This article was updated on April 9, 2019.
Startups are projects created looking to the future. They are intended to improve the quality of life and facilitate many tasks. What would you think decided to improve the Czech startup Spaceti? Ondřej Plevka, Spaceti Co-Founder & COO, was told us a lot of interesting information about startup launch and promotion.
What’s new in the life of Spaceti?
Updates to March 2019:
- Spaceti won the MIPIM Startup Competition 2019 for the best startup in the real estate industry globally.
- Now Spaceti is officially the best proptech company in the world.
- There are currently 16 nationalities in the company and almost 40 people onboard (!).
- They expanded to new countries and have Castellum and Sodexo as new clients. Here are the case studies to share.
- Being a startup based in Prague they recently established a new office in New York.
What is Spaceti?
Spaceti is a leader in the proptech industry, providing an all-in-one solution comprised of sensors, data analytics, and mobile user interfaces that enhance the satisfaction, productivity, and wellbeing of people in buildings while improving the bottom line for organizations.
When and how did you get the idea to create this project?
It started in 2016 with an idea to help save lives: a system that directed the evacuation of people in emergency situations that was piloted at Stanford, but Locaid.me failed to gain commercial traction.
Do you have any competitors and how do you compare with them?
There are several competitors, although none of them combine software and hardware development and production in such scale.
What are your competitive advantages? What helps you to maintain a strong position in the market?
As I mentioned before, it is the combination of software and hardware, as well as a strong focus on listening to client feedback, and a multicultural work environment and approach.
Are there any weaknesses in your product in your opinion? If yes, what?
The market was so big, it took us some time to get focused and to be able to deliver properly.
Is this first your startup or did you have other ones previously?
This is the first commercial project I am involved in. Prior to this, I was part of an intrapreneurial startup inside IBM CEE.
If you do not mind me asking, what was the amount invested for project creation and initial promotion? Was it an investor’s money or your personal savings? If it was an investor’s, could you tell us how you found him/her?
Initially, it was personal funding. Then we negotiated with a few investors and finally decided for the most suitable ones: Reflex Capital and Fast Forward. We found them ourselves.
What experts were indispensable at the stage of creating and launching a project?
The leader of every stream:
- Hardware. It is possible that we would not have built our own hardware.
- Mobile development and technical leaders.
- Sales and marketing.
Who are your customers? What kind of requests do they make?
There are different types of customers making all kind of requests: mostly to digitize old or new buildings with a focus on the wellbeing of the people inside. Environmental and occupancy analytics are the most popular. We are currently operating 40 client projects around the globe.
What were the challenges during launch and how did you cope with them?
Initial working versions of each product and successful scaling. Also syncing communication between the business and technical teams.
What are the most effective approaches for product promotion?
Good references from our current clients and partners that are satisfied with our services in the first place. We also attended many industry events that assembled real estate and tech experts. We also won MIPIM Proptech this year and became one of the top 6 global proptech companies, which created an organic buzz.
What startups do you have a partnership with and how does this help you promote your project?
They are no startups, rather bigger corporations. Our partners are Vodafone, MSD, Frauhofen, and others as well. They help us spread brand awareness and deliver to customers. We hope to find more business partners around the world.
How do you begin promoting a young technology project, in your opinion?
Exhibit, showcase, quick POC, pilot, and talk to as many people as you can…and ask potential customers for their feedback.
What of your knowledge and skills were useful when launching the project?
Probably presenting to a senior audience and knowledge of cloud technologies. And a quality technical education.
Would you recommend startuppers subscribe to the pages of internet communities able to provide them with helpful information? Which ones?
TechCrunch, Business Insider, or Forbes: they gave me an overview about what is going on in tech, business, and how the startup world works overall.
If there were no Spaceti, what other project would you have developed?
I would probably continue building the Cloud Innovation Lab at IBM.
How do you see the further development of your project?
We aim to scale up to digitize buildings in North America, Asia, and possibly the Middle East.
What is the most valuable business advice you have ever received?
Never, never, never give up.