Imagine you need specific information from a certain place without having the possibility to go there or to access it online, e.g. an important information from your university library or your community office which has already closed its doors when you leave the office. Or it’s Saturday evening and you would really like to try out the new event location in town – but risking a 45 minute journey without knowing if there is still room or a pleasant atmosphere is not an option. Now the times have passed when you have to hurry up during lunch to get to the community office in time or finish your evening by eating French fries at the fast food restaurant next to the overcrowded bar.
The team behind Faver offers a nice and easy solution for such kind of everyday challenges. By using their app, users can simply contact another user located around the desired destination to help them out. Bye bye, busy lunch breaks and French fries on the go!
Learn more about the future-oriented application which was the ESNC Regional Prize Winner of Flanders in 2016. Discover the success story with all its challenges and visions in our interview with Faver’s non-technical founder Olivier Dinet.
6 Questions to Faver
AZO: Please give us a sneak peek of your product and the team behind it.
Faver is a mobile app that enables strangers to do each other favours, based on their location. If you need something from a certain place, you can simply contact another user around there to help you out. Initially it was conceived as a research-tool to help students -like us -, who needed insights into books of other university libraries. Often, the different libraries are located at different places throughout the town and online versions are not always available. Faver enabled those students to access the necessary works by contacting students in the other library. It quickly became apparent that such an app could also be useful for other purposes, e.g. to find out about the atmosphere in a certain bar or club before heading out, to make sure the line at the cash register is not too long when you’re planning to do groceries, or to check the current weather at the beach.
AZO: What was your company’s biggest challenge so far?
Our challenge is building up a large user base to make our app even more useful. But in order to become big, you have to start small. That’s why we have been focussing primarily on promoting our app as a research-tool. By doing so, we have already managed to get a foot on the ground in every university city in Belgium and established a wide user range.
Another difficulty we faced after the app release was that sometimes a user needs something from another location without any other user with a helping hand being there. Our next feature update will be released in the coming weeks and will solve this problem. Then users can leave a pin on that spot with the specific request. The users passing by at a later time can see the request in their app and reply to it. That way, everybody can be helped out.
AZO: Can you explain the three main ingredients of your recipe for success?
Firstly, Faver offers a fast and easy solution to get something from a place which does not provide your required information online. If neither you can get there by yourself nor anyone of your contacts, you are lost. By using our app, users can immediately increase their outreach outside of their own personal network.
Secondly, by still being students ourselves, we know the desires and needs of our initial target users by heart, and we’re also used to collaborating closely together and making the most out of a small budget.
Last but not least, we believe in the strength of social interactions and our app proves that most people fundamentally want to help each other. Our app helps them to do so.
AZO: What do you expect from the ESNC? How did the competition and its network help you to kick-start your business case?
Submitting our idea to the ESNC was a wonderful experience as it helped us to rethink and fine-tune our business model. At the time of our application, our team was still in the conception phase. Through the application procedure, we were required to think deeply about the complete and multi-faceted business model by considering technical, commercial and legal aspects. This helped us immensely to setup and realise our first business plan. Being awarded as the ESNC 2016 Reginal Flanders Winner, we obtained a great marketing outreach and we still can benefit from the broad international ESNC network through valuable new contacts. The cash prize was a nice extra which helped us to launch our business even faster. If someone would ask me now if we would submit our idea, if it was 2016 again, I would immediately say yes, as the entire experience itself was already invaluable for us. Since our participation in the ESNC, we could celebrate even more successes: we got accepted into the Start it @kbc incubator, we won the award for the Best Pitch at the Idea & Innovation Café of Erasmushogeschool Brussels and are currently in the final round of the Start Academy competition, the start-up competition of Solvay Brussels School.
AZO: Let’s reach for the stars – what is going to happen in your company’s future?
In our wildest dreams, people from all over the world would be using our app. This would guarantee a dense and geographically spread out user base and thus a better usability experience of our app. Last but not least, it would help us to turn our vision into reality: namely, by connecting strangers and enabling them to do each other favours. We would contribute to make the world a more connected and helpful place for everyone!
AZO: Anything else you want to share with us?
About the European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC)
The ESNC’s annual search for new services, products, and business innovations is designed to encourage the use of satellite navigation in everyday life. Over the past decade, it has evolved into the leading innovation competition comprising partner regions worldwide, the largest space-related incubation network and the most relevant European GNSS stakeholders. Sign up now for the submission phase from 1 April – 30 June at www.esnc.eu.