Sooner or later it happens to the most of the people: marriage. WedMap is a wedding portal, which helps couples to plan their big day in an easy way. We talked with the co-founders Tauras and Gian, who have participated at the Startup Essentials from venturelab and accumulated a lot of knowledge from those workshops.
People spend tons of hours organizing the most beautiful day of their lives. However, it seems that there is no easy way to plan a wedding – at least until now. Tauras Sinkevicius, Gian Filippo Floriddia, Pawel Lukaszewicz are on the mission to change that. They created a wedding platform which simplifies the search of wedding vendors online. A few weeks they launched the app. We sat down with Tauras and Gian and talked with them about their company, love and their startup experiences.
Tauras, Gian, tell us your story. Who are you and what did you study?
Tauras: I’m Tauras, 26 years old, originally from Lithuania, but moved to Switzerland 4 years ago. I’ve studied Business Economics in University of Surrey in England and spent 1 exchange year in Singapore. I started my first startup at the age of 19 in education management field, where we helped Lithuanian students to get admitted into foreign universities, organized language courses, camps and so on.
Gian: I’m Gian, I’m 39 years old even if I look much younger (smiling). I’m Italian but I was born and raised in Switzerland. My studies were pointing me directly to a bank but my creative root prevailed so around 15 years ago I started to work as a graphic design and I opened my own agency after few years. I traveled and worked in many countries especially in London/UK were I refine my web-design skills.
How did you two meet each other?
Tauras: Before coming to Switzerland, one of my friend said: “Oh cool, I know this great couple in Zurich, you should definitely meet them!” So as soon as I came to Switzerland my girlfriend, Gian and his girlfriend were one of the first people I met in Switzerland and we became friends right away! We share a love for startups and entrepreneurship and that made us even better friends. Our girlfriends are good friends now too!
There is a third co-founder in your company. Who is he and what does he do?
Gian: Our third team member is Pawel. He is responsible for the tech development part in WedMap. Pawel is from Poland, where he grew up, went to studies and now lives there, building one of the greatest wedding platform the world have ever seen! We met Pawel on Elance.com – where we found that his skills and personality really fitted our vision and ambitions! He is a great guy who makes all our dreams come true and basically is a real-life ‘YES’ man!
How did you come about WedMap?
Tauras: The idea came when my fiancée (now wife) asked me help to find us a wedding location, because she was getting stressed that she can’t find anything! Like usual, I started at Google. After hours and hours of browsing 10s of different websites, forums and blogs I still couldn’t find the right location for our dream day. I couldn’t understand why in the age of Amazon, Uber and AirBnB it takes so much browsing time to find what you are really looking for. Being the entrepreneur at heart, I suddenly saw a problem that needs to be solved and told Gian about it. He loved it and we decided to work together and make our vision a reality.
And then we created WedMap – a wedding portal, where you just tell what are you looking for, what is your budget and a date of your day and then you get results of all possible wedding vendors. At the moment, couple can just give us this information and we’ll find everything what they are looking – totally for free, but we are working on automating this process and deliver instant results and save even more time for the couple!
Why should people use your website?
Gian: Because we save tremendous amount of time and stress. Everybody who is planning or ever planned a wedding knows how stressful and time consuming finding your dream wedding professionals is. Average wedding planning takes around 300h of pure time and big majority of it for finding and booking the right wedding professionals. Using WedMap, “, forget about the stress and finally focus only the love!
There is no CEO in your company. Gian and you are a team. How do you manage that?
Gian: We believe that in the small team of 3 co-founders it makes more sense focusing on building something that people love and working as a team of leaders, rather than building a hierarchy at early stage. We are good at what we do and it works well at the moment. If we feel the time has come to name somebody a CEO of WedMap – we’ll do that without hesitation.
You have launched your website a few weeks ago. How is the response?
Tauras: The response is great! We are already working with couples personally, helping them to find wedding professionals which could make their wedding day the best! We also received a lot of positive feedback from already married couples, who said they wish something like this existed when they were planning the big day. But luckily – there are more than 40’000 marriages in Switzerland every year, so there are still a lot of people which we can make happy.
You visited the Startup Essentials organized by venturelab. What did you learn there?
Gian: First of all – big thanks to the guys behind these workshops – Stefan and Philip. They did a really great job organizing everything and getting the best speakers to run the workshops. We learned everything from how to build a solid ground for your business, grow it and raise investment. To be honest, without these workshops we definitely wouldn’t be at the place we are now.
Did it have an impact on you and your company?
Tauras: Oh YES! After every workshop we would spend couple of hours evaluating and asked ourselves: “Are we doing things right and how we can improve?” Couple of big decisions on marketing, sales and business development was influenced mainly by the coaching we got in the workshops. Plus we made couple of good friends there and expanded our network of Swiss entrepreneurs and investors!
At every workshop there was a different speaker. Who was your favorite and why?
Tauras: My personal favorite was Jan Bomholt. It was great to hear many tips and tricks on building a successful business and I really loved his approach on tackling problems and challenges in marketing and business development. And the fact that he never failed a venture is just crazy.
Gian: I think that all the speakers were great! But if I really need to choose one out of them, I would favorite Kai Glatt of The Rokker Company. I feel very comfortable to communicate to people and I love to sell and I think Kai is not only a great entrepreneur but even a great salesman. We hope to meet him again one day.
What are the next few steps?
Tauras: At the moment, we are concentrating on main tasks:
1. Letting all the couples marrying in Switzerland know that we have created this great platform for them and invite to try it out. It only takes few minutes and makes their life much easier!
2. Working on building best quality database of wedding vendors in Switzerland and the automating process of matching couples and wedding vendors.
3. Finding the right investor which we can grow with and reach our goals faster and stronger.
And of course – we keep on spreading love!
Psst! Want to join the next Startup Essentials workshops? And get the know-how and tools required to accelerate the development of projects and startups? Additionally six experts who once started with their project and had huge success afterwards, will tell their story. The Startup Essentials will start at 29th September 2015 at ETH Zurich and EPF Lausanne. Apply for it now.