The past half year, an impressive number of student startups took home important awards during tech events and demo days. As a young team it’s nice to get recognition from a panel of judges or an audience, but what happens after you take home the big cardboard check? Time for a new series where we catch up with up-and-coming student startups. This week: HurryQ and U-Violet.
HurryQ: no more lines
HurryQ was last years winner of ACE Venture Lab’s Baby Pitch Award, and also took home the first prize during a Demo Day organized by the University of Amsterdam. The startup wants to make waiting in line a thing of the past. With the HurryQ app, you no longer have to physically wait in line in front of museums or other tourist attractions. Instead, HurryQ will hold your place in the line digitally. The app notifies you when it’s time to go back.
The team started to work full time on HurryQ after winning the Demo Day, says Romy Klein Essink, HurryQ’s COO. “Before that, we were all studying and working side jobs, but that changed very soon.” Klein Essink says that after the Demo Day, their biggest challenge was to sign other big tourist organizations like the Van Gogh Museum, Madame Tussauds and the Rijksmuseum. “We didn’t have users yet, nor did we have reviews from other organizations. But we worked hard, and signed contracts with al big amusement focused organizations in Amsterdam.”
Climbing a mountain
Klein Essink compares starting a successful company with climbing a mountain. “You need the gear that enables you to start climbing in the first place, but you won’t get far if you’re climbing without a plan or without a team to fall back on. In other words: a good idea is just a good idea if you don’t have a plan on how to carry it out the right way with the right team. Idea is key, the plan is key and the team is key. Al three of them are necessary and can make or break a startup.”
U-Violet: safer sunbathing
U-Violet is working on the U-Sun: a small waterproof bracelet that warns users when they are about to get sunburnt. During the annual Startup Tech Event 2017, hosted by the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, U-Violet’s pitch unanimously convinced the jury for the interesting tech, their knowledge of the market and the ability to recognize and fix an important problem: the alarmingly high number of skin cancer patients in The Netherlands and lack of awareness about the dangers of unprotected sunbathing. With the U-Sun, the startup could definitely make a big change in spreading awareness and potentially save people from getting skin cancer.
It’s unfortunate news, then, to hear that the team behind the U-sun are taking things slow. “At the moment we’re not working actively on the U-Violet because of other obligations, like graduating and following courses at university,” says co-founder Tim Struik “Winning the award definitely gave our team more confidence about the idea. Of course we’re not happy that we don’t have the time to work on the U-Sun, but we all want to finish our education first. We would like to pick it up again when we finish this semester.” According to Struik, The Dutch Cancer Society will test the U-Sun in May, 2018, and the team aims to go to market right before the summer in that same year.
Next up: Zazu & Floji