Turning spreadsheets to business apps? Check. Traveling the world? Check. Entering the world of startups? Check. This was one of the most exciting and super-active-challenging two years of my professional life. From Istanbul to NYC.
If you only have a minute or so I recommend checking out the video summary below. Otherwise, keep reading...
After returning home from the UK I joined a small team of great software engineers with a truly visionary leader. The core idea was that most business ideas born in Excel sheets. What if we could turn these Excel sheets - containing the business model as well as some data - to fully functional web- and mobile applications automatically. Let's turn ideas into database structures and enterprise grade Java code. Even better: if you change your business model in Excel you simply need to drag & drop it to Karma Platform again, and the magic will happen again: you are presented with an updated application.
Karma Platform makes fragile Excel sheets robust with enterprise grade security.
We truly believed that we can pull this off. And we did.
I became the frontman of this team and I did everything I could to make it a winner. Of course, we needed some financial runway - this one was so magical that we HAD one! It seemed we had no obstacles.
Business model, one pager, sexy logo, Facebook page, Kickstarter campaign, IndieGogo campaign, video shooting, applying to every single startup competition, attending conferences and startup shows. We did it all. Just look at it:
Attended startup shows and competitions in the UK (London & Cambridge). The most successful one was SWIFT's InnoTribe:
Set up a full campaign on Kickstarter - that turned into an IndieGogo campaign in the end (Kickstarter found our proposed product too "enterprisey"). Attended summits in Dublin (twice) and in Berlin - where I actually pitched Karma Platform in a real elevator to Amazon Web Services' CTO Mr. Werner Vogels himself!!
While traveling the world I prepared early prototypes and MVPs to all prospects who came from all over the world. I conducted over 100 online video interviews with potential clients from Peru to Australia.
In the meantime - all of a sudden - an article appeared on VentureBeat:
This article alone generated over 3,000 leads! Crazy stuff. I called and reached out to every single one of them.
At the height of all this we were on our way to one of the most respected startup events in the world: TechCrunch's DISRUPT in New York City.
I think these were the days of the startup revolution taking over the entire planet - or so I thought while living in this bubble.
Nothing sums it up better than a piece of paper - a carefully crafted one pager - lying on a cheap looking fiberboard on a startup stand at one of the large summits.