The end of 2016 was very busy for our team. Not only did we get accepted into Huge Thing, but also won a Startup Global competition and had a lot of people asking about our solution and, of course, its effectiveness. However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves and start from the beginning.
Because 2016 was very fruitful in information about AI related startups, not only worldwide but also in Poland, it was a good time for DeepDoc, which uses machine learning to predict and diagnose mood disorders based on Instagram pictures, and serves psycho-educational content via a Messenger chatbot, helping its users to improve their emotional well-being. It is valuable because only 50% of people suffering from mood disorders get proper help, mainly due to misdiagnosis and limited access to specialists. Considering the fact that there are 350 million people with mood disorders worldwide, we are facing a huge problem. Speaking about “huge” – Huge Thing was the first acceleration program that we have decided to apply to and we have gotten accepted.
We did not know what to expect, so we took everything at face value, nonetheless, we had our aims when entering the program. I can say now that a little over a month after Huge Thing ended, we got what we wanted. What was it we wanted?
Firstly, feedback from other participants, mentors and investors. The thing with feedback is that you need to know what to take from it and what to leave, otherwise you can get a bit dizzy with contradicting opinions. Nonetheless, during the 4 weeks of Huge Thing we have received a lot of feedback, which helped us take a bold step to try to market our service abroad. That was possible thanks to the people we have met while attending Huge Thing.
Networking is the second most valuable thing we got out of the program. Participating in Huge Thing allowed us to meet with other entrepreneurs from Poland and Germany; mentors, who are highly respected specialists in their fields of sales, marketing, legal aspects and even HR, which seems to be neglected in startup events. Each of the team was assigned to one of the mentors from Aviva and a group of cooperating mentors. Those one-on-ones benefited us a lot, both knowledge and networking wise. Also, people from Aviva gave us a sense of what kind of solutions are interesting for them. One thing to be changed in the future is the structure of those meetings – right from the beginning, I would make it clear how many hours the teams have with each mentor and how those meetings would look like. Nevertheless, thanks to Huge Thing’s networking, we are going to the U.K. to learn about the local market and what potential it holds for our product.
I believe in lifelong learning, especially in business; talking with people, reading books, attending seminars – all of these are important to grow. Of course, getting thing done is fundamental, but from my experience, too many founders neglect these elements stated above.
Especially to them, I recommend Huge Thing as a fast track to running a startup and a condensed dose of knowledge. Why? Because you can learn how to run a startup the hard way or the easy/easier way. I believe that attending Huge Thing will take you on the latter path.
Lastly, Huge Thing is over and it comes the time when we, as founders, and the program itself get verified. As for DeepDoc, we are executing our plan for 2017, gaining more and more interest from investors and organizations. We also have a big decision to make at the beginning of the second half of this year, namely whether we should focus on Polish or British market. We are supported by PAIZ, whom we met also thanks to the Huge Thing team. We are working with a research unit from SWPS to improve our algorithm and we are planning to use even more data to give our users a service of best quality and accuracy, hence the best chance for maintaining emotional well-being.
Piotr Podlaś, DeepDoc