Heavenote founder Vincenzo meets Innovify chief Maulik at speed pitching; the result? Social media sharing and video messaging from beyond the grave!
Vincenzo Rusciano has been on Spanish TV. He’s been broadcast all across South America talking about the startup he founded, which I promise you happens to be one of the most original ideas you, or anybody you know, will ever have heard of. And one of the most useful too. For starters, the market penetration is 100% of the world’s population. It’s a service none of us can do without. But it could be argued Vincenzo’s biggest break came when he pitched his idea for the fist time at one of our speed pitching nights. Intrigued? Read on!
Vincenzo has been many things during his career to date; he’s worked at Citibank, and Dell Computers, travelled all over the world, been a diving instructor, owned and ridden a high performance motorcycle at speed in excess of 130mph…and he’s died every day for the past 2 years! Not literally of course (that would be hideous!), but virtually, to test that his startup is working.
So how does Vincenzo’s startup Heavenote work? The platform he has built allows users to record and store messages for their family, friends and loved ones; messages which can only be unlocked and transmitted after the user has passed away.
Heavenote locks the messages you record, be they video, audio, or written, securely into the platform using data encryption, and gives you 2 options; you can either pass the unique code that unlocks the data to a trusted friend, who can activate them on your behalf at the appropriate time, or you can self test; the platform sends you a message after a set period of time; if you don’t reply after several attempts are made to elicit a response, the messages are automatically unlocked and delivered. Hence, to test his platform works, Vincenzo has to die at least once a day!
The story is so bizarre it fascinated the Spanish and South American media giving Vincenzo his first break, with the number of registered users shooting up by 90% after he was interviewed and featured in blogs, Facebook groups and on Spain’s biggest TV channel. Now that he had proved concept and gained traction, Vincenzo’s next stop was London’s thriving startup scene, and let’s be honest, nobody can really call themselves a startup founder in London until they have pitched at a HHH speed pitching night!
Vincenzo’s pitch was a good one; spooky and inspiring: “get on our website and learn more about our services…while you still can!” But the underlying idea is a serious, and an uplifting one…
“A few years ago somebody very close to me passed away suddenly, and tragically, he didn’t have enough time to reach out to his loved ones, including me, who lived far away from him, so I never got to say goodbye”, says Vincenzo. “I remember thinking if there was a way I could have shared some final moments with them, it would have given me a sense of closure and I know it would have given them great satisfaction to have said goodbye personally.” Ultimately he realised there was a way, so he decided that he would be the one to build it.
In fact managing one’s digital legacy is a phenomenon that is quickly growing in importance. Family members and friends do not want the extra hassle and heartache of dealing with constant reminders of a loved one’s death, so Facebook, Gmail accounts, etc. need to be closed, as well as messages transmitted digitally to those you will be unable to contact when your time finally comes.
Vincenzo believes users are most likely be working in high risk jobs, policemen or firemen, for example, highway patrolmen, or just people who want others to know how much they cared for them while they were alive. Or businessmen handling the finer details of a transition of power. In fact, everybody has a reason to use the service, however different they may be.
So where does HHH come in I hear you asking! After his HHH pitch at Google Campus Vincenzo was approached by Maulik Sailor during the networking drinks in the Campus café. Maulik runs his own startup, Innovify, a consultancy working with startups of all shapes and sizes and helping them innovate by using expert tech tools and frameworks, iterative methods and business processes. Maulik’s mantra is think big, and his preference is to work with products that will change the world. “We get bored of hearing the same old pitches day in, day out, so when I heard Vincenzo speaking I thought finally, “something original!” says Maulik. I could see the potential size of the market too; one day everybody will be doing this so for me, partnering with Heavenote was a no-brainer.”
Maulik’s firm provide consultancy and services in exchange for equity in a business, a concept known to the startup scene as “sweat equity”. Over the past few months he has helped Vincenzo and business partner Livio Pedretti fine-tune the product and the result is a product market fit that both sides can be proud of, as well as the launch of a Crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs.
The campaign is aiming to raise £90k in exchange for a 10% stake in the business, a pretty modest amount when you consider the scale of the problem Heavenote is attempting to solve. Besides social media, you have E-Bay, PayPal, online accounts for energy providers, online banking, Bitcoin, deposits left on a gambling site, and who knows how many more services besides, all needing to be closed off and shut down. Not a task any surviving relatives or friends will relish.
So there you have it. HHH has hosted some weird and wonderful startup founders in its time, and Heavenote is being led by one. Maulik, who has been coming to our events ever since we first began, agrees, although Heavenote isn’t the only startup he has got involved with on the back of an HHH pitch.
It all goes to show that if you have the get-up-and-go, and, ahem, that never-say-die spirit, the world is your oyster. As Vincenzo can testify, you never know what’s around the corner, so if you think you have a great idea, you need to do something about it! And whatever stage your at, You’ll always be welcome at an HHH event.
Keep on Hustlin’