Kristel Viidik and Tiiu Sullakatko
Our 8th networking event this Wednesday was also the last before going for the summer break. We will most certainly continue organizing them in the autumn, though.
Hooandja is basically an Estonian version of the famous crowd funding platform Kickstarter. People can pledge money in order to fund the project they want to bring to life. (Hooandja currently accepts creative projects and projects associated with civil society or technology.) If they’re able to collect the whole sum by the end of a certain time limit, they have to make their project happen, if they get only part of the budget, the contributors get their money back. Tiiu stressed the importance of the video that must be posted in addition to the written description and the gifts that are offered in return for the donations (for example, when you donate 5 euros for a children’s book, your name will be mentioned in it or you’ll get your own copy of it). If you have a great project you want to find funding for, you can add it to Hooandja free of charge. They take 5% of the budget of your project only in case you succeed collecting the whole sum. So, all in all, there basically aren’t any reasons why not to try it. Even if a project fails at the first time, you still get invaluable feedback, you get to know your audience and the people who are interested in the thing you’re doing. Besides, Hooandja doesn’t keep a black list: if you fail once, you can apply again and hopefully this time you already know what should be done differently in order to succeed.
Kristel also talked about crowds, but in this case, crowds of testers! She studied developing at IT College, but has always had a passion for testing. This is why she and Marko Kruustük have founded Testlio - a community of testers that help companies make sure their products work. Testlio creates real value to testers by giving them extra income and to companies by enabling easy access to crowd sourced testing. Interestingly enough, not many people from our audience knew about the company, although as it turned out, Testlio has been super successful, and we’re not talking about Estonia here, they’ve done big stuff in London and the US. In November 2012, they took their Testlio-idea to AngelHack hackathon in London (it’s considered the biggest hackathon in the whole world!). They were chosen one of the winners and were able to go home with a fat check for 25 000 $. (Read about it on their blog, too.) So we’re not just talking about a good idea here, they have funding, an actual product up and running and paying customers. Quite impressive and certainly worth keeping an eye on them!