Photo: Martin (left) and Egils (right) got to know each other during the hackathon weekend in Turbas in Latvia
Martin Stollberg took part in the SSE Riga hackathon in Turbas at the end of September. We are very pleased to have an interview with him.
Hey Martin! You are an exchange student at the Turiba University in Riga. When did your exchange studies start? What is your home university? What subjects are you studying in your home and your host universities?
Hey, I want to thank you for the opportunity to participate in this interview. I arrived in Riga on the 14th of September. It’s my first longer trip to a foreign country. And it’s been a great journey so far! In Germany, I am studying Business Informatics at the “University of Applied Sciences of the Economy” (FHDW) in Paderborn. I am continuing my studies in this subject at Turiba University with a bigger focus on marketing and entrepreneurship.
You took part in the SSER hackathon in Turbas last weekend. How was the hackathon like? Did you learn something new? If yes, what did you learn about entrepreneurship and creating a startup?
My experience was already off to a great start after I arrived at SSE Riga. So many inspiring people were eager to start the hackathon and create something of their own! Looking at the hackathon this first impression held true for the whole hackathon. During the hackathon there was an all pervasive “Yes-we-can”-atmosphere motivating my team and me to not only talk but also do. My biggest learning was in the crafting process of business ideas. I am someone who is great at talking about something for 30 minutes if it could have also been done in 5 minutes. So, it was great to get a big push towards creating and presenting ideas in a concise and goal-orientated way.
Your team was successful in the hackathon and was ranked in the top three teams by the jury. Congratulations! Can you tell about your team and your team members? How did you get the startup idea and how did the idea begin to take shape?
My team consists of three persons so far. We have an experienced entrepreneur, a software engineer and myself as a communication expert and aspiring strategist. My friend Egils and I only got to know each other just before the hackathon started and I was immediately fascinated by Egils’ rich entrepreneurial background. During the beginning stages of the hackathon Egils and I followed different ideas but later we realized that by working together we can achieve so much more. But since Egils and I are both extremely focused on getting the business-side of the Start-up off the ground we discovered the opportunity to add someone to the team who is an expert in creating the solution itself. So, I called my friend Andreas and told him about our idea. He really loved the idea, joined our team and made us complete.
The idea itself was first thought of by Egils at the beginning of 2019 so the idea was already well conceptualized. During the hackathon we focused on validation the ideas and testing some assumption. How did we do this? By taking our phones and calling some potential customers. It went great! Not only did we get some potential first-adopters lined up, we also got more insight in the perspective of our customer. After our research, we fine-tuned our idea more and more.
Do you have some expectations for the NOCCA project and goals for the future? Thank you for the interview!
Right now, my team is working extremely hard on realizing a first prototype and creating a business plan. We got so many people eager to test our solution that we feel responsible to meet their expectations as soon as possible. So, we want to get our solution out on the market and change the way we interact with our veterinarians. But although all of us are eager and passionate we are also just starting out. So, there is a lot of trial-and-error and numerous aspects we still need to discover and think through. I expect that the NOCCA project and especially the people at the project will challenge us and help us to grow day by day. The interactions with the participants, the NOCCA team and the mentors, really helped me to gain invaluable new perspectives and ideas so far.
I really want to thank you for the opportunity be part of this project and I am very much looking forward to the next stage!