“The most valuable gift from a technology partner isn’t money, it’s mentoring, and especially the fact that they share what they’ve learned from their mistakes.”
Co-founder, Sewio Networks
The story of Sewio Networks is not directly tied up with the JIC STARCUBE accelerator. However, an important role in their development was played by one of the accelerator’s technology partners, the company Y Soft.
“We contacted Y Soft ten months after setting up the company. We weren’t looking for just an investor, more important was finding a technology partner for our product,” says Milan Šimek about the start of their co-operation.
It turned out that Y Soft was so taken with the technology for locating and tracking indoor movement in real time that they invested into Sewio a million dollars. But let’s go back to the beginning.
Support was greater than we’d expected
Although Sewio contacted multiple firms in 2014, the team was in fact pinning their biggest hopes on Y Soft. They appreciated the fact that the company was based in Brno, that they had their own manufacturing process, and had experience developing both software and hardware. All in all, they ticked all the items on Sewio’s wish-list.
Even though co-operation with a big company was the goal, because Y Soft was the first investor, at the outset the prospect of such collaboration also gave rise to misgivings.
“We were worried that we’d lose control over the decision-making process. We took a long time thinking things over very carefully before finally signing the contract. Now we know, looking back, that co-operation has certainly been worth it.”
Y Soft has been an active partner and promotes us themselves
The million-dollar investment from Y Soft Ventures has enabled Sewio to make its production faster and more effective. In their co-operation, Sewio was pleasantly surprised not only by the speed at which support was provided, but also with the mentoring and specialist consultation. Moreover, they also got their access to the Y Soft production line, which they have continued using to this day.
“It may seem a cliché, but the mentoring was also important for us. Partnership with Y Soft likewise gave us invaluable know-how. On top of that, they also advertise us with their customers.”
JIC has also played a role in the story. As a participant in the JIC MASTER programme, Sewio was given back-office support for the presentation of products as well as work and test space, and many consultation sessions.
Sewio delivers a HW&SW platform for precise indoor location based on ultra-wideband (UWB) technology. This system has been given the name RTLS (Real Time Location System). Generally referred to as “Indoor GPS”, it is used for operations in logistics centres, for example. It can also be used in retail chains or for monitoring the movement of people during sporting and cultural events. Customers can optimise the movement of employees, equipment or plant, thus improving safety and reducing losses arising as a result of collision or human error.
Accelerator JIC STARCUBE
Strong cooperation with partners is part of the longest running Czech accelerator JIC STARCUBE. Since 2010 more than 72 start-ups have entered the program. Teams experience three months loaded with knowledge, workshops, meetings with mentors and connecting to global technology companies. They gain benefits and financial support for testing and prototyping, legal and tax services, marketing, travel reimbursement and accommodation. Successful companies which have gone through the accelerator include, for example, GINA, Reservio and currently one of the fastest growing start-ups Kiwi (formerly Skypicker).
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