Alumni Spotlight: Q&A with Sanja Zepan, Homey App Founder

By

Sanja Zepan & Saso Pompe founders of Homey developed through Start Co.'s Upstart accelerator program

Sanja Zepan & Saso Pompe, founders of the Homey app, developed their company through Start Co.’s Upstart accelerator program.

Inspired by living with housemates, Sanja Zepan created the mobile app, Homey, to simplify chore management. The Homey app motivates households to complete chores through its game-like design. Originally from Slovenia, Sanja and co-founder Saso Pompe participated in Start Co.’s Upstart summer accelerator program. Memphis was the ideal location to establish HomeyLabs since the majority of their users happen to live in the Mid South. Zepan shared with us her entrepreneurial experience with Start Co.

Q: Where did the idea for your business come from?

A: My co-founder and I lived together and had a chore chart on the wall that just wasn’t working. So we decided to make an app for it. We then got a lot of feedback from parents that they would love an app like this. We started doing interviews with parents and found out all about chore management, allowance tracking, and how parents use it to teach kids about the value of work and the basics of financial literacy.

Q: What was your favorite or most impactful experience at Start Co.?

A: My favorite experience was actually BBQ festival. We got to see how Start Co. is part of the community in Memphis. Start Co. brought all these entrepreneurs, investors and mentors to Memphis and fed them pulled pork in a tent with a view over the Mississippi River, and we were able to mingle and network in this incredible setting- it was amazing!  

Q: What were your expectations coming into the Start Co. program and how did that change?

A: We came from Slovenia to Memphis to meet southern parents, because they were our users. We are neither parents nor southern, so we needed to find out why our app appeals to them and what do we needed to do to make a business out of it. We were happy that customer discovery was one of Start Co.’s focuses and they were superb in helping us through this process.

Q: What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

A: Customer interviews, quick iterations, and a lot of testing.

Q: If you were looking at another accelerator, why did you choose Start Co.?

A: Mostly because of location- Memphis is a big city, with a lot of suburbs that fit our customer segment. We were also impressed with the interview we had and how our cohort leader contacted us and started making plans for us right away. We felt the personal touch that Start Co. brings and how they really get involved in your business.  

Q: If you went to another program how was your experience different at Start Co.?

A: Start Co. hit the sweet spot for where we were in our business progress. We needed exactly those lessons and mentors they provided. I believe it’s important to assess if an accelerator focuses on growth, selling, B2B, and product.

Q: If you were to sell another founder on why Start Co. and why Memphis what would you say?

A: The startup community in Memphis is young, but it is extremely well connected. Because of the small size of the community, everybody here is much more accessible and involved. So while for instance in San Francisco, you’re one of a hundred founders trying to get the attention of a mentor in just one week, in Memphis they actually have the time and energy to help you. This was incredibly important for us as foreigners, as we came here without any connections.  Memphis also has quite a few big companies and they too are eager to work with startups. Since the pool of startups in Memphis is small, you’ll have a great shot at landing a partnership.

Q: How can people reach you?

A: Connect with Homey through their website www.homeyapp.net or via info@homeyapp.net. Sanja affirms that the team is “always happy to hear from our users, talk about possible partnerships, or advise anyone that’s walking the startup journey and thinks we might help in any way, so don’t hesitate to reach out!”

_____________________________________________________________

Interested in pursuing your entrepreneurial dreams? Apply before Wednesday March 1, 2017 at http://neverstop.co/accelerators/.

About Emma MacCurdy

2017 Spring Intern