Have you heard of Skiipi, a Croatian project that could simplify communication between skiers and other fans of snow activities? Well, this startup is going to Bulgaria, in Eleven accelerator, and just before they packed their things and left, we had a chance to talk with one of the cofounders, Ivan Komorčec.
So, Skiipi’s team is made out of Ivan and Marko Bosiljkov, but there were many other contributors that helped them and that will continue to do so in the future – product designers, developers and skiers themselves. Marko is an experienced and awarded graphic designer and for the last two years he is mainly designing mobile applications.
I started my career as a freelance copywriter when I was twenty years old. I spent the next couple of years working on different campaigns and I realized that marketing is my calling, but I didn’t want to work in large agencies. Marko and I founded our first startup when I was 24 (Fotke.hr). We managed to build a successful photo-community, but, unfortunately, we made a wrong market estimate, so we couldn’t sell enough ads. After a year and a half we sold the project so we could return our investment. Three years ago I decided to get back to the marketing and I opened a branding agency named Gordon Hill, where I work today as a creative director.
Marko and Ivan soon started working together in Gordon Hill on rebranding, websites, visual identities etc. Business was growing so they opened a London office last year. And then Skiipi came.
The idea came when we realized that people love extreme sports, such as skiing, not only because of adrenalin, but because of socialization as well. But when you go skiing, communication is the same like it was during the eighties – you can use only walkie-talkies. That is crazy, considering the fact that almost everyone owns a smartphone. Also, there is a roaming issue that we wanted to resolve.
So, Skiipi is a smartphone application, which is used by – gestures only. Besides communication part, the app provides different statistics or, for example, possibilities of purchasing ski pass. There is also hardware – smartphone case (currently called Sidekick), which has an extra battery and allows roaming-free communication. It will have data SIM card, so there will be no unnecessary roaming costs. The app is functional without the case.
Skiipi is one of first apps for extreme sportsmen and we would like to make communication apps for other athletes, such as paragliding pilots, climbers, bikers… But, our primary goal groups now are amateur skiers. They are aged between 30 and 40, have higher purchasing power and they love gadgets. Our goal is also to make a product that will be used all year long, not only while skiing.
Next Stop – Bulgaria!
As Ivan says, they felt both disbelief and relief when they found out that they were chosen for Eleven accelerator. That was their third accelerator that they applied for – before that they were in the last round for Startup Wise Guys and Rockstart, but they didn’t make it there. Eleven was their confirmation that they are not crazy and that their project really has the potential.
I can’t say that our close ones reacted positively, because Bulgaria doesn’t have great reputation, but, as Delboy from Only Fools and Horses says: He who dares, wins. We decided to spend full time working on this project even before we found out about Eleven, so Gordon Hill won’t suffer without us.
While he talks about expectations, he refers to Only Fools and Horses once again: This time next year we’ll be millionaires. Of course, they expect many good mentors and quality guidance, which is the main reason they applied for the accelerator.