A VENTURE PROGRAMME SUCCESS STORY
This success story was part of the EIT Digital Venture Programme, supporting entrepreneurial teams with deep tech business ideas to finalise their MVP and start their venture. Click here for more information and to apply for the 2020 edition.
Hotspoter is one of the startups that completed the EIT Digital Venture Program. The founders enrolled with their project idea in 2019, and already have a substantial business partner – Eurobank. Optimising the location of banks’ ATMs is just one promising application of the developed solution. Although the initial idea came from the financial and banking sector, several other areas could benefit from finding the best location with Hotspoter. We asked Igor Anicic, CEO, about the development strategy and the company’s experience with EIT Digital’s programme.
Hotspoter is a location intelligence platform that provides information on places with the highest visitation impact – it finds the best location based on given parameters. Igor Anicic explains that: “The idea for Hotspoter came to us as a direct request from bank employees. At that time, I was working for NCR, a Financial Software SME. The bank’s employees needed software that can tell where to deploy a new ATM unit. After eight months of research, we had noticed that this problem occurred in other business sectors as well. That was the rationale for coming up with our current solution.”
As a startup on the B2B market, Hotspoter is working with other companies in the SaaS business model. They currently provide consulting services to customers. “Besides, we are moving towards our goal, to become a subscription-based service provider. All the analysis is performed by our team after we understand the client's needs, revenue streams and goals. Every analysis we create is unique and tailored for every customer,” says Anicic about the service. "After finishing the analysis, the customers can log into the platform, download the reports and see the data. Then, they can also call for a Location Intelligence report generated by the platform.”
Hotspoter’s service is based on three pillars: a great expert team, customer focus and being good listeners. Within the core team, people have known each other for 15 years now, making communication much easier. Anicic underlines that being a good listener is a multifunctional attribute: “We do not have to listen only to our customers, but also to our mentors and investors. This leads us higher and higher on the road to success!”
We hear almost everywhere that being customer-focused is one of the most important values of a successful company. As Anicic confirms, this viewpoint is just as valid in the startup-scene. “Running a successful startup requires a lot of work in all fields. But the most important one is to focus on your customers, before anything else. All other important tasks are related to customers: fitting to the market, solving problems or adding value. The client’s going to give feedback about these, so we should be attentive.”
The secret for success
Having a successful company is not just about having a good idea and fate. The project must address potential clients' needs. As founders, the people behind Hotspoter had to find the missing piece of the puzzle, a niche in the market. After developing a great idea, the next step was finding investors and a growth path. In the case of Hotspoter, EIT Digital’s Venture Program was the perfect place to start. “It helped us to build a solid foundation to grow and scale. Its main focus was on business and how to prepare the MVP. During the programme, we had different courses from pitching sessions and customer interviews to ‘how to talk to potential investors’ training. It made our service clearer and helped us to identify the other sectors to cover,” summarises Anicic.
Following the incorporation process, Hotspoter is now an international company with many opportunities. “Our customers are mid-size to large companies, that have a physical product or service to deliver to their clients. Our first client is Eurobank AG, Serbia, and now we have a few more banks in Serbia in our pipeline. We are also working on our service's extension to other sectors like finding the best places for tobacco points. We are good listeners, so we are looking for new opportunities in our surroundings,” says Anicic about the promising future.