Work

In this case, early indications of pushback quickly became apparent. This startup, unlike most startups we accept, had majority shareholders who were not the founders. That had not been made clear in our initial meetings, and it proved to be a sticking point.

In addition, it quickly became clear that the founder who had applied and been accepted to our program did not have, as he had represented, a co-founder or near equal partner with whom he could share responsibility.

We don’t take single founders for a good reason. The demands of this program, and simultaneously running a company, are too much for one person to handle. While our founder teams often have a leading partner, they share the workload, and they are each empowered to represent their companies on their own. This allows them to do much more at StartupYard, and it allows them to maintain a better institutional knowledge and memory. Two founders can balance each other. One can become lost in the wilderness.

This founder was simply not present- whether due to the demands of his job, or his partners, or to lack of interest. He appeared only sporadically, and missed a large part of the program, including mentors, workshops, and other meetings. He sometimes sent representatives from his company to some of our program events, however, the purpose of most mentorship and workshops is to engage directly with a company founder.

So, for example, a marketing workshop, or a workshop on PR or UX, or a mentoring session with one of our 60+ active mentors, is meant for a founder, even if the founder also has team members who work in these specific areas. The team members may also benefit, but the founder benefits equally in understanding what it is that members of their team can do, and what measurement of success can be applied to that work.

It was apparent by the end of the first month, that this founder was simply not prepared or not able to engage with the program to the level that we expect and demand.

Bad Faith

StartupYard is ultimately a business, even if we try hard to make sure it’s a highly altruistic one. We depend upon the good faith of our startups, partners, mentors, and investors that we all have the same priorities.

Our priority is to help startups grow, and to help them do good work that is valuable to others, and profitable to themselves, to us, and our investors. We do well when our startups grow in value. Moreover, we feel that the price we ask for the value we provide, much less the money we invest, is not onerous.

As we have written before on this blog,  we are not about giving startups cash. The money is there so that they have time to work with us, and to grow with our help. If a startup’s first concern is the eventual cash value of our stake in their company, then our priorities are not in sync.

In the end, despite a series of promises and deadlines broken, and unending complications that seemed to arise from nowhere, it became clear that this startup, its investors, and its founder had no intention of acting in good faith with the terms they had agreed to upon being accepted to the program.

In addition, the founder also failed to meet every milestone that was set for him in the program, neglecting every deadline for user projections, business and investment plans, and other reporting. We heard only excuses and explanations, but never saw any results.

When a startup enters our program, we are making a statement that we believe in its potential to be an engine for growth, and its team’s ability to execute on a dynamic, exciting vision. Our seal of approval means something, and has been a boon to the many startups that have gained investment, or been acquired following our program.

At the same time, if a startup team or its investors act in bad faith with our arrangement, we have a duty to share that experience with our investors and partners, which we have done in this case. Our ability to provide the value that we do depends on our reputation being linked with companies that act in good faith, and are aligned with our vision.

Our Mistakes

These things happen. I believe that we can learn from this experience.

First of all, I feel that we were too focused on the profit potential this company showed. We saw that they were attractive to investors, and that they had already gained some investment, and this fact blinded us to concerns that were raised even during the selection process. We didn’t examine closely enough whether this company and its founder should be in our program, or would be able to engage with it fully.

So in a sense, we lost sight of our mission in this case, and the result should have been predictable.

In retrospect, it’s obvious now that this founder was unclear about the nature of our program, and was never willing or able to commit to it in a way that we required. He had too many other responsibilities. His company already had too many moving parts to allow him to step back and change direction. Too much money had already been spent. In short, there was no helping him, because he had already been locked into most of his decisions before the program started.

Because we liked (and still like) the product and business idea, we overlooked these issues, and tried to sweep them under the rug. That put us in a poor position, because we were expecting results and engagement that, again in hindsight, were probably not reasonable to expect.

We have seen this sort of thing happen in the past, and thankfully more than one company has decided not to join because of the expectations we have. Not joining an accelerator can be an enlightened decision, if a founder feels that he can’t effectively implement the feedback he or she gets from the program.

Fail in Order to Succeed

So in sum I don’t view this is a dark chapter or a catastrophe. It is a failure, and we are experts at learning from our failures. But it is a failure that will not cost us much, and will benefit us hugely in the future, as we work towards becoming better at identifying the companies and founders that can benefit most from our support.

Lastly, with no ill-will, we wish this company and founder the absolute best, and we look forward to their future success. Growing pains and mistakes are a part of this business, and a necessary part. Our hope is that we all learned something from this.

StartupYard Month 2: The Emotional Journey

The StartupYard teams have spend 2 months at the accelerator so far, and it’s past time for a look at how they’re all doing. An accelerator round goes by in a big blur. You can hardly believe, when it’s almost over, that you’re talking to the same people who started the journey together just a few months ago. It’s an emotional experience, as well as an intellectual one, and I’m going to talk about that emotional journey.


A big and necessary part of the accelerator experience is frustration. Frustration with oneself, with a lack of time, with the difficulty of certain questions, and with the fluidity and uncertainty surrounding so many important decisions. Everything is in a rush, but at the same time, everything depends on someone else’s input, or someone else’s time, be it a team member, a StartupYard team member, a mentor or advisor, or even an investor.

Between daily meetings with up to 5 mentors, meetings with test users, pilot customers, early investors, and the StartupYard team, there isn’t a lot of time to do what the startup teams are used to doing with their days- working on their products and making them better. The life of a startup is highly dependent on influencing other people to make fast decisions, so we all get a little harried from time to time.

I caught myself recently asking the startups to fill in their company information for the Demo Day program (we hope to see you there May 28th!), and writing “get this done ASAP.” One of the startups pluckily responded via the #events Slack Channel. “Everything is ASAP!” He was right, and in truth, I could have waited more than a week to get their feedback. But in the constant push to cut through and grab their attention, I had accustomed myself to demanding that they do everything I ask of them immediately, lest they forget to ever do it at all.

But a certain level of frustration is necessary because at StartupYard, the goal is to interrupt and challenge a startup’s established patterns, and force the teams to face issues they might, left alone, choose to ignore, with possibly fatal results.

We ask big questions, in our mentorship sessions and workshops, and we ask them of teams that don’t always have enough data to answer them. That’s to the good. Because every time a startup founder doesn’t know the answer to a question, they’re reminded, or they can discover, that they have more to learn and more room to improve.

Still, the experience is one of constantly feeling behind: by the time the founders answer our demands for business plans, user projections, financial projections, and marketing plans, we’re on to new and more complex demands.

There’s no slowing down to celebrate small victories- and nothing is ever really finished. That’s a recipe for a certain level of frustration, and the only way to overcome it, eventually, is to do more than they’ve ever done before, in less time than they thought they could.


 I think it takes a certain kind of person to quit their job, spend their savings, and build something no one has ever built before, with the certain knowledge that it’s brilliant and unique enough to a) get someone else to pay for it via an investment and b) eventually get people to buy that thing, and get potentially dozens or even hundreds of people to devote their working lives to building and maintaining it.

We say that startups have their own unique cultures- well it takes a certain kind of ego to think that they’d be happier and better off starting something like that from scratch. So I have immense respect for the people I work with on a daily basis.

These people couldn’t do what they do if they didn’t have powerful egos. At the same time though, the accelerator process is a repeated assault upon ego, pride, and a person’s sense of themselves and the truth of their personal vision.

Fiodor Tonti, of Numa Paris, destroys egos with his UX/UI workshop


Every round, we see startup founders follow a similar emotional path. They come in at the top of the pile- the best handful of startups out of an application round of over 200. They know they’re hot shit, and they have accomplishments to be genuinely proud of.

And then mentoring starts, and they’re almost constantly on the defensive for the next month and a half. Every advisor and mentor has a different opinion, but they all reassure the startups that they *definitely* aren’t ready yet.

Nothing satisfies. Nothing is where it needs to be.

Just when these mentoring sessions start to slow down, and the startups now have a really good sense of how to talk about their companies and the direction they want to go, a new assault begins. In month two, we bring in domain experts in UX/UI, publicity, marketing and growth hacking, and financial planning, and we beat them all back down again.

Last week, Fiodor Tonti, a team member at LeCamping, in Numa Paris, came to Prague to do a private workshop on UX design with our startups. One of the startups came out of a session with him and told Cedric, our MD, “that was devastating.”

Later in the day, we sat with another startup doing live user testing, and a dozen people watched as a test user stated that they were ready to quit trying to use the application, because the onboarding process was just too frustrating.

A few weeks ago, I gave a workshop for our startups on homepage/landing page design. Then I stood up in front of all the startups, and we critiqued each of their homepages together, in some detail. They were hard on each other. One of the teams commented afterward. “I can’t believe how bad our homepage is. I didn’t see how big a problem it could be.”

Software engineers, in their comfort zones, are not used to the creative suffering involved in watching their work being misunderstood, or worse, actually disliked and dismissed. Most work on minute, specific problems, the solutions to which may be complicated, but are at least fairly clear. But startup founders work on big, holistic problems, the solutions to which are far from clear, and so their egos suffer miserably when their noble efforts fail, as they invariably do in some way. 


Of course, we’re all afraid of failing. And with startups, failure is perhaps not the most expected result, however, it is definitely the most common. And as Frank Herbert famously wrote in Dune, “fear is the mind-killer.” Fear stops you from acting, even when action is necessary. The thinking goes, I suppose, If I don’t make a decision, I can’t fail. Or at least, if I fail because I don’t act, I will at least know why I failed.

Inaction in the face of fear is a way of staying in control. So it goes with many of our founders, especially in their first month or so. In the face of harsh feedback, or suggestions they don’t agree with, or weren’t expecting, they don’t refuse to listen. They simply refuse to act. They say: “yeah, I’ll think about it,” or they’ll make other excuses: “well I’ll work on that stuff when I’ve finished doing X, Y, and Z.” Of course, X, Y, and Z are never-ending jobs, like working on their backends, or their webpages, or refining their mobile apps, or introducing new features.


Sometimes founders get stuck in a rut that seems incredibly productive, from their perspective. They’ll work on a new feature, and then realize that the backend needs to be reconfigured, only to discover that they need to develop something else from scratch to make that work, and pretty soon they’re rebuilding their whole product.

One team, until well into the second month of the program, couldn’t be convinced to start developing new features and testing new business models. They had gotten so used to focusing on their existing users, most of whom were not paying for the service, that their answer to anything new was to study their existing userbase.

A fear of losing something they’d gained, even if there wasn’t as much value in it as they had thought, was hard to overcome.

Similarly, another startup this year had great difficulty in deciding to rebrand. Despite a large number of downloads of their app, their paid userbase was small, and their traction was relatively poor.

Rebranding in this case was meant to improve user retention, because it appeared that users coming to the app were not really the right market for it. It got downloads, but it didn’t convert. The idea for this founder of giving up app-store positioning and rebranding away from a name that had so many downloads was very difficult. The fear of letting go of what he had in favor of what he might get was real. But in the end, he made the decision to rebrand.


On another team, the founders repeatedly missed other deadlines during the first month of the program, because they were so focused on finishing and distributing a new release of their product. Meanwhile, we had to work to convince them that the feedback they were getting was as relevant to the new product as to the existing one. Their answer, every time someone brought up a problem with their model or their product, was that it would be fixed in the next release.

Engineers and developers build. That’s what engineers and developers are good at, so that’s what they want to do. And when it comes to user-testing, and talking to investors, the new features and the new plans are always on the horizon- something to be talked about, but not revealed. Constant work is a way of putting off criticisms, and putting off the fear of failure.

And one can always point to future plans and future features which will make the criticisms of today obsolete. We see founders duck these problems all the time, telling mentors that they’ll have everything solved when the new update comes out, or the new marketing manager gets hired. As any accelerator can tell you, this can become a bit like school- founders fall into the same patterns they’ve had since childhood, to avoid doing the things they don’t like doing, or are afraid to fail at.

The old saying “the better is the enemy of the good,” is something I find myself saying very often. Along with another stock phrase our startups become very tired of hearing: “If it’s stupid, and it works, it’s not stupid.”

Not accepting current and past failures just perpetuates them. and focusing on the future means you’ll constantly be catching up to yourself- constantly making teh same mistakes. You can’t learn from something you aren’t willing to face up to, and a big part of the learning curve at StartupYard is in gaining the willingness not to make excuses.

One of our founders came to me this week, having made a realization about his priorities in this regard, and said: “I feel like I have to learn to become a different kind of person now.” In a sense, he does. He has to hang onto the tenacious effort and skill that got him this far, but he also has to accept his limitations, and be ready to fail at new things.

Programmers are possessive of their work and of their ideas. Putting them out in the world, testing them, and seeing what people think about them, means giving up ownership, and giving up control. If I let someone see my work, I don’t own it anymore- I can’t control what they think about it. That can be a terrifying feeling.


So far, I suppose I’ve made the StartupYard experience sound pretty negative. Well there are tough moments for all of us. If it wasn’t hard, it wouldn’t be worth doing.

The only way to become wise, is to fail. To push past frustration and ego, you have to accept failures and learn from them, rather than dooming yourself to repeat them again and again. Often when I am recruiting applicants for StartupYard, I tell them this: “an accelerator speeds up failure, and gives you a place where failing is acceptable, and profitable.”


So in that light, as our startups are just beginning to practice their pitches and prepare for their premieres at Demo Day, I like to see the final phase of StartupYard as the most constructive. Having exposed themselves to a great deal of criticism, advice, and probing explorations of their motivations and their abilities to deliver on their claims and their visions, the startup founders are now much wiser than when they started.

Questions and doubts don’t bother them. Criticisms are expected and welcomed. in two short months, they’ve found every way to fail, and are ready to succeed.


I used to teach high school English. I loved the work, but I mostly hated the job. Schools were underfunded, and overcrowded. Teachers got little respect, and even less pay. Much of the job is demoralizing, and the hours are long, and often boringly repetitive. You experience the same problems over and over, and have little power to effect change.

However, there were moments I had as a teacher which I will remember for the rest of my life. A student, some years after being in one of my classes, ran into me in the street, a fully grown adult, and stopped me to tell me that I had changed his life. That he had decided to study English, and he had gotten involved in local politics, and that my lessons had changed his worldview, and given him hope for his future. I was blown away. That’s something teachers live for, and rarely get.

Well, not exactly.

Well, not exactly.

With startups, it’s much the same. The hours are long, the pay is not good (or non-existent), and founders often have to question whether they’ve been wasting sometimes years of their lives. They’re sometimes seen by their friends and family as dreamers, or unrealistic. They’re constantly being doubted and tested by others. And then something can happen: the first paying customer, the first happy testimonial from a user, the first really killer pitch, and an investment offer. This happens every year with StartupYard, and it’s magic.

The joy of having created something, and having gotten that thrill of seeing it succeed in some way; change someone’s life or even just make their day better, is unparalleled. That’s not a feeling you’re likely to get in your typical day job, because there, our accomplishments are never really our own- we are just doing our part.

As a startup founder, you’re insisting that there’s a new way of doing things: a new model that works more. Seeing that validated, for real, is a unique experience, and one I love to witness.



Introducing the 2015 Startups: Shoptsie: E-Commerce and Marketing For the Rest of Us

Mathé Zsolt-László and Ordog Zoltan, Co-Founders of the online store creator Shoptsie, are two entrepreneurs that the StartupYard team truly admires. Coming from a Hungarian community in Romania, Zsolt and Zoltan rode a bus for 24 hours to make it to their first meetings with StartupYard mentors and stakeholders. Then, to our amazement, they got back on the bus and rode 24 hours home as well.

From our first meeting, we’ve noted their incredible dedication to the Shoptsie mission, and their ability, time and again, to deliver on the promises they make to us, and to themselves. We’ve been impressed, and we’re sure you will be too. I caught up with the duo to talk about Shoptsie, and their time so far at StartupYard.

Shoptsie currently has over 6000 products listed in over 1000 online shops, and that number is growing daily.


Hi guys! You’re unique among all StartupYard startups. You’re not our first team from Romania, but you are our first team of Hungarians. Tell us a bit about yourselves, and where you come from.

Zsolt: Originally I’m from the smallest city in Romania, in Transylvania, called Baile Tusnad and recently moved to Miercurea Ciuc. I crafted websites for more than 15 years and also I worked 8 years as a database engineer for the government. Now with the launch of Shoptsie this will change. As CEO I will concentrate on running the company, managing the day-to-day operations.

Zoltan: I was born in Miercurea Ciuc and I live there too. After I’ve finished the college I worked in a printing house, then I started to create websites as a webdesigner. After 10 years and numerous websites I joined to Zsolt to work on Shoptsie.


Co-Founders of Shoptsie: Ordog Zoltan, and Mathé Zsolt-László

Tell us about Shoptsie. Who is it for, how does it work?

Zsolt: Shopstie is an intuitive online store creator for creative people who don’t know how to sell online. It’s very easy and simple. With Shoptsie anyone can create an ecommerce website that can be integrated into Facebook Pages and existing websites or blogs without any coding skills.

After a quick registration you can upload your categories and products, choose a beautifully designed template that can be customized to match with your brand look and feel.

Shoptsie also provides a set of marketing applications with which the store owners can reach more customers. We also created a knowledge base blog where the store owners can learn how to create an email campaign and how to advertise on social media.


Q: How is Shoptsie different from other store creators like Shopify, or marketplaces like Etsy?

Zsolt: Out motto is “We grow with you”.

Unlike any other pay-as-you-go services like Shopify, Shoptsie gives beginners a risk-free entry into online sales.

This means that you can list up to 20 products for free in your Shoptsie store, and sell them at no upfront cost. We don’t make money until you do.

Another differentiator is that we can teach you where and how to advertise to start making sales online. Marketplaces like Etsy are good solutions for selling, we don’t say that people should leave them, but there is a big chance that your product will be listed next to your competitors’ products.

Stores on marketplaces look the same, all you can do is maybe upload a banner. With Shoptsie you can have your own professional e-shop which you can personalize to match your personality, your brand’s look and feel.

Also, when you are advertising your marketplace store, you’re also advertising the marketplace at the same time. Why don’t you spend your money on advertising your own brand?

Q: How can your users advertise their goods, and where can they sell them? Do they need their own websites first?

Zoltan: They can use their social network, without having  their own websites. That’s a key area of growth for small scale businesses selling online. Shoptsie offers an app that helps these sellers find Facebook Groups with similar interests, and another app with which they can create a Contest to collect emails. Another – quite popular – app is the Facebook App that let our users embed their stores directly in their own Facebook page.

This is part of what makes our approach unique: we aim to provide all the tools a seller needs to market and sell their goods online, so Shoptsie is more than just a place where people can find your goods – it’s also a tool that gives you comprehensive and easy access to marketing tools, and shows you how to use them.

Have your users been able to make those tools work for them?

Yes, and I have a great recent example. A few weeks ago we noticed a spike in one store’s statistics. We saw a huge number of visitors from one day to another that we did not expect. It turned out that one of our store owners started a really successful contest on Facebook. He grew the number of visitors by 200% using our tools.

He’d decided to promote one of his products by making it free for a whole week. Then he held a raffle for anyone who shared the link and liked his Facebook store page. This simple trick was enough to drive and increase the traffic to his online store, and his sales increased as well.

Because he was offering a free product (charging only for shipping), he was able to make a lot of sales quickly.

People started to order this product, but some of them added another product (that wasn’t free) to the cart. So the next day there was a big list of orders waiting for delivery.

Now that he has contact information for his clients, he can create email campaigns about new products, promotions and other contests.

So, by giving away one product and sharing this on his Facebook page, in two weeks he managed to increase his sales by more than 80% and collected a big number of email addresses.

That approach is also showing results when it comes to our own growth. Because we focus on helping our sellers market their shops and goods, we’ve seen user-generated sales campaigns that have also increased awareness of Shoptsie. The more quality shops and sellers Shoptsie has, the more we are able to reach first-timers who have never really considered selling online before. When they see how easy it is for others to do it, and that our approach is risk-free, they’re much more likely to try it for themselves.

Screenshot 2015-05-05 16.51.04What types of sellers are you focusing on at first, and why?

Zsolt: We are focusing on handcrafters and fashion designers. At the first we wanted to give a solutions for everybody but we saw that most of our customers came from the crafting and fashion industries, so we are focusing on creating the perfect ecommerce solutions for them.

In the future, as we implement support for digital products, we want to reach creative artists, designers and creative writers as well.

Our near-term goal is to attract as many high-quality, active shop owners as we can. We grow with our user base, so their success is our success. We think this is a model in which everyone wins, from the consumer, to the seller, to crafters who have never tried ecommerce before.

Will you focus on specific geographic markets when you launch?

Zoltan: Yes. Because we speak the languages and we know the region, first we want to focus on the Hungarian and Romanian markets. As the number of our clients from UK and South  Africa is also increasing, we want to focus on those markets also.

Q: How has your vision for Shoptsie changed in the past few months? 

Zoltan: Two months ago we had a picture in our minds about how we wanted to develop Shoptsie further, so we thought. But at StartupYard, that picture was slowly replaced by a more concrete reality. The plans we make now feel much more real- much more solid. 

We are grateful that we can be here. This is a big opportunity for us to learn and to meet mentors who can answer our questions, and shorten the feedback cycle, so that we don’t repeat or fail to notice the mistakes we make. 

We were encouraged by mentors like Liva Judic and Wallace Green to continue what we started and keep our users’ needs in mind. 

Q: What do you see as the biggest challenges you face in getting people to adopt your solutions?

Zsolt:  It’s an interesting question. We see fear of the unknown as our biggest challenge. People are afraid to start selling online. They are good at what they do, crafting or designing, and they think that creating an e-shop is rocket science.

Well it’s not. Shoptsie provides them with everything they will need to create, promote, and run their online store, easily and without any coding skills.

Shoptsie is now live. Create your own Store Here. 

Introducing the StartupYard 2015 Startups: Myia: Making Wifi Accessible Everywhere

The Myia team joined StartupYard with not much more than a great idea, and the will to make it happen. Since they’ve been at the accelerator, it’s been a pleasure to see that idea grow into something truly unique and interesting.

Originally designed as a hyper-local messaging app, Myia has evolved into a concept with truly global potential.

It will be a platform that brings Wi-Fi as a common utility to a completely new level. Users around the world, at conferences, hotels, or other public spaces like shopping centers, will be able to access locally relevant services, information and communication channels, seamlessly and instantly with Myia.

Myia will also help Wi-Fi providers offer new services to their customers and visitors. 

This is an idea who’s time has truly come, and Myia wants to be the company that finally delivers on the promise of easily accessible Wi-Fi, anywhere you go.

I’ll let Ondrej Cervinka, CEO of Myia, tell you more:


Ondrej Cervinka, Ceo of Myia


Hi Ondrej, First off, I’m sure people are curious about your company’s name. What’s the backstory there?

Oh, it’s a long story but I enjoy telling it. Originally, the name was Xin, which is a Chinese word with many different meanings depending on the pronunciation – sign, letter, heart, mind, feeling, soul, intelligence, new, fresh, true, real.

It was perfect name for the messenger functions we had at that time. We built Myia originally as a Wifi based local messaging app. However, we received some negative feedback from American users about the name- it was hard to say, and seemed too foreign for some. So we were looking for another name.

One day we were discussing the name with a great StartupYard mentor, Liva Judic, and we thought: “Wait a minute, Liva is actually a nice name”. Unfortunately, Liva has been registered as a trademark so we couldn’t use it.

But we already liked the idea of having a feminine name, so we ended up with Myia. I like the name very much. Myia was a Greek philosopher and one of the daughters of Pythagoras. I like math, numbers and philosophy. So it is kind of attractive to me. Actually, it is pronounced as “mee ya”.

Unlike most of the other startups in StartupYard 2015, Myia came into the program with something very different from the new core product. What motivated you to join the accelerator?

A: At the beginning of 2015 we had a mobile app in all 3 app stores. It was simply a messenger that allowed users to send messages to anybody connected to the same Wi-Fi.

It was actually an outcome of a Microsoft Windows Phone hackathon organized at the Prague Impact Hub, where our company, WujiGrid, has offices. We had promising user responses and a lot of ideas for other features to add and how to improve the technology.

At that time StartupYard had just opened applications for its 5th batch of startups. We immediately jumped on the opportunity. Our goal was to use the mentors provided by the StartupYard program.

We wanted to consult with them on our business ideas and build a viable business model for Myia. We were also prepared to hear that there was no real business in Myia, and that we should keep it just as a toy app and do something else.

So the reason to join the accelerator was to get help with the areas where we did not feel very strong – business modeling, sales, and marketing. After one month in StartupYard we can say it was definitely a good decision.

How has your vision for Myia evolved over the past few months?

Our first goal was to narrow the possibilities for Myia down to one or just a few. It’s funny, but each day with mentors brought new ideas, new areas where Myia can be useful and new use cases. So at the beginning, the options didn’t get narrower, but wider.

We evolved the vision of Myia into an app that has two faces: First, people who install the app on their smartphones and second, providers of Wi-Fi, the owners of the hotspots. These two groups depend on each other.

The Myia Platform

The Myia Platform

For consumers, Myia is an app that provides a valuable functions and features depending on the type of place – restaurant, bar, café, concert, hotel, shopping mall, conference, airport, etc. Wi-Fi is ubiquitous technology today.

With Myia, you can meet new people, find a pool player in a pub, learn what is hot and cool in this place, get discount coupon or a voucher, rate presenters, vote for the best gig on the stage, contact hotel front desk, you name it. It is useful, it is fun, and it is relevant to the place where you are now.

Myia is also for the businesses who offer free Wi-Fi for their customers and who are looking for ways how to provide more added-value to them. It provides them a unique communication channel to their customers.

They can learn opinions of their guests and collect feedback. They can announce new shops in a mall, happy hours in a bar, send special offers. It is easy to postpone start of the first presentation after lunch on a conference, collect questions and rate the presentation. We can build loyalty programs for different businesses.

What has been the biggest challenge in adjusting your early vision to incorporate so much feedback from the StartupYard mentors?

A: As I said, we got a lot of feedback, ideas, opinions and advice from the mentors. Quite often they were even contradictory, which is great because we got wholly different perspectives.

We see it from many different angles now. So many different ideas are of course difficult to sort out. We cannot do everything together but we do not want to spend next 6 month on something that just to find out it’s a dead end.

Certain use cases work well only after there is certain percentage of people who use Myia. Of course, they will use it only if it brings them some value. So there is a classic chicken-or-egg problem here. After somebody installs the app they want to find many places where they can use it. So you have to start with something where people go often.

At the same time, Myia must bring a compelling value proposition both to the owner as well as to the end user. And we try to make it as viral as possible.

We are still working on this – trying to come out with different value propositions for various areas, test them with businesses, evaluate, and find overlaps with other areas. I see it as an organism. If everything fits together it starts to grow.

Tell us a bit about your background, and that of your team.

A: I am a programmer by profession. I studied artificial intelligence at CTU and then worked on various AI projects in Rockwell research center here in Prague. Then I joined a Swiss software house named IPS in 2000.

I met my Myia cofounders Filip and Michael there. Actually, Michael was one of my computer science students when I did my PhD, and Filip was the first candidate that I interviewed in my life.

Myia Team

The Myia Team


At the end I was director of the IPS Prague branch and Filip was software architect in IPS. Then in 2010 we decided to found a startup called WujiGrid. It is a real-time collaboration app. It is kind of a shared desktop but it is in the cloud and it belongs to everyone in the collaboration group. And now we are with Myia.

So we have worked together for 15 years! All three of us are software engineers, so we might be weaker in sales and marketing. But very strong point is mutual trust. It is great if you know we can rely on each other in difficult times.

Q: Who will be your earliest clients? How will Myia make its first dollar on the market?

A: We’re working with businesses to pilot the service in different areas. StartupYard has helped us with their contacts and we are also doing very interesting things with Impact Hub Prague, which is our home turf.

We participate in Hub events and do networking games where Myia helps you to meet people that you are looking for. We really appreciate this cooperation.

Our plan is that the service will be free for the early adopters. This way we can spread the service as fast as possible because the more people use Myia the more useful it is for everyone. It will also help us to define exactly what value our users see in the service.

I think we will make the first dollar on some customization or implementation of specific functionalities for a large business. On top of that, we hope that the module for events will be the first paid service.

Q: Where do you see Myia as a business in 2-3 years? What do you see as some promising use cases and unexplored markets for the technology?

A: Ok, it’s going to be interesting to read this answer in 2-3 years from now, right? Long term, even with WujiGrid, we are interested in interaction between people, communication, collaboration, combining their skills and talents. We see Myia as a communication accelerator.

It puts together people who are at the same place at the same time. They meet with the help of Myia but then they interact in a real, natural way. Today everybody talks about social networks. Myia creates a network that is tightly linked to the real physical world.

Every day we meet a lot of people we do not know by name. Sometimes we meet them regularly, like on a bus when you go to work in the morning.

Imagine you lost your wallet in a foreign city where you are on a business trip. What do you do? Now Myia can tell you “Hey, there is a guy who takes the same bus as you every morning in your hotel, do you want to ping him?” He might help you, right?

Or your flight is delayed by 3 hours, you sit in the airport having nothing to do but wait and Myia beeps: “There is somebody waiting in the next gate who visited the same concert of Groove Planet you just attended last night.” Suddenly, you have a beer with them and enjoy the time.

Or business-wise, an airport shop can suggest there is new Groove Planet CD available. Ok, there will be no CD shops in 2-3 years, but this is the idea. From the technology point of view big data, machine learning, mathematical modelling, etc. this will be our way forward.

Q: This is a crowded market- some players in public Wi-Fi access include T-Mobile and Skype, as well as Google. What makes Myia special in your view?

This is difficult question. Myia relies on existing Wi-Fi infrastructure, so we see T-Mobile as a partner, the same is with Skype Wi-Fi. If a business place provides a Wi-Fi hotspot with any of the existing providers, Myia is able to bring some new monetization opportunities for the business owner.

Google relies on advertising, which is not what we plan to do. But I do not want to rule out your question based on just these examples. There may be some players in the market already, but this does not mean there is no space for more innovative players.

In fact, I think the fact that there remains no single preferred solution for wifi shows that the market is not fully mature yet- and there are a lot of opportunities to find new efficiencies.

The demand for public WiFi continues to grow, and as it does, the opportunities to add value in that market also multiply- we don’t see “competition” in that sense to be a bad thing at all. The more players in the market, the more customers will be aware of new possibilities, and have an opportunity to choose Myia for the value it adds.