I sat down with the Solvish team to find out more about how they met each other, why they decided to work together and how the idea for the business came about. The start-up seeks to connect people with similar motives and helps them speak a common language – doing good.
Hi guys, Thanks for doing this. How are you doing today?
Hi Joseph, thank you. We are doing great and glad about the opportunity to talk about Solvish.
Can you give us some background information about yourself?
Benjamin Facius: I studied communications design in Hamburg and afterwards I started my own design agency. I am also lecturing at the Institute of Design in Hamburg and was part of the charity campaign ‘Hamburg Teilt’.
Ole Golombek: I studied business informatics at the University of Hamburg and work in software development for ten years now. In addition to my work with Solvish, I am also the CEO of my own software-development-firm.
Anton Exner: I am a Hamburg-based interaction designer and a passionate advocate of the design thinking approach.
Tell me how you all initially got into business?
We’ve all known each other for a long time, also through our interests and professions. So we decided to meet in a café in order to chat about working together. We shared some ideas and one of them caught our attention immediately – this was the birth of Solvish. We all have jobs, but the effort didn’t seem unreasonable and we wanted to create something meaningful. It just made sense in every way to make this project happen.
How did the idea for Solvish come about?
We recognized that each day we are confronted with problems. They reach us in different ways and over various channels. Many topics do interest us but we don’t have the chance to really get involved. In addition too often solidarity activism is limited to creating awareness. This is why we want to take it a step further – a framework that rewards active participation and uses it to actually find solutions.
Tell me about the early days, what was the hardest part of starting the business?
After we had already invested a lot of time into the first launch on November 11, 2011, we took some time to analyse the website in depth and decided to do a complete relaunch in May 2012. This was also a crucial moment for the continuation of the project because we were able to convince our developer to join us as a partner.
Tell us in more detail about Solvish? And what are you trying to solve with it?
Our ambition is to solve all problems of the world with it! See, every day we are surrounded by solvable problems. Out there, there are people with the ability to make a difference. Solvish seeks to connect people with similar motives and helps them speak a common language – doing good. Everyone involved benefits because their contributions become visible.
How have you been able to fund it so far?
We are self-financing at the moment and our purpose is to stay independent. At the same time we want to grow with the community and be able to attend to the platform more intensively. This is why we are always interested in sponsors, ideas and cooperations that are compatible with our philosophy. So please feel free to get in touch with us.
About the first few months, how excited were you, tell us about how those months felt, what happened?
It was a strange feeling. We were proud of our project and wanted to let the world know about it as quickly as possible. At the same time we felt awe, imagining how we going to do so.
How did you initially get traction?
Since there have been many wonderful publications about our work, new users are registering on a daily basis. So there are many problems waiting to be solved. In order to fulfil its purpose though, the site is in desperate need of more committed users – so we hope to spread the idea behind Solvish even further.
What are the most crucial things that you have done to grow your business?
Investing time and money over a long period of time can be exhausting. The most important step was probably learning to stay patient and respectful towards each other, even when nerves are wearing thin.
What would you say has been the highlight of your entrepreneurial journey so far?
Getting in touch with so many interesting people. We receive so many lovely reactions and offers for help. It’s wonderful to see that our work inspires others, which motivates us to continue.
What should we be expecting from yourself and the Solvish team for 2013?
Raising a lot more people’s awareness for the potential of Solvish and showing that together, we can make a difference and create necessary ‘pressure’ to solve problems. Therefore we will try to create more partnerships so more and more use cases appear. In addition we reach for more independence, to be able to create extensions like an app for instance.
Lastly, what advice would you offer any first time entrepreneur starting out today?
See your Startup like a piece of art. It’s something that fits your wall, so make sure you always feel comfortable with it.
On Saturday 9th March we will be hosting, alongside Brightside, ‘Get Up Start Up‘ where you will be able to apply and be approved for a Startup loan of between £2,500 & £10,000 to help you get your business started!