What’s dvel’s appeal?
Dvel combines photo sharing with voting. Our app users upload a ‘dvel’ and let their followers or our lovely community vote on it for the next 24 hours. A dvel is made up of two photos that represent the options the users are voting for. Basically, you take two photos with your smartphone and that’s it. The app does the rest. I think the appeal lies in the fact that our users are free to use our app however they want to. Some need help with choosing their next outfit, so they ask the community to vote on what they should wear. Others want to motivate themselves to go out for a run. When you need a friend’s advice, it’s comforting to know they’re there for you.
The response we have with dvel is amazing. Because it’s more than sharing things with your friends. It’s about getting an instant opinion or feedback from them. And it works so fast. The first votes come within seconds of uploading your dvel. People want to help each other and have fun doing it. And dvel brings these two things together.
What is your background and how did you get the idea for dvel?
You could say that I am a serial entrepreneur, but I don’t believe in labels. It just means that I've been working a lot. I worked on other startups before dvel. We had good results, but I wasn’t seeing the success I was hoping for.
Taking time to reassess your goals and get a fresh perspective is the best thing you can do in those moments. And that’s exactly what I did. I spent some time in Los Angeles at Talenthouse and spoke with mentors and talent from Silicon Valley. It helped tremendously. That was when the idea for dvel sort of materialized. In February 2015 I was back in Vienna and founded the company together with Manfred Strasser (COO) and Philipp Holly (CTO), who bring a lot of experience as well. I was incredibly lucky to have such a great team right from the start.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
When you develop an app, you’re essentially taking a risk. Be aware of that, but don’t let it interfere with your work. It’s important to learn how to trust your instincts. We put everything else on hold and worked a lot on dvel. Fortunately for us, our risk paid off. Also, focus on bringing people on board that believe in your work. Finding the right team can be challenging, but it’s the most important step.
Dvel has just raised seed funding, how has that changed things and what are the next steps?
It's great to witness the growing interest in dvel, especially from investors. The recent seed funding we received really consolidated what our instincts were telling us. And of course, we have more opportunities now. We just moved into our new office and our team got bigger. We are still focusing a lot of our attention on product development. We want to make dvel as user-friendly and intuitive as possible.
What are the advantages of having dvel's head office in Vienna?
Vienna is a great city to live in and the startup community is still young. This means a lot of incubators, co-working spaces and angel investors are only just discovering this location. There is also a lot of interest from research facilities, government and other businesses to push innovation and encourage young entrepreneurs. If you are thinking about founding a company in Vienna, this is the best time to do it.