fbpx
Hey Builders, we're back!

Collabwriting’s Co-Founder on Winning Spotlight and Building a Collaborative Research Powerhouse

There are many many founders and startups that step foot on our How to Web lands, but some of them leave a long-lasting mark as well. These are the founders who have the mindset, the ideas, and the resilience to build world-changing products.

The founders of Collabwriting are such founders, and they have proven all their superpowers by winning the 2023 edition of Spotlight — our flagship startup program and competition.

Collabwriting is a platform designed to empower researchers and knowledge workers by making information gathering and collaboration seamless. In this information overload era, filled with lots of knowledge work, staying organized and collaborating effectively can feel like an uphill battle, but Collabwriting is here to make everything easier and… more fun.

We were curious how they experienced Spotlight, how the investment prize contributed to their long-term plans, and what they are up to lately. Check out this exclusive interview with one of the co-founders, Sandra Idjoski:

Congratulations on winning the investment prize at Spotlight last year! What is your experience with the Spotlight program? 

The whole experience was amazing, especially as it was our first time attending How to Web.

We didn’t know what to expect, but by far the most valuable were all the networking opportunities. The whole team was incredibly diligent and dedicated, everything was set up so that we as startups could get the most value from the event and connect with the right people.

How did the program’s mentorship and resources contribute to Collabwriting’s development?

It gave us an incredible boost, both in terms of funding and transfer of knowledge. We got some great advice from the mentors we got matched with and with some of the people we’re still in touch with. 

An amazing segment of the program is that we also got to connect with startups from all over CEE, see which new amazing companies are emerging in the region, and exchange knowledge with each other. 

Did the competition aspect of Spotlight help refine your pitch or overall business strategy?

Absolutely! Since we had meetings booked back to back it really gave us the opportunity to refine our pitch in real time. We could see in person how people responded to what, implement feedback, and see if it worked better in the next mini-pitch we were doing in one of the meetings.

A helpful thing that we’d done was take notes in between so we could come back to it later. One person saying something might not be enough of a nudge to make changes, but when you’re able to talk to so many people and spot the commonalities in feedback, it makes it so much easier to prioritize and make the right call.

Looking back, was that winning the Spotlight competition was a turning point for Collabwriting’s growth? How did it impact your trajectory?

Yes, it came at the perfect time and was such a game-changer for us.

We came up with the idea of kickstarting our fundraising and connecting with as many people as possible and left with our best-case scenario of a round. It gave us a true fighting chance not just locally, but on the global startup scene.

The amazing people in our syndicate have also been instrumental in current growth since then – we’ve had so much advice, introductions, and useful resources come from working with all of them.

What advice would you give other founders considering applying to the Spotlight program and competition?

Do it!

The program is very well-rounded and no matter what, you’re going to leave feeling like you’ve had 2 incredibly productive days.  

From a more operational side, don’t neglect that the pitch you’re doing needs to be revamped for pitching on stage versus when you’re just sending the slides to someone. Make it a story people want to hear more about.

What are some key things you believe helped your application stand out from the crowd?

I believe it was the way we were able to clearly communicate the problem we were solving and why we could solve it.

That was something that came up in the discussions later as a plus that investors saw and I think it’s something that our users at the time really helped us define better. At that time, we also had a much clearer image of what our bigger picture looked like so in some way it all fell into place.

How can founders best prepare themselves to deliver a winning pitch at Spotlight?

One of the best things they can do is know their pitch by heart so you can focus on storytelling when they’re on stage. 

Also, if you get to pitch at the finale there’s not really much time to prepare.

Collabwriting has secured additional funding. Can you elaborate on your current projects and how these funds are being used to propel Collabwriting forward?

Yes, along with Spotlight’s Syndicate, we’ve also received a 300K grant through the Katapult program, totalling 1.1M for our first round of financing.

We’ve just recently released our team version and we plan on both scaling our userbase and building out Collabwriting to the well-rounded tool we know it can be. The funds also follow this thesis and are going to be split almost 50/50 between developing the product and growth.

The funding is allowing us to think so much more freely about the best ways to move forward – we get to test more, have better-quality experiments, and set more ambitious long-term goals.

How is Collabwriting approaching the challenge of information overload in today’s digital landscape, and how does your product empower researchers and knowledge workers?

Our mission is to make knowledge collaborative in that sense we’ll be developing quite a few features to support that.

We’ve noticed that a lot of our users do their research on the go. So one of the main focuses is enabling our users to both collaborate and collect knowledge from their mobile devices.

Tide to that is helping our users seamlessly collaborate with their peers, so we plan on enhancing Collabwriting links with metadata needed for other apps to preview them as well as enabling our users to tag their colleagues through Email and Slack straight from the app itself.

We’re also enhancing our Research Copilot to support our users while they do their research, we’re slowly deploying research next steps to help with information overload. This means as soon as it understands what you are researching it will start doing the same research in the back and give you the next steps, thus removing the need to go back to Google, click links, reading whole articles just to go back and try again.

What is Collabwriting’s vision for the future? How do you see your product evolving and impacting the collaborative research landscape?

We see Collabwriting breaking down the barriers of time and company silos when it comes to knowledge management and collaboration around it.

Knowledge serves no purpose if it’s stuck on page 153 of a long document if no one is going to read it and we believe that the dynamic space that we’re creating for knowledge is going to completely change that.

We’re building Collabwriting to be “the” knowledge-sharing tool. Whenever and wherever you find something insightful whether it’s a book, news article, podcast, or YouTube video, you’ll be able to enhance it with your unique perspective and share that in a single click with whoever you want. No more sending links that are never opened or read, and most of all no more lost knowledge.

Beyond the funding and competition win, what other lasting connections or relationships did you build through your participation in Spotlight?

We’ve connected to other founders we met at the event and stayed in touch both asking questions and helping if we could.

But in general, it felt like we instantly became a part of the bigger CEE ecosystem after How to Web, and like so many doors were open. With our recent launch on Product Hunt, we had so much support coming from all over the region and I feel that it greatly contributed to our success.

………….

Are you the next success story to step foot in our Spotlight program and competition? Follow Sandra’s piece of advice and do it! Apply now 👉🏻https://www.howtoweb.co/spotlight-2024/

Sign Up to receive exclusive How To Web updates:

You may also like

The Spotlight Awaits: How to Web Conference Connects Eastern European Founders with Top Investors and Industry Leaders

There are many many founders and startups that step foot on our How to Web lands, but some of them leave a long-lasting mark as well. These are the founders who have the mindset, the ideas, and the resilience to build world-changing products. The founders of Collabwriting are such founders, and they have proven all… Read more »

Read more

London Meets Eastern Europe: How to Web On Tour Fosters Collaboration for Tech Leaders

There are many many founders and startups that step foot on our How to Web lands, but some of them leave a long-lasting mark as well. These are the founders who have the mindset, the ideas, and the resilience to build world-changing products. The founders of Collabwriting are such founders, and they have proven all… Read more »

Read more