Web Summit, one of the most popular tech conference in the world is been called “the world’s best tech conference”, “Glastonbury for geeks” or “Davos for geeks”. Luxembourgish startup Univize, an online platform that connects prospective university students with current university students, will get the chance to exhibit and pitch this year in Lisbon. We asked Felix Hemmerling, Co-Founder & Head of Strategic Operations of the startup for more details.
(Featured Image: Web Summit is bringing 60000+ attendees in Lisbon, Portugal from November 6 to 9 / Image Credit © Web Summit)
Can you describe your journey so far?
Our journey so far has been both very unpredictable and exciting. After the last time we met with you in July for the first interview, there were multiple updates:
We were able to enter the Lux Future Lab incubator (powered by BGL BNP Paribas) as all-time youngest founders in August, where we have an office now. We get a lot of support from great companies and partner institutions, who help us become better in what we do and give great advice. We have met some great people so far and were able to integrate the startup ecosystem in Luxembourg. Lux Future Lab is a great place for us, as we are surrounded by great mentors and startups who are always willing to give advice and help out.
“A thousand of startups were considered for the pitch, and we were selected among the top 200 startups, which is really great to see.”
In addition, we have three new team members helping us with the launch of the 1.0 in November; two people in Ireland, and one in Brussels/Luxembourg.
We had presentations and visited more secondary schools in Luxembourg this October, where we received great feedback from high school students and the schools’ officials.
As mentioned before, now we have also been selected for the Web Summit. On a first hand, for the ALPHA Programme, where we will exhibit on one day (Thursday 9th November), attend multiple speeches and meet a lot of people. On the other hand for the PITCH (powered by Mercedes-Benz), where I will pitch in order to win the 50.000€ prize. A thousand of startups were considered for the pitch, and we were selected among the top 200 startups, which is really great to see.
So far, we have mainly been busy with developing the 1.0 version (with iOS & Google Play mobile application), which we will launch end of November. The team of developers we work with (Ruben van Gaalen, Mathias Meuleman, Jeetze Schuurmans, Mitchel Dingjan, Maarten Sijm from Gale) since our beta version back in May have delivered high-quality work and have been extremely supportive during our journey. Generally, our focus was and currently is on the marketing & user acquisition strategy in the different countries, as well as on the product development of Univize.
“Multiple meetings are set, and the goal is to come back from Lisbon with many useful contacts we can work with in the coming months and years.”
What do you expect from the Web Summit?
I am looking to meet influential people and businesses that can help us develop Univize down the road. We will further expand the team in the coming months and Web Summit will be a great opportunity to meet people that might be worth to consider as potential team members. I was already contacted by multiple attendees, investors and businesses who are very interested in learning more about Univize, which I will meet over there. Multiple meetings are set, and the goal is to come back from Lisbon with many useful contacts we can work with in the coming months and years.
In addition, I am looking to win the PITCH competition in order to win the 50.000€. Our friends from Value Associates have been very supportive and I have been closely working with them, which is why I am confident to deliver a strong pitch.
What are the next steps of your development strategy?
The focus will be on the launch of the 1.0 with the mobile application. We will open up globally, so that people across the world can sign up on and use Univize. However, we will focus our marketing and user acquisition strategies on Ireland to find the right product market fit. As I am currently based in Dublin, Ireland, we figured that this might be the perfect situation to meet secondary schools over here as well, spread the word about Univize among the students here and grow a substantial user base.
“The goal is to test the 1.0 in Ireland specifically and fine-tune the product from there. The long-term goal is to be completely international of course, with a focus on Europe for the coming year.”
As mentioned, we have two more team members Rob and Amy, who are local students in Ireland and help us build towards the launch of the 1.0. They know the market and are able to help us with our launching strategy, which is why we are very happy to have them on board.
In the meanwhile, Frédéric (our team member from Luxembourg who is based in Brussels) is helping out over in Luxembourg to meet with high schools and other organisations crucial for our launch in Luxembourg.
The goal is to test the 1.0 in Ireland specifically and fine-tune the product from there. The long-term goal is to be completely international of course, with a focus on Europe for the coming year.