Servoped at Health Bootcamp 2015
We are Team Servoped, a startup company born out of the Health Bootcamp program organised by Helsinki Think Company and HealthSPA. It all started one night in the Design Factory of Aalto University, when we (Palash and Derek) started discussing about a product idea of a bike computer that can provide coaching during the bike ride. It was timely that Helsinki Think Company had just sent email invitations for the bootcamp then. We saw a good opportunity to seed our idea through this bootcamp and see where it takes us. We then did a quick brainstorming of our initial technology and business models and sent in our application. To our delight, we were shortlisted for the interview and subsequently selected for the program. That was the start of our Servoped journey.
Health Bootcamp experience
Through a series of carefully planned workshops, the Health bootcamp took care that all participants, whether they were at very earlystage startups or incorporated companies, got taught the tools of how to start and grow their business. The business planning workshop conducted by Inc Blue gave us good insights on the need to prepare a business plan in order to grow the company at a sustainable pace. We were also advised on the various pitfalls that a startup company may face, for example, giving up equity too early and quickly. Through the business planning workshops, Team Servoped also determined our Mission and Vision, important guiding principles that will last for years to come.
Then came the actual “bootcamp” itself, a weeklong trip to Copenhagen. It was hardly as scary as it sounds: we were working out of a beautiful sunlit brick building called the “Rainmaking Loft”, a newly established coworking space converted from an old navy warehouse. What the bootcamp gave us really was focused time: being out of Helsinki and into a foreign city, we were able to abandon all distractions (except for the delicious foods) and focus squarely on developing our product idea. Being in Copenhagen was also particularly apt for Team Servoped as we were developing a bike technology and Copenhagen is a cyclist haven, perfect match! Through the stay in Copenhagen, we established potential partnerships. The timing of the trip also coincided with the Copenhagen Bike Show and we were able to meet the different players in the bike industry, further validating our idea that a bike computer coach is a useful product to develop. The Copenhagen trip was a big highlight for us and yielded fruitful results.
PostCopenhagen trip, the workshops continued. The Solution Selling workshop was very useful to us in understanding the competitivecycling market and methods of selling our products. The twodays workshop included a task of conducting a market survey between these two days. Juhani from BSUM helped us framing questions for the survey with his tips and experiences. The survey was answered by competitive cyclists around the globe with some very good insights. The survey result showed that there is a potential market for our product and service and we were able to identify the channels through which we can approach our customers.
Another important workshop was the Pitch Training.As an entrepreneur, we tend to get overexcited about what we are doing. However, during the pitching, we need to keep our talk very short and precise so that the we can keep the attention of the audience. Mike Bradshaw provided very valuable tips about what important points to be covered in pitching events. His constructive criticism helped us in preparing our own pitch for the Upgraded Life Festival event.
Upgraded Life Festival
We got an opportunity to participate at the Upgraded Life Festival as a representative of Helsinki Think Company. This event was our first public pitch. We not only worked hard in our pitching but also made sure that the audience could visually understand our concept. Palash was dressed up as a cyclist sharing his competitive cycling experience, whereas Derek was a cycling coach explaining how professional coaches can benefit from Servoped. We got good feedback and met representatives of some companies who were interested in working with us.
Thoughts and What’s Next
Team Servoped had an invaluable experience at the Health Bootcamp. The Bootcamp was meant for beginners (prestartup stage), which suited us well. The selectors were not expecting of a business model or a working prototype from the team. Servoped was only at its nascent stage then, but gradually narrowed down the ideas into a viable concept during the bootcamp.
The Copenhagen trip greatly helped us in reinforcing our idea that cycling training could be made simpler and more accessible with the existing technologies. The content of the workshops greatly helped us in narrow down our idea and develop a viable business model for Servoped.
Throughout the bootcamp, we also made sure that we evolve as a team. Both of us took equal participation in every event, whether it was a meeting with a potential partner, or pitching at the Upgraded Life Festival. This significantly helped us in further strengthening as a team.
The bootcamp has ended but the energy and spirit that we have developed over the past 3 months continue. We are bringing the project to the next stage of prototyping over the summer months. We are grateful for what the Health Boot camp program has done for our team, we will keep in touch and are looking forward to see what next year’s program and participants do!