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As a student founder, how do I build a tech startup from scratch in 2 years

As we entered the new year of 2022, I thought about documenting my journey of establishing a technology startup in Singapore’s vibrant but highly competitive entrepreneurial environment.

My name is Gabriel Sze, and I am currently a 4th grade student in the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Renaissance Project.I am also a student founder Diving discount, A mobile-optimized web-based transaction discovery platform for connecting online to offline consumer journeys.

The journey of a student’s entrepreneurship is really challenging. Starting a company and building solutions for tens of thousands of users can be a very difficult task.

Limited software product development experience, industry experience, and small networks are some of the difficulties I faced in the early days.

However, as a student, I feel the challenge is to go beyond my boundaries and use these opportunities to further develop hard and soft skills. More importantly, this journey allowed me to build meaning and purpose in my product.

In this article, I want to share some personal experiences and key points of building a modern technology start-up company.

1. Find reasonable pain points

First of all, I found that something that made sense to me could be built by myself. One of the biggest challenges I face in this field is to find the most cutting-edge technology to apply, find the most talented team, or find the “perfect idea”.

Although ambition is important, it must first identify the problem and be able to start solving it as quickly as possible.

In fact, running a start-up company was not my original intention. Solved a problem.

Knowing the limitations of my position as a student founder, I started with one of the biggest personal problem statements I have and worked hard to build better products for myself and those around me who have similar ideas.

One of the biggest pain points in my life was saving money by looking for deals and promotions in Singapore. This has always been a big problem for me because I don’t like to install too many mobile apps on my phone, but prefer to search the web.

I have logged on to many transaction aggregation sites with poor user interfaces and experience, and it is often difficult to find comprehensive information because there are too many websites and social media channels to follow and find the most relevant transactions.

Image Source: Diving Discount

This information is highly unstructured and it is difficult to find relevant and specific details about ongoing transactions and promotions. In the end, many are not suitable for mobile devices, which is also a problem for people who are always on the go.

Since I majored in computer science, it seemed reasonable to me to develop better websites and interfaces. As students, I think we should find a reasonable problem statement to solve or maybe involve some friends to help us move towards this goal.

2. Verification pain points

Ideation may be the most exciting part, but verification is the most practical step of any solution.

Although a solution may help yourself and several others, the ideal situation is to build something that can benefit a large number of people.

In addition to family and close friends, I also found relatives, classmates and many other friends to share my problem statement with them and listen to their opinions on our platform. It is wise to ask honest and objective neutral questions!

After listening to their experience in the transaction discovery journey in Singapore, I heard similar and new frustrations in scrolling through many websites, poor user experience, and not interested in downloading other applications.

Data representation and lack of reliable data are also key points that stand out. Hidden standards, terms and conditions, and finding suitable channels are some of the problems.

It is important to humbly accept and acknowledge that your pain points may not be shared among others, and be willing to iterate back to the problem statement again-this time with more insights.

3. Build and iterate solutions

Consistent construction and iteration is an important process. Based on the feedback I received, I started designing and then developing the website from scratch.

Be prepared to spend a lot of time learning and iterating. I know almost nothing about web development, so I have to start from scratch.

In the beginning, I spent a few months learning the basics of building scalable and customizable websites, and devoted nearly 10 to 12 hours a day to learn new languages, frameworks, and find resources online.

I did this during a summer vacation in my second year of college, so I had to make sacrifices. During this period, I also took a break from the internship.

It’s important to learn the basics, but don’t take too long to create an ideal product. Some best practices can be ignored at this point; combative but good work should be a benchmark.

Image Source: Diving Discount

In the end, the building became more comfortable and familiar.A few months later, I developed a Mobile-optimized transaction discovery website This solved my own pain points and also solved the pain points around me.

The platform focuses on the user experience, creating simple data pages to display basic data, and highlighting important locations in a custom map view on the web. It also made fun of views similar to mobile apps (we call them webapps) on the web.

Looking to the future, you need to be prepared for many iterations.

It takes time to develop a product

If you really like building your products, time will fly by.

As I launched the product and iterated along the way, our user base grew slowly but steadily, and we received good feedback about the product. This makes me more excited to cultivate platforms, develop our web applications, and better meet the needs of users and businesses.

It is also very important to have passion and meaning in the content you build.

In this pandemic, we have the opportunity to establish contacts with many companies to help them increase their visibility and influence. We often contact local and community brands to provide attractive promotions on our website.

I still hope to develop this platform, but it is fun and exciting to develop a product that people actually use and help them during these challenging times.

This year will continue to be exciting for Dive Deals, but my determination is that we continue to exert influence and create greater value for our stakeholders.

Featured Image Credit: Gabriel Sze / Dive Deals

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