The following is an inspiring story from a Startup Weekend attendee whose journey throughout the weekend dramatically changed his life. Read how Philippe Gelis’ time at Startup Weekend inspired him and set him on a path of new learning, it is a fantastic piece.
I am Philippe, I live in Barcelona and spent 6 years working in the consulting industry… until the 29th October 2010 when my life definitely changed thanks to SW! I was thinking about creating my own business for years. I did not stop reading, thinking and writing business plans. The SW Barcelona was the game-changer. I came with my co-founder and a consolidated business idea but in this moment we had no engineers to developp the Website, we were just businessguys. There we meet John, an american who is now our CTO and created a strong balanced team! We finally won some awards (Best team…) and had the opportunity to picth to investors.
The following thursday we invited John to have dinner and decided to create kantox.com, a disruptive currency hedging solution without banking intermediation. Something like eBay but to barter future currency flows. We built a Beta, have a test with some clients and started to look for seed financing. In March we won the OMExpo Investor Day with 25.000 Euros prize money, in April my co-founder and I resigned from Deloitte to work full-time (no salary) for Kantox, in May we won the SeedRocket Campus with 17.000 Euros prize money and in June we won the Financial Congress Corporate Award.
During these months we did not stop speaking to clients to obtain feedback (that was gold for us). Some of them clearly backed us and definitely convinced us that our currency hedging solution has a large potential demand. For regulation matters, we decided to create our company in London UK even if the IT team remained in Barcelona. In July we just closed a 150.000 Euros seed funding round.
We launched the service in September 2011 and started looking for traction in full boostrapping mode. We now have 35 registered clients and closed deals for around 600.000 USD, charged our first fees, our clients are repeating. We hired a polish developer to help John in October and next week a Belgian intern will join us.
We know that the most complicated moments are on the way to come: Series A funding, selling, growing, etc. But the most important is that during the last 12 months we learned more than in the last 12 years. We are really happy to go to the office daily cause we know that we will have fun building a disruptive business.
That’s the way SW changed our lives!