ITU startups: deemly
Deemly creates trust between users in the sharing economy by aggregating reviews across platforms. The idea arose from an ITU thesis and today the ambition is to allow people around the world to exchange goods and services without worries.
Whether you are renting out your place to American tourists or hitching a ride with a stranger, a prerequisite for the sharing economy is trusting the person on the other end.
Sara Green Brodersen became aware of the need to build trust among users of platforms like Airbnb and eBay while working on her thesis on the sharing economy. After handing in the thesis, she brought together four people from her network and founded deemly, a reputation site that collects user reviews from many different platforms and converts them into an overall credibility score. The basic idea behind the company is that credibility and trust among users increases activity on the platforms - for the benefit of both the pocketbooks of the users and the resources of our planet.
What prompted you to start your own business?
"Deemly is my third business, so I've probably always had a dream about starting a company. During my thesis I noticed the problem of trust between users, which is so essential for the sharing economy. So I started studying possible solutions that could be supported by technology. In this way, the idea grew, and step by step we have grown ever since.”
What is the biggest challenge you have faced as an entrepreneur?
"When you're an entrepreneur, you are constantly faced with new challenges, so you have to learn to accept and thrive in chaos. Fortunately, I have also had people to spar with, and it is valuable - especially if they have been in the same situation.”
How has your time at ITU prepared you for the task?
"Generally, I think the most important skill academic education provides is problem solving. The faster you can identify, analyse and understand a problem, the faster you can fix it. This is an important ability when you start a business because everything happens so fast. Of course, my understanding of the technology and our market has also been strengthened through specific subjects and assignments."
What is ITU's greatest strength in relation to entrepreneurship - the students, the teachers or the environment?
"For me it was important that many of my fellow students were entrepreneurs. It is inspiring to mirror yourself in others, and it gives you the courage to do the same. The fact that many students are entrepreneurs affects the environment, as do initiatives like ITU Innovators."
What is ITU good at?
"I have a strong academic foundation, but at the same time I have also learned to implement my knowledge in practice. I'll probably never need to code in C# again, but the fact that I have coded myself means that I have an understanding of how long it takes to build a system. I also think that many of the subjects present the latest research and industry developments in our field, so we are up-to-date with what is happening, whereas other universities still teach books from the 80s. "
How can ITU become better at supporting entrepreneurs?
"It would be cool to integrate entrepreneurship more in classes, for instance working with cases that represents the technology of start-ups, and not always focus on large companies. Why not invite entrepreneurs to share their views on a field?"
What is your best advice for those who are considering starting their own business?
"Talk to people about your idea. Many are afraid to talk about their ideas for fear that someone might steal them, which rarely happens. When you talk to people, you get valuable feedback as well as help and contacts you would not have gotten otherwise. Okay, if you have a patent pending, don’t talk about it, but that is so rare. "
Where do you see deemly in five, 10 or 20 years?
"The dream is that anyone can make all peer-to-peer transactions online without having to worry about trusting the person on the other end. In this way, the sharing economy can hopefully help to save our resources and improve our personal finances. Our 1,000-day goal is to be present on all continents, so we have to run fast! "