Recently we caught up with Stefano Cutello, Co-Founder of PastBook. During the interview, Stefano introduces us to PastBook while sharing advice abut the business plan process and applying to an accelerator program. PastBook is a graduate of the RockStart accelerator program in Amsterdam.
PastBook collects all your memories in one –safe– place, detached from each social network, providing you with a unique experience to easily relive and share, either on-line, through a tablet or offline through a pdf or even in a tangible way, a printed book. PastBook’s algorithm automatically highlights your memories based on their vibrancy, keeping them chronologically organized. PastBook will let you easily rediscover and customize your past in an easy, fast and time saving way.
I started my first web-agency company in Italy when I was 18. Technology and web programming was always my first passion. And it’s still like that. A couple of years ago I started working at eBay Italy. Since I had some free time I decided to start a new project to keep me busy
I had the idea of PastBook when my father was showing me his diaries and photo albums of him in his younger days. Then I thought: will I ever be able to provide the same experience to my (future) son? The answer of course was “no” because my entire life is digital, spread everywhere on the web on different social networks. That’s why I created PastBook: to let people easily save, rediscover and share their memories, on-line and off-line.
We started the project ‘for fun’ in Italy and then we moved to Amsterdam to join the RockStart Accelerator.
What were some of the challenges that you faced starting a company?
Keeping focused. We entered the accelerator with a lot of ideas in mind. Other than that, every day we were receiving feedback from people that were suggesting us to go left, then right, then pivot. It was really up to us to decide where to go and how. Using lean methodologies, customer development helped us to evaluate all the ideas and feedbacks, defining our value proposition to stick with.
It was really hard to find talented people that are willing to you join a startup in the really really early stage, especially here in Europe. Luckily we were able to find the right people and build a team that rocks.
You were part of the RcokStart accelerator program, what difference do you feel being part of an accelerator made to your company?
RockStart accelerated our company and our entire life. We came to Amsterdam without knowing anybody, with a MVP and a big dream.
We were able to get the focus we were needing, working full-time on the project and turn a project into a company. We also managed to get in touch with a lot of entrepreneurs and investors that otherwise would have been very hard to contact.
What advice would you give to people looking to start a company?
My mantra is that Hardwork is the way to succeed and there’s no other way to achieve your goal(s) without getting your hands dirty.
Be agile in whatever you do, be fast in the execution and even faster in changing what’s wrong or what’s not working. Talk to your (possible) customers and validate your idea, let it change if needed.
In few words: Think big. Keep focus. Move fast.
What advice would you give to an entrepreneur looking to get their company into an accelerate program?
It’s all about people. The most important thing that the accelerator gives to you is the network. They will give you the opportunity to meet a lot of other founders, entrepreneurs and investors, but then it is up to you to build a relationship with these guys and take the best out of that first meeting. That’s your work.
Be ready to disrupt your idea and get out of your comfort zone: sometimes you have to step back to find your focus. Validate your idea being lean and fast in whatever you do, it’s all about execution step after step.
A massive thank you to Stefano for taking the time out of his busy schedule to put down some awesome answers to our questions. We look forward to catching back up with PastBook next year to see how things are going. You can also follow them on twitter!
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