How to Revolutionize the Old Fashioned Phone Credit Industry
An outcome of StartupWeekend
Hi there, my name is Andrea Visconti, I’m 25 years old, and together with my associate Alessandro Bava and our team we have just won the Startup Weekend (near nice but small city in Italy), an innovative mobile payment system able to revolutionize the shopping experience user.
How it all started – in a slow way
It all started 10 years ago, when I was touring the center with friends, forever without money in my pocket, but with a top-up of 50 € (courtesy of my father) on my Nokia 3310. I was wondering why I couldn’t use that money to buy a package of cigarettes or a beer at the bar. It was not possible to use the remaining credit on my phone to pay for the cigarettes and there was no other way to transform the phone into a payment instrument. Then in 2007 there arouse the greatest revolution of recent years: the iPhone! It was just what I needed: a pity that I didn´t know it yet. I just realized it a couple of years later, when I bought my first iPhone 3GS. It was during those months that an idea began to settle in my mind. It took me several months to outline the vision and more than a year to analyze it. Of course it took a long time, but I needed to study as well, analyzing all it’s aspects, in order to find a solution to all the possible flaws discovered during the path.
The preparation phase
After I studied and analyzed the whole idea, concept and business model in detail, it was time to take some action. Having said that I initiated the project, spoke with my friend and current associate Alessandro, and with him we formed a team of 5 people for it´s technical development. At that point we needed to get feedback from the market, lead users and industry experts. Then we have created an alpha version of our app, and we decided to join the Startup Weekend.
Participating at StartupWeekend
The event of the Startup Weekend is really exciting because you spend 54 hours with more than 100 young enthusiasts, all full with brilliant ideas. On Friday evening I took the initiative and presented the initial pitch: 60 seconds to convince the audience to vote for our idea and to list the skills that you need for the construction of a prototype. Our startup has passed as the second most voted. We were hyped, excited, formed a very diverse team and we set the work for the next few days. During the weekend then we divided the team working in 3 different groups. One part has dealt with the interface between the app and server, the second one worked on creating the website, with our web designers trying to keep up with the demands of both, while the last group worked at the business plan, business model and the preparation of the final pitch.
The moment of truth
Sunday afternoon, immediately after lunch we were blessed being able to perform a test of the pitch in front of the coaches, that gave us valuable feedback and insights. At this point we decided to use the hour and a half that was missing at the beginning of the pitch to prepare our presentation. We changed the approach from a different perspective, which lead to our success in the end. The presentation worked out great, the jury asked us very intense but also interesting questions, because they were interested to deepen our concept. This adaptability that we have shown, changing the pitch trusting the advice of the coaches, has allowed us to win the startup weekend.
It was a very intense and educative experience that has given us great confidence in our own abilities. The successful participation at SW helped us to strengthen the link of our team and give us new enthusiasm, but even if we had not won we wouldn’t quit because we have a very clear vision and we know what our goals are. Now we started and we don’t want to stop anymore!
We would encourage everybody who believes in his idea and vision to stick to it, even though the circumstances are rough. If you want to meet cofounders or just bring your concept to the next stage, StartupWeekend is definitely a great tool to make it happen.