The winner of STARTER Haapsalu, Tallinn and Kohtla-Järve programs, leader of team DOKAS Gytis Dovydaitis reveals how they feel about STARTER program and after winning.
Why did you decided to participate in the program?
There were multiple reasons that supported our decision. At first, it’s the knowledge that program seemed to provide. Before coming to Tallinn we already were building a gamification experiment in the context of Kaunas European Capital of Culture 2022. We had gathered a team of 6 culture enthusiasts, called it Dokas, and had so much fun by brainstorming ideas and building them into a reality. We launched alpha version of Dokas in January and we felt that it’s possible to make a sustainable business out of it. However, nobody in our team ever had any background in business or entrepreneurship, so we were struggling with having focus, formulating a clear value proposition and creating a business plan for this. When I received an invitation to participate in STARTERtallinn program, I had no second thoughts. It seemed to provide everything what we need! Or at least to put us on the right track. Moreover, STARTER also provided ECTS credits, so that was valuable for me as an Erasmus+ exchange student. Finally, me and Rūta came to Tallinn in order to grow ourselves both as professionals and as human beings. One of the internal agreements we had made at the very beginning was to participate in as many opportunities as it was possible. Everything brought together made it a no brainer to participate.
What was most useful for you in this journey in STARTER?
Totally the central benefit that we gained over this journey is the full certainty that Dokas can grow into profitable business. Before coming here, we had a lot of enthusiasm, many ideas, and pure joy in the product that we are making. Even though we believed that it had business potential, but that’s not enough. Dreams are one thing, plans are something else. STARTER provided us with an inspiring social context of entrepreneurs and knowledge-packed lectures that helped us to structure our thought and focus our vision. Now we are 100% sure that we can and we will make this work!
How does it feel winning this competition?
Even though we did our best, winning still came as a big surprise. We were thinking about third or second place, but definitely not the first one. There were so many great teams in the competition! I realized what happened only after I left the event. Then I immediately shared the news with the team, as everybody was in Lithuania at that time, working on our project. That was the point when I felt a lot of emotions: big gratitude for having this opportunity, confidence that we can really make this work, enthusiasm in building everything to the best of our ability, happiness in getting recognized, pity for the other teams that I truly believed in, and the desire for more knowledge and practice. As we are building Dokas, we are constantly making mistakes that we become aware of always too late. We learn from them and that feels extremely empowering. There is a big journey ahead of us and we are all thrilled to experience it all!
Team DOKAS develops a social app and NFT-based collectible card game which helps to build and sustain relationships between cultural institutions and their visitors. Team memers are: Gytis Dovydaitis, Ruta Petrauskaite.