Last week we had the pleasure of connecting with Agata Tomaszewska, Co-Founder and CEO at Crossa and avid cyclist placing 3rd in both the 2014 and 2016 British University Championships. Agata founded Crossa with Ned Boulting, ITV’s Tour de France Presenter and serial entrepreneur Luke Deering. During the interview, Agata sheds light on how to juggle launching a new company while studying for a PhD. Definitely a must read for all those in full time educating looking to start a company and leverage the resources at your disposal via the university.
Click HERE to download Crossa.
What is Crossa?
Crossa is a free mobile app that focuses on connecting the road cycling community with one another. Crossa also supports the efforts of cycling clubs to keep their members both connected and better informed on club related information, such as rides and activities.
How did you come up with the idea for Crossa?
I’m an avid cyclist so Crossa came about due to my own experiences on the bike. Shortly after moving to England from Scotland, I went for a ride and got a broken spoke miles away from my house. Not knowing where the nearest train station was or how much a taxi home would be I spent hours waking and then eventually waiting for a train to get back home. After discussing my experience with fellow cyclists Crossa was born.
I think the biggest challenge for me was to do with my personality. I am quite reserved and shy- typical engineer. Going from there to founding a company was quite a change. I didn’t know how to network or ask for feedback and support. I am a control freak and as an Aerospace Systems Engineer I am used to planning everything to the smallest detail. Starting a technological company you just can’t do that, none of your plans go as planned and things are constantly coming up that are unpredictable. Flexibility and speed is everything in the StartUp world- I know that now.
I think starting a company while you’re a student is a great idea. I actually started Crossa while I was finishing my Master’s Degree at Glasgow University and then moved to Southampton University to start my PhD. The only advice I would give to other students thinking of starting their own company is to make the most from what university has to offer. Go to legal support at uni to gain assistance with your terms and conditions, visit the business school lecturers to gain feedback on your business model also stop by the marketing department where you can find eager marketing interns… In general, people are open to help students so don’t be shy to ask for help. Finally, reach out to the alumni department at your university, they can connect you with successful graduates for advice and make high value introductions.
A massive thank you to Agata for taking the time out of her busy schedule to put down some awesome answers to our questions. Be sure to check out Crossa and to follow them on both twitter and Facebook!
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