Setting up your own business is not an easy task. You may have an amazing startup idea and be excited about making it real, but you need to figure out how to start.
When Cyprien de Barros, Can-David, Dimitra Manoliadis, Amaury Meulemans and Jean-Louis Voiseux decided to step into the entrepreneurship world, they felt a bit lost. They had the great idea of using Virtual Reality to help students understand better particularly complex subjects, such as Physics or Math, but they also had a lot of questions and very few answers about how to start building their own company.
Taking part in the Boostcamp Program for early-stage entrepreneurs helped them get started with their project Sol VR which would later evolve into Altheria Solutions. They made the most out of it and managed to win the Brussels Capital Region Prize.
Why did you decide to start an entrepreneurial adventure?
Cyprien experienced a lot of challenges at university a few years ago. He had a hard time with Physics and Mathematics at the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management. With the help of his teacher, Marc Haelterman, he thought about a solution that could help students with these courses using Virtual Reality. He assembled a team to build a small VR experience and then, with his team, created the company when they found out that VR and Augmented Reality had very good business cases.
How did the Boostcamp Program help you?
As very young students, we were lost in the entrepreneurship world. It is not something that is taught at school but is a skill forged directly on the field, with real issues that need real answers. The Boostcamp was there to get us started: we became more knowledgeable in a lot of fields and we still think about the lessons we had there on a daily basis. We arrived with an idea, we left with a project.
You won the Brussels Capital Region Prize at the Boostcamp 11th with your project Sol VR, an interactive way for students to work and learn in a user-friendly 3D environment. How did you evolve from Sol VR to Altheria Solutions?
As soon as we received the prize, we moved our office to DigitYser, where we are still working every day. This award, given by the MIC, was a tremendous help for us to have our very own space to think and develop our solutions.
Afterwards, we quickly identified that targeting universities and schools only would not give us enough workload nor money, since VR & AR are quite expensive at the moment and the educational system isn’t ready for that. So, we took our core added value, VR and AR solutions for education, and expanded it so that we would become experts in knowledge transfer using VR and AR.
We dropped the name Sol VR because it locked us to VR only, and we wanted to explore other technologies. We then had our first customer, the European Parliament, for which we developed a solution using the HoloLens from Microsoft. Following this success, we wanted to build a solution that could be fully scalable. Altheria Solutions is aiming at becoming a key high-tech player, not just a regular software company.
Now that you’ve been running your startup for months, what’s the best piece of advice you could give to someone willing to do the same?
Gather the best team possible. Talking about the project with them on a daily basis is the best way to create a meaningful start-up. Hire the best and lead them towards a specific goal. Without a proper team, it is impossible to achieve one’s ambition.
What are the next challenges for Altheria right now and how do you plan to face them?
The first challenge is to find the best product that would be scalable on a broad scale. The second is managing a team of eight people with various skills. Building VR and AR solutions require a lot of different profiles and thus are really difficult to supervise.
|Are you interested in joining the Boostcamp Program for early-stage entrepreneurs? Check out the Boostcamp site or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org|