A major business plan final took place at the EBS assembly hall on May 3rd. Neck to neck were four entrepreneurship and business administration and international business administration student start-ups.
The judge panel was made up of Mart Habakuk, Tiit Elenurm, Herty Tammo (Startup Wise Guys), Kristen Tamm (Futuruum) and Tanel Samm (Monster Music).
The honourable judges picked out the team who will receive 2000€ from EBS as seed money.
The winner was first-year business administration and entrepreneurship student company DiscoverMe. I took to Sten and Fred, the founders of the start-up, to find out more about what it is they’re doing, how they differ from others and where they got their idea from.
What does your company do?
DiscoverMe is a product discovery platform that simplifies the buying process for retail stores and gives the manufacturers the control over the brands and their visibility.
DiscoverMe connects suppliers and stores all over the word faster and cheaper than any existing solution. The platform brings together the companies’ division representatives (purchase & sale), whose daily tasks are to make lucrative decisions taking into consideration the competition and future prospects for sustainable business.
How did it all start?
Fred: Have you heard the saying “scratch your own itch”? For me, that’s how the DiscoverMe journey began. I’ve been active in the retail industry for years now. More specifically, I started building an export channel for the Estonian nature cosmetic producers. One of them, Turbliss, is already relatively popular in Estonia. It all began thanks to them. During that time, I dealt with several smaller and bigger both niche and retail stores in Norway, Denmark, Germany, USA, Sweden and in the Benelux. After a year of communicating with the bigger stores and their representatives, passing the same information to multiple people, I realised how unproductive and pointless that approach is. I thought, why couldn’t there be a place where I could insert all the universal key information about the brands and products and then share it with all the prospects without sending thousands of emails and doing phone calls. Now is the time to mention that filling out Excel tables for Rimi was the last drop for me – it’s just a stupid solution in the age of technology. A few years ago, I took up the challenge and started researching what’s up and how to do things differently. And that’s how we ended here, building something that’s interesting and can really impact the society, but that’s a story for another time.
Sten: Ha! Looking back, it’s quite funny. Fred and I have known each other for over 16 years. We grew up in the same town and played football together. We had just competed in Ajujaht with SafeMile that was a proper fail. So, then Fred wrote to me, I told him what I was working on and we just met up and exchanged ideas. He had quite a unique idea and experience in that field. He showed me his research and after that it was a no brainer. It seemed interesting and a totally different approach.
I told him about the Mektory program at TUT and we decided to go see what it’s about. Our first presentation – we went on stage with no real understanding or overview of how and what we’re going to be doing, but we tried. It was a total failure. We talked about what we wanted to do and no one, including us, didn’t understand anything. In the end, we just had a good laugh out of it. To be honest, it felt rather good to fail, wasn’t that scary at all.
What makes your company special?
When it comes to purchasing, comparing, work efficiency and cost effectiveness of new products, DiscoverMe represents an all-in-one solution for retail chains. It makes people’s lives easier. Forget about Excel charts, PDF-catalogues and take a step forward.
On the other hand, the DiscoverMe platform offers all smaller and bigger enterprises the possibility to sell their products internationally and easily control their brands’ and products’ information and first impression. For a moment, forget about the competition, market research and trade shows. Let’s step into the world of technology and see what happens.
DiscoverMe is an opportunity to conquer international markets.
To dig a bit deeper, then it’s meant for all the people who are planning to operate in the consumer goods industry and are thinking how they’re going to sell anything. We will bear that burden.
There’s more of what makes us unique. We will not be asking for any commission, everyone else is already doing that anyway.
In a bigger picture, when you think about the society and influential factors then absolutely everyone can become an entrepreneur and sell either their own or others’ creation. We give the end consumers more options and bring down the prices because the number of offers will grow rapidly. There probably will be a price war due to the alternatives. For us, that means we’ve taken a big step closer to creating abundance when it comes to consumer goods and especially food.
Help others to succeed.
How surprised were you when you won?
We don’t want to put anyone down – all the presented ideas work perfectly when you put enough time and energy into them. Then again, not once did we feel there was a competition. We were sure we’re going to win as soon as we heard about the competition. We believe, the affecting factors were a real business model, scalability and we definitely differed from others thanks to our idea. It appears, our mindset played a great role as well. We didn’t come to convince anyone or show pretty slides, we came to talk business.
Back to the ideas – we all have them but the execution is what brought us the prize. We spent days working and preparing – the victory was certain already before competing. Thank you to everyone who supported and cheered us on!
Editor: Kärt Mättikas
Translator: Triin Tikk
Pictures: Discover Me