Interview with the co-founder of Hype! app Gintare
How did you come up with the idea of Hype app?
Well, I’m not local, I came to London 4 years ago and I always had this trouble, you know, when you go somewhere, you want to go out, have a good time, sometimes you have friends over, you are in the most creative city in Europe and then you kind of don’t know what’s happening. Is this bar cool? Is there an exhibition round the corner? Is this gig good? Where can I get the tickets? So I always struggled to find things like this. Then I met my co-founder, who agreed “yeah that sucks, I also just had friends over, there were 100 galleries and I didn’t know where to start!”. So basically we both had this problem ourselves and we thought to try it out, so what we did was that we started posting daily updates on Twitter and Instagram taking pictures and saying “Hey guys, there’s a live exhibition going on here, etc.”. Our friends and us were going around the city, taking pictures of things that were happening at that moment in that place and posting them. So what we saw was that we started getting so many followers looking at the pictures and going to the places we reccommended just because they would see the real atmosphere and get the information what is happening and what is cool. So then we said ok, let’s build the app. It took us 2 months to build it and we successfully launched it.
Why did you start with Shoreditch? (The original name of the app - Shoreditch Hype)
Everyone knows that Shoreditch is one of the most creative neighbourhoods in Europe. You have everything here from large tech companies to fashionistas, so called hipster culture, galleries, coffee shops, pop – ups. It’s super creative and it’s super cool. So many cool people, amazing ideas and so on. This is personally my favourite area in London and I thought it was a great place to start with. Also, all of our first employess were from this neighbourhood as well.
Did you have loads of sleepless nights whenever you just started?
(laughs) Yeah, I still do.
What was your biggest fear before starting your own business?
Well, you know, I think I’m one of these people who are dilllusional so I don’t really have any fears. If I want to do it, I just do it. If I decided that this is something I’m interested in, I would just go for it. So I wouldn’t say I had any fears. Well, I had some challenges, like hiring first people, getting the funding for the app, then understanding how to manage people, how to hire, how to fire, how to look at the users who use the app, how to improve it. These were more like day-to-day challenges I deal with, but I love it. But talking about fears…I just think there are so many opportunities now for young people that you just have to go for it and don’t be afraid.
Would you say that it’s hard for young talents to break into the real business world?
I think there’s definitely a lot of competition going on. I think it also really depends on the industry you’re in. I have some friends in fashion and it’s super competitive, they work 2-3 years for free for the company just to get somewhere. But I think in general if you know what you’re doing, you can just Google and find sources, like-minded people, just start something and try it out. It is challenging but I think it’s definitely easier than it was 10 years ago because of developed technologies and knowledge we have. So it’s really just about finding what you want and then going for it.
Talent or luck?
What you know or who you know?
What you know.
Would you call yourself talented or lucky?
I would call myself hard-working (laughs). I think everywhere is like this: you have 1% of talent, then 99% of work. (so no luck at all?) Luck, yes, actually yeah, maybe…5% of luck, 5% of talent and the rest is hard work. Talent is important but If you don’t work to develop the talent, then I don’t know, I don’t know.
How has your life changed after graduation?
Well, now I have less time to eat, I probably drink less beers and more wines. Then, I had to wake up earlier when I went to university, because sometimes I would have lectures that started at 8am, while now I can wake up at 9am (laughs). Also I think now I hang out less with my age group people, but more with either younger or older people, people I work with or investors.
Would you say that it’s extremely difficult for a fresh grad to land a good job straight after graduation?
This is an amazing question. I have a prospective from the eyes of employer rather than employee because I’m hiring quite a lot of graduates. I would say that for a talented and hard-working person, who shows that he did some extra work, his homework, he’s interested in something and knows his shit – it’s easy. I see so many young people who just come here to the interviews and they don’t know what they want or anything about the industry, technology or even the famous names of the artists – they don’t have any expertise in their field and didn’t do any extra work. So I think for those who did it, it’s super easy, you can see the talent right away and you think straight away “I’m just going to hire them’. So in general I think for graduates it is challenging because so few of them are actually doing what they love and working hard to get somewhere.
What are your biggest future ambitions?
I’d like to bring Hype to 10 cities in the world. This is a huge huge ambition of mine. Here in London we already have North London, Central London and East. We still need South and West. We also want to launch in New York and San Francisco, maybe Tokyo, Berlin and Paris too. All these countries they have different languages, cultures and different things going on, so this is one of my biggest ambition and what I really want to achieve.