|About the Job|
|Role||CIO & Co-Founder|
August 2013 – December 2013
|Summary||Developed two websites to create presence for a Startup that landed hundreds of sign-ups and helped gain the initial traction with which the resulting association established itself.|
Impruvme: A failed Startup and its pivots
Impruvme was a short lived Startup that was founded around mid 2013 when I was approached by 3 friends with an idea to help improve kids in high school to have better orientation regarding their career choices, although that idea would not remain for long. Shortly after the first attempts exploring a market in that area, the Startup pivoted into a Workshop where they would teach Entrepreneurs how to start a company in a crash-course that would last a few days. In the end the Startup became what is today known as EEAA (Emprendedores Anónimos), which I left after helping with its launch in late 2013.
First Approach: Career orientation for High schoolers
At first, Impruvme identified the problem that most kids in high school decide what degrees to study in college because of what they expect to end up working on, but with very little knowledge of what that work actually entails. During the last years of high school most kids get to explore University choices, courses, classes, professors, college infrastructure and such,
all things that give great insight into how and what will they be studying, but none of it gets them close how their future jobs will be. Someone who choose to study Programming might be disappointed to find out that he will not end up working making Video games in the end.
This wasn’t just an hypothesis that the Startup had, we in fact did some market research to validate our business model, asking kids in high school and college students and graduates through surveys to find out if the problem was real and if they thought it was solvable or avoidable. The results were as we expected them, over 69% of the surveyed people believed that college desertion and career dissatisfaction could be solved early on if there had been better orientation during high school.
The Impruvme proposed solution was to build a platform in which kids in high school could find courses that would teach them about their future jobs, instead of their future degrees. We would impart small extra-curricular courses with that focus, so for instance there would be Programming course that would explain how you go about using Programming in a day-to-day job.
The solution included the development of a Web Application where people could browse and sign up for courses and pay for the classes through it. This Web Application was not completed, and instead only the design of it was developed in PHP, and a small landing page that would only serve as a newsletter sign up in order to acquire potential clients that would be contacted later with news of new courses that would be given. This landing page got more than 200 people to sign up.
Pivoting: Training Workshop for Entrepreneurs
Although the team gave it their all to achieve the outreach we were hoping for and to get the business moving, we were unsuccessful getting enough sign ups for any of the courses we set out, and so the CEO and CFO decided to pivot into a new idea that had yield a few positive results.
In the middle of the development of this project, the team recognized a different problem, also in the market of education. The problem of the lack of knowledge and the general feeling of misdirection when starting a company, when launching a Startup. The team tried out doing a small workshop for Entrepreneurs, where they would teach them some basic concepts and tools to develop and plan ahead when creating a Startup. It was a success, the team in-fact managed to made successive entrepreneurial workshops, some in alliance with a few Universities, from which we were even making a profit.
This pivot then had us change our business model and also the Website, where before we were building a courses market place, now it would become a Workshop sign up infrastructure, so that we could market our Workshops and keep track of the assistants and satisfaction surveys. The resulting Website is what is seen at the beginning of this post in the screenshots.
Through the development of this Startup I learned a lot about things that I had never expected to learn about. Learned how to raise and what it takes to lead a Startup, what would make it successful, what is people looking for when they meet a new company and the amount of effort it takes to have it lift off. Not only that but also a lot about finances, how to keep it solvent and to have it move forward.
Although for me this was an unpaid Part-time commitment, this might easily have been the job that I committed to the most while I worked on it; when I look back at all the work that was done by me through its development I can hardly understand how I made all that possible within 4 months working part-time and juggling my degree studies at the same time. It was an well-rounded learning experience that had me learning both technical skills as well as team work and company building.
In the technical field, getting the technology infrastructure ready for this company forced me to learn a whole lot about systems administration, from buying a domain name, to setting up DNS, email servers and web hosting in a VPS that we rented for a little bit.
- Developed web application for users to sign up into offline Workshops.
- Hired and installed VPS and DNS to host website and emails.
- Parallax Scrolling
- Apache HTTP Server
- Ubuntu Server
- Google Analytics
Made by Elena Bravo