Floccs wants to give all horses a digital identity
Mathilda and Therese are two of the founders of Floccs, an app that wants give the world's 40 million horses a digital identity. In the KTH Innovation pre-incubator program, they took their idea to the next level.
Second largest sport among youth
With 90 million practitioners, equestrianism is one of the world's largest sports. In Sweden, the sport is the second largest among young people, and the horse industry has a turnover of over SEK 32 billion every year. Sweden is often at the top in international contexts, most recently with two World Cup gold medals in show jumping. Around 90 million people in the world have some kind of connection to the horse community.
Gathering scattered information
The idea behind Floccs is simple: giving horses a digital identity, so you can follow a horse over time. Today, information about horses is scattered across the internet: in databases, results lists, websites, and often behind locked social media accounts. People often form a close bond with the horses they manage, but if the horse is sold or moved, it is difficult to stay up to date.
- I have built up a very close relationship with every horse I have had, but I have personally experienced how difficult it is to keep in touch after it has left the stable, says Mathilda. On Floccs I can register as a previous owner and continue to receive updates no matter where it goes.
Business model based on horse data
On Floccs, users can create a profile for their horses, join teams around a horse, and view content from other users and their horses. According to the founders, registering your horse on Floccs will always be free for users. Instead, their business model is based on Floccs becoming the best at horse-related data.
-At Floccs, we can collect data about equestrian sports that has never been collected before, says Therese. In this way, we can build a knowledge base with insights into which products people use for their horses, and create recommendations based on collected insights from the equestrian community.
The founders all have a great passion for the horse world. Therese Jonsson has been riding since she was little. Before she started studying Computer Technology at KTH she went to a horse high school. Mathilda comes from a real horse family. She has several Swedish Championship medals, and has ridden in the Swedish cross-country youth national team.
- I started developing the idea when I was a student at Handels, says Mathilda. When I started looking for someone who knew tech, I found Therese, and we clicked immediately.
Got support from KTH Innovation
When Therese joined the team, the team could start getting support from KTH Innovation.
- I have always had KTH Innovation in the back of my mind, says Therese. Just the fact that there’s a house on Campus, where you can sit and work and meet interesting people, is great. We sent an email and then we got to meet our coach Fredrik.
Encouraged to apply to the pre-incubator program
After a few months of meetings with KTH Innovation, Fredrik advised the team to apply to the KTH Innovation pre-incubator program, a year-long program for promising startup projects from KTH. Every semester, KTH Innovation welcomes around 20 new teams who get access to a tailored workshop program, office space at Teknikringen 1, the opportunity to use the studio and makerspace, and pitch for a SEK 250,000 investment from KTH Holding. However, the most important factor is possibly the community between the teams in the program.
- The program put us in a context with others in the same situation, says Therese. The best thing was that every time you talked to someone, a coach, someone giving a lecture, or another team, you could always book a new meeting and learn a little more.
A supportive community
The program follows a clear plan, which has been refined over many years. Over 250 teams have been admitted since 2011, and alumni include Airmee and Greenely.
- It feels good to be around people who have the same doubts as you, Therese continues. There is so much that you don't know, and you need to become comfortable that uncertainty. That is way easier when you have others around you who feel the same way.
Applications for the program are open until October 2. Why should someone apply?
- You get someone who pushes you to dare to test your idea, to dare to get feedback, and to dare to fail, says Mathilda. We probably wouldn't have had the confidence to try if we were by ourselves.
Perfect time to try
- If you are a student at KTH who is curious about running your own project, then this is the perfect time to try. You still live the student life, and you don’t have to keep doing this forever if you don’t want to. You can try it for a year and see if it works. You don't take that much risk.
The first version of Floccs was launched this summer. In the future, the team has ambitious plans:
- In a few years we want all the world's horses to be on Floccs, concludes Mathilda.
By Lisa Bäckman