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Why did you apply to the SSES Fellowship?
I saw it as a great opportunity to make a serious move with the "think-up" I had had in my mind for long. I am glad I did it.
What features and opportunities about the Fellowship attracted you most?
If I had to sum it up in three words; people, resources, atmosphere. The people you get to spend your time with at the campus are outstanding and it is very useful to bounce the ideas off each other. Resources that the fellowship provides you with - ranging from free coffee, co-working space to mentoring, industry-experts and bootstrapping freebies are generous. Atmosphere at the campus and around the whole school is very positive and you get to see the start-ups around you growing and expanding in real time. The entrepreneurial "spirit" within the campus is strong. It is an invisible leg which keeps gently kicking you in the butt to be productive.
What is your main challenge and how are you overcoming it?
Currently, it is to find a second person - a technical co-founder (bioinformatician with a fairly specific skillset) with whom we would also match personality-wise. Furthermore, finishing the proof-of-concept study I am working on with one research group, which is the study the first product prototype is going to be built on soon. It is also crucial to establish a long-lasting partnership with an analytic lab. I am active as much as my free time allows me and juggle lot of things at once. Again, the Fellowship has been helpful in having someone to talk to and bounce the ideas off to make sure the project stays on the right track.
Why do entrepreneurs enjoy meeting and working at SSES Campus?
As mentioned previously, I believe it is the spirit. Everyone is more or less on the same page, everyone is taking a risk doing what they are doing, everyone is investing a lot of their money and time into what they are doing. This is what can make people bond very quickly. If you need help, people are usually willing to chip in with their knowledge and experience. Fellowship also provides you with a priority access to various workshops, seminars and bootcamps.
What’s your plan for the post-Fellowship?
For long, it looked like the company might join a VC-backed accelerator programme abroad, the project has been offered a place but we did not agree on the terms after 1,5 month long application and negotiation process. It was an amazing lesson on negotiating and dealing with investors though. Now, the plan is to decide on the best country to incorporate the company in, finish the minimal viable product, start selling as soon as possible to get some traction. Depending on how fast will I be able to hire a co-founder and the length of the runway, the further funding question will become increasingly important.
Who would you recommend the Fellowship to?
Anyone with an early (or very early) stage idea who wants to make the first step towards actually making it a reality. I think until you make the move and put some social and financial pressure on yourself, you are still in this limbo state, where it is easy to say "meh" and pussy out. Fellowship is a great opportunity to move out of this state for good, have the support structure around you in the first months, and whether you succeed or fail, you will never have to wonder "what if".