In my free time I am working on a bunch of startup ideas I want to present to you. If you like them, spread the word!
problemjaeger.matthiasmwolf.com is a platform enabling you to report flaws in your environment quickly and easily wherever you are. Get feedback when they are fixed. You know where the problems are. We know who will solve them.
- A broken park bench? Report!
- Waste on the street? REPORT!
- A goddamn broken light bulb in your appartment building? F***ING REPORT!!!
Collect prey points for every problem you report. Be part of the thrilling competition to improve your city. Battle your friends and see who’s the REAL Problemjäger in town.
So here’s the story
When participating at my first Lean Startup Machine in Munich in August I pitched an idea called „Improve Your World“. The core of the idea was to make it possible to publicly state problems or defects so that the responsible party can fix them. A team of six liked my idea and wanted to validate it. Although the result (Rolltra, a travel agency for people in wheelchairs) was quite far away from the idea I had in the first place, it was still a lot of fun to see the Lean Startup process live and be using the Javelin Experiment Board.
So, what happened to the idea after the event?
Is it a startup if it doesn’t cost you money?
I renamed the idea to Problemjäger, wantrepreneur style. Why Problemjäger, you ask? Well, first I want to hunt (German: jagen) problems (German: Probleme). A guy who hunts down problems might be called Problemjäger. Second, as germanisms are quite trendy in the US or UK (Uber, Dudemeister, Kindergarten, Doppelgänger, …) and our friends across the ocean seem to love umlaute I looked for a name which has both of it. Introducing the startup umlaut. So, here we are. Awesome name, but nothing sold.
Thereafter I set up a landing page on Unbounce.com. I took part in a startup competition called Gründer Garage. I even got interviewed for Junge Gründer. My startup didn’t win a dime, though.
Trying to validate the startup idea I talked to a guy named Narjeet, whom I met at the LSM. His company The Lean Apps builds minimum viable products (MVP) for startups. We had a highly interesting chat. Not long that I figured out that I need to start small and focus on a certain customer segment to validate the idea before spending money. Facebook did this with college students, I start with people who live in appartment buildings.
MVP for free
We had the idea to use QR codes which send emails with a pre-entered message when scanned, saying something like „Hi, there is something broken in our building. Please fix it.“ This way there was no need to build an app or website yet. (Here is how you can do that.) I then printed the QR code and some explanation on flyers and distributed them in houses which are sufficiently large. Every house got a different QR code, so that the message had the right address in it and I could fake some kind of location based service. If someone scanned the QR code I will get an email stating their problem and I could alert the right person. If the problem is fixed the people who reported will be informed. This way the people who have the problem don’t have to search for the right contact data AND get feedback when everything is done.
So here I am know, waiting for the feedback of my startup’s first potential users. So far no response. Do you think I have to pivot?