#itcastle 7: money for your startup

A new meetup at IT Castle startup community – It Castle 7: money.

The discussion was based on the following issues:
– psychology challenges that obstruct you make effective financial decisions;
– financial sources for startups;
– templates for the startup budget.

After the discussion, participants of the community used their skills to make a budget for a project of mobile application development, used for food delivery. The scale of the project was impressive and pushed the present ones to make an interesting conclusion.

Frankly speaking, being a startup founder and CEO does not equal to being a millionaire. You have to make great efforts to reach the secondly mentioned stage.

Launching startup demands a great responsibility for your project, its results and people, who were hooked by your idea.

#ItCastle 6: pick up your team

IT Castle started a new year with a motivational talk about gathering your startup team. Project’s coach Tetiana Smetaniuk offered to discuss the following:

  • Distribute roles and responsibilities, prepare requirements for applicants
  • A good guy is not always a good team-member or how to detect an expert
  • The art of negotiations: how to launch the business and avoid hate for your partners?

Club members trained their team management skills with interactive exercises.

Firstly they discussed the process of gathering startup teams and challenges of it. Secondly, the key features of hiring employees were defined. The main thing you have to remember when picking up a team is that finances are not the main motivation for most people. You should work with ideas to keep your team together. Thirdly, requirements for employees were discussed. The conclusion is obvious: creative idea is a strong background for building a strong successful team.

Startups changing cities

Startup ecosystems are the key to growing a vibrant regional economy. Time and time again, these clusters of talent and science drive job creation, new business formation, and attract investment capital. Ultimately, these are the elusive ingredients that lead to greater prosperity and equity in our communities.

The incredible transformation of the city’s start-up scene provides a few key insights on the characteristics and potential impact of the urban ecosystem model:

• Urban ecosystems can create new business and foster growth. For this to happen, the ecosystem needs to be linked to the local industry base. This process not only allows the ecosystem to retain a specialized workforce, but it also increases the competitiveness and level of innovation of the city’s more traditional industry base. As more and more start-ups emerge, market competition force local industries to innovate directly, either by introducing open innovation processes with start-ups or by absorbing new technology through start-up acquisition or recruitment.

• Urban ecosystems can generate “new” jobs, as opposed to “old” jobs that are being replaced by technology. These new jobs are the jobs of the future, emerging from new business models propelled from start-ups and innovation. Start-ups create some new jobs themselves. However, the majority of new jobs come from traditional industries that have introduced technology in their processes due to competitive pressures from new business models generated by start-ups or innovation absorption from the start-up ecosystem.

• Urban ecosystems can attract resources for local innovation. As the start-up ecosystem grows, it attracts out-of-the-city “innovation leaders” — for example, R&D institutions and innovation leading companies. This reinforces the innovation process of the ecosystem, further diversifying the local economy and providing another source for competitiveness.

• Urban ecosystems can transform urban environments. Start-up support infrastructure (such as co-working spaces, accelerators and incubators) and entrepreneurs’ communities can change the economic and social dynamics of entire neighborhoods.

Does city size impact startup location satisfaction?

There are a few reasons why the size of a startup’s location city can have a big impact for entrepreneurs and their companies. First, larger cities may have advantages in their access to talent, simply for the fact that more people live there. In places where talent is more numerous, hiring can be cheaper and employees can be onboarded faster. Companies also have greater options in the hiring process and can field a wider variety of candidates for the jobs they are looking to fill, ensuring a greater chance of finding just the right candidate. Larger cities are also more likely to be home to universities, other specialized companies, accelerators and incubators. Each of these institutions helps to contribute to the talent pipeline for companies looking to recruit the best. Larger cities also offer additional infrastructure and opportunities for non-local tech talent, which can work as a recruitment tool for talent from outside the surrounding area. Outside of talent concerns, living in a larger city can bring with it social benefits, of increased diversity and opportunity.

However, just because a city is more populous doesn’t necessarily mean that the type of talent that startups need can easily be found. Often, the talent required by startup entrepreneurs tends to be specialized, and can be unevenly distributed geographically. Similarly, in larger cities this scarce talent may be under high demand by other city employers, creating competition for workers and increasing costs for founders looking to hire. The solution for some founders is to work with a distributed team, but this might not be a solution for everyone. Actually, talent availability remains one of the most important characteristics founders consider when choosing a startup location. European entrepreneurs can find satisfaction with a number of startup locations, no matter the size.

Hometown advantage? How local entrepreneurs evaluate their startup locations

May considerations of hometown advantage impact entrepreneur evaluations of their startup locations? The benefits of hometown are obvious. Entrepreneurs may prefer to remain near friends and family, where they can trade on their close local network ties and depend on their social support. Local entrepreneurs can benefit from their deeper network ties and regional-specific expertise as well. Alternatively, staying at home can put entrepreneurs at a disadvantage, when it comes to addressing new markets or attracting outside investment. Entrepreneurship in startups may also conflict with alternative classifications of entrepreneurship that may be more reliant on local ties and familiarity. Considerable further evidence, both in support and against hometown entrepreneurship exists, and is worthy of greater attention.

Civic and business leaders can leverage underutilized community resources and drive economic growth:

  1. Invest in institutions of higher education as engines of innovation and job creation, particularly leveraging their ability to attract international talent.
  2. Foster diverse communities, utilizing untapped talent to drive higher economic returns as well as greater equity.
  3. Build basic infrastructure to ensure future growth and to retain a highly-trained local workforce.

From a sociocultural perspective, startups have a range of almost universally beneficial flow-on effects in a city – from fuelling urban renewal and rejuvenation to encouraging a more nimble and innovative approach within the city government itself.

Startups also have a reciprocal and beneficial relationship with the cities in which they operate – simultaneously capitalising on and reinforcing the city’s strengths. We can see this clearly when we look at those cities lucky enough to have the innate advantages that lure startups with seemingly little effort.

#itcastle 5: Startups success stories

The 5th ItCastle community meeting took place in ItCastle co-working space on the 18th of December. Club’s members found out experience of successful world and Ukrainian startups. 

10 success stories were introduced to present ones in the first part of the meeting. Every mentioned business was launched as classic startups, but now they are estimated with tens and hundreds millions of dollars. Club’s members learned about ThousandEyes, Handy, Zenefits, AdRoll, The Honest Company, NJOY, Pure Storage, Airbnb and Uber.

ItCastle’s coach Tetiana Smetaniuk offered participants of the meeting to feel themselves as investors and choose the project to invest considering just a short description without its name. Every mentioned project was referred to a famous one that trends in its sphere. Angry Birds and Netflix became the most popular business with the biggest amount of voices from “investors”.

Communication continued with the talk about Ukrainian startups. Successful companies were mentioned: 

Grammarly – browser-integrated or PC installed service that corrects grammar and spelling, offers better vocabulary selection and optimizes your correspondence styles. 

GitLab – opensource-platform for development that allows a group of developers to coordinate their work while working on the same project.

People.ai – marketing service that analyzes managers’ work and gives advice basing on data from phones and PCs of marketing team members.

Preply – service that searches for online foreign language tutors.

Restream – multi-streaming service that allows user to stream video-content on up to 30 platforms as YouTube, Facebook and others at once.

Petcube – one of the most famous Ukrainian Startups that invented gadgets for pet owners. It is a cube that is operated with mobile application and lets you watch your pet when you’re away, talk to it and play laser games. 

Members also tried them in a role of startup teamleads at the end of meetup. They considered problems that could challenge them in their success with startup and offered the means to cope with them. As participants mentioned, experience of the others inspired them to try doing something that implements their dreams.

10 ideas for startups in Podillya region

Where can you find a great idea for your startup or business? You can create it with your friends, see in your dreams or browse for them in Internet. We made a collection of startup ideas for you. All of them seem relevant for Podillya and other regions of Ukraine.

№1: virtual assistant

It’s fashionable to have a virtual assistant in 2019. All you need to start is a laptop and a good website. Promoting yourself in social media is not difficult too. Your have managment skills, but want to be a self-imployed person, it’s a great idea for launching a new business. Virtual assistant works remotely and completes everything that business owner or manager has a lack of time for. For example, it opens and answers e-mails, interacts with clients, invoices or pays bills. All these things are processed via cloud storage, so you can work from home and do not have to use lots of special devices.

№2: online secretary

It’s a nice service that you can provide without even living your home. Online secretary is the main assiatant of CEO or manager. To launch you business in this sphere you jast have to stay connected and be a user of some software products that help to organize information and provide it by demand.

№3: websites based on WordPress

Companies and enterpreneurs are ready to pay for creating their websites on a WordPress platform. If are patient enough to explore all the details of this platform (you can use free educational videos, for example), you could be successfull in creating websites and landing pages.

№4: blogging

Blogging is a tool for any business promotion. On the other hand, many blogs are dedicated to different hobbies. Describing your hobby or translating any interesting information, you engage the audience. If you succeed to promote your blog, it can become an effective informational platform which could involve brands and companies to cooperation. And one more populer part of blogging is vlogging (video-blogs in YouTube).

№5: travel guide

If you know a lot about your city or location and would like to share this info woth others, think over launching tourist business. Become a travel guide and get people aquainted with the neighborhood.

№6: antiques selling

Sellint antique things on special markets, stalls in trade centers or even in your own shop could be a good business idea.

№7: gardening

If you like nature and spending time in open air, launch a gardening business. This way you can do what you like and take care of business or individual clients, making their plants look great.

№8: carpentry

People need things made of wood. And becoming a carpenter you can do anything – from furniture to starling boxes. And then sell them to local companies on hand-made or flee markets.

№9: Cleaning company with mobile application

Try to run a cleaning company, but not a regular one but the one that proposes to book a cleaning in mobile app. This could safe time for clients and make easy payments.

№10: Lifehack platform for medics

Medics exchange information not only in text format, but also as video-lessons. Experienced doctors can help their young collegues be more efficient and skilled to increase professional level of medicine.

#itcastle 4: marketing, idea relevance and communications

Project’s team discussed relations of startup and wide market at “It Castle 4: msrketing, idea relevance and communications” meetup on December, 11.

It was a club meeting, where members introduced their sales experience and told about work with different types of target audience. Taking those into account, they concluded that even perfect marketing strategy’s fail is possible if dynamic market has an unexpected reaction for your product.

Anna Sira, manager of IT Casle, revealed details about development of communication strategies for projects, ideas and brands. This document has 3 blocks:

– basic info, where you mention everything: from idea to resources that your team has/ would like to have

– external communication, that serves for involving clients, selling products and have a positive project’s image

– internal communication, that leads to your team’s success

Tetiana Smetaniuk, IT Castle’s coach, mentionad that clear understanding of your target audience lets to defone strategy of communication with it and as a result have seccess in sales on this market.

She prepared an unusual task that could help to train sales skills. Participants of the meetup had to sell a rosemary bush without any information about its advantages. It was a big challenge for club’s members, but they succeeded.

Conclusion of meetup is that marketing is a critical part of any project and talent of selling plays an important role in project’s launch.

IT Startups as the main issue for meeting at industrial college

«IT Castle» team visited Kamyanets-Podilskyi industrial college to meet with first-year students of “Software engeneering” specialization.

Participants talked over success stories of Ukrainian and foreign startups. They used Facebook, Restream, Monobank, UGears and Dodo Socks examples to show the way IT can be engaged into project’s implementation. Coaches mentioned that there were 3 types of projects regarding the role of IT:

  • IT as a key component, where an idea and its implementation process are based on digital technologies;
  • IT as equivalent component, where idea is not connected to IT, but it is being implemented via technical decisions
  • IT as a service component, where ir is used just for marketing, communications and other related functions.

IT Castle’s coach Tetiana Smetaniuk and manager Anna Sira used practice and exercises to develop students’ creativity. they reviewed ways to find an idea (“stealing”, brainstorming in groups, problem solving and social intelligence), fast methods for working with idea on a startup beginning stage.

Students showed their interest to startups development issues and IT-market in Ukraine.


IT Castle is a startup-community in Kamyaets-Podilskyi, which is created to provide support for new startups development and exasting projects’ optimization. Community has meetings every two weeks which help to increase competence level of project work.

IT Castle sets up collaboration with industrial colledge

IT Castle project’s team visited Kamyanets’Podilskyi industrial colledge on December, 3. They came to tell about founding startup-community in the city, but also about ways to invent or fond an idea for your own business.

Tetiana Smetaniuk, IT Catle project’s coach, and Anna Sira, communications manager, had a talk with first-year students of specializations “Hotel and reataurant business” and “Computer technologies”.

Students together with project’s team discussed different ways to formilute an idea, means of relevant idea gemeration and stages of idea development. Tetiana and Anna mentioned that after idea generation you have to formulate your idea in a few words, define its aim, target audience, resourses and tools to use in process of its implementation.

Students worked on 7 interesting startup ideas in ecology, economics and technologies. they discussed ideas’ structure and perspective target audiences.

Finally, students inerested in further work with startup ideas, got to know more about IT Castle projects and ways to become startup-club’s members.

IT Castle is sure, that collaboration with colledge can help students be more creative, self-confident and effective in their own business ideas implementation.

IT Castle is a startup-community in Kamyaets-Podilskyi, which is created to provide support for new startups development and exasting projects’ optimization. Community has meetings every two weeks which help to increase competence level of project work.

#itcastle 3: making out the idea

The third IT Castle’s meetup took place on November, 27 in youth space LoveKa in Kamyanets-Podilskyi. The meeting brought together club’s members and new supperters of the idea of union for startup development.

Theme of the meeting was “Working with projects: making out the idea”.

Tetiana Smetaniuk, It Castle’s coach, and Anna Sira, communication consultant, together with meetup’s participants discussed some messages about ideas:

✔ the way to catch the idea
✔ methods for startup idea generation
✔ brevity is the soul of wit: let’s formulate an idea, a goal and mission

✔ planning tactic and strategy
✔ take off your pink glasses: let’s be frank about own resourses and needs.

Club’s members were active in generating new business-ideas, discussing startups and their definition and differences of startups and businesses. Using different methods they created two completely different ideas and gave answers for all questions that help to think over all project’s details and perform your idea in the best way.

Startup experience by Sergiy Domanitskyi

It Castle meetup-2 took place on November, 13th in Kamyanets-Podilskyi.

The second startup community meetup was hosted in youth space LoveKa. According to the topic of the event, Sergiy Domanitskyi, CEO Stradasol LLC, shared his experience of working with business ideas and projects.

It was an interesting and informative talk, where speaker and club’s members told over ideas and their chance for success. It was also stated that every single part of project is important including conception, technical implementation, marketing tools and CEO’s personal charm etc.

Sergiy told about 3 startup projects, which he implemented together with Stradasol team. He revealed some details:

– 3 startup projects

– question-answer session

– top statements about startups as a great way for ideas implementation and potential unleashing;

– finding inner motivation for making ideas come true;

– reasons of your possible failure and means to avoid it;

– top reasons for startups in Ukraine to be cool and full of positive perspectives.

At last Sergiy mentioned that anyone can join #itcastle community. See more details at www.facebook.com/itcastleua/ or ask at youth space LoveKa.