Guest blog by Anya Zeitlin, a current member of the Geovation Programme talks about ‘Night Map’ a night navigation app that enables people to find fun routes that feel safe.
We asked Anya…
What is your business/idea?
Night Map is a night navigation app. It enables people to find fun routes that feel safe.
What have you found most valuable whilst being on the programme?
It has to be access to information and expertise.
To start with there’s the Hub’s range of in-house expertise. It consists of all sorts, from entrepreneurs and techies, to geographers and consumers. More broadly there are the other start-ups in the Hub, different departments in OS, and the variety of people and organisations that provide workshops and 1:1s for the programme.
Everybody I’ve spoken to comes with a different perspective on the business, and everybody is willing to share personal experiences and professional insight when giving advice.
Having such a broad range of perspectives and advice in a relatively short period of time is invaluable. I’d encourage people to treat methodically, in a way similar to how you’d think of user research.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve encountered whilst building your business? And how did you overcome this?
Night Map is still very young, as I am, and whilst they say naivety is a virtue when it comes to entrepreneurship, it has also been one of the biggest challenges. I’ve been learning about more than just starting a business – there are plenty of books and blogs out there for that – I’ve been learning about how to become a founder.
So, whilst access to a range of ideas and opinions has been the most valuable feature of the Geovation Programme, it has also been one of the most challenging. Transitioning from employee to founder requires a mental shift, there is nobody to defer to, there is not a right way, or proven method. You have to constantly rely on yourself – not for motivation – but for reassurance. Amongst a myriad of perspectives you have to carve a clear path and stick to it.
Finding this confidence and determination to do this is essential for the success of the company, but it is also a very personal challenge.
Where do you see yourself in a year’s time?
I’d love to say it is as simple as “I see myself at the helm of a company with thousands of users, a happy-go-lucky and wildly successful version of myself.” However, one thing I’ve learnt through exposure to other founders in the hub and elsewhere, is that the real work comes after launch. Finding product market fit is not a silver bullet and, at the moment, I’m just scratching the surface of a long journey. So, in a year’s time I expect to be working like mad, a one-year-wiser version of myself, still determined to improve and optimise night navigation for urban explorers.