Helping expats get local news
As an expat in Sweden, it is hard to find news about what is happening in your local community in a language you understand. That is what the KTH students behind Riedia want to solve.
Local news most engaging
They come from Sweden, Spain, China and Germany. Many of them have experience of how difficult it is to find local news when you don’t speak the language, but originally, the idea came from Swedish KTH student Melker Ferdfelt, who studies Civil Engineering and Urban Management at KTH. For the past three months, Riedia has been one of twenty teams in Batch
14 in the KTH Innovation pre-incubator program.
- I came up with the idea when I read that the news that engages people the most is local news, says Melker. So, I contacted KTH Innovation and started working with my coach Fredrik, but pretty soon I reached a level where my knowledge was not enough. Fredrik had just met Carlos and Sabrina who were working on their own idea, and he connected us and they joined the team. A little later when we were looking for developers, Rebecca and Rafa came on board as well.
Automated translations and customized content
Riedia now has five members; KTH students Melker Ferdfelt, Carlos Lago Solas, Xuecong Liu, Rebecca Barth & Chalmers student Rafael Romón. Through automated translations and customized content, they want to make local news available to everyone living in Sweden, even if they do not know the language.
- There is a lot of local news in Sweden, Melker continues, but the editors do not have the capacity to translate their content into English. If you do not know Swedish and want to learn about your local community, it will be difficult. There are publications that write about Swedish news in English, but they would not cover if, for example, there is a car accident right outside my window. We want to find the really local that really engages and make it available to more people.
Inspiring to hear from other founders
Since 2011, 249 teams and almost 600 people have been accepted to the pre-incubator program The program's alumni include successful companies like Airmee and Greenely, but also many people who gained their first experience of entrepreneurship, even though their idea eventually did not work out. Many have gone on to found a new company, or are working on something completely different today. What they have in common is that they all gave their ideas a go and learned a lot along the way.
- It is inspiring to hear from other successful founders who share their experiences, says Sabrina. It is also fun to get to know the other teams and meet people who equally committed to their idea. Now we have nineteen other teams to discuss our idea with, plus our coach.
- It is really an explosion of new people that you can reach out to. Before we joined the program, it was really hard to find someone who could answer our questions, but now we have twenty teams that have had or will face the same problems that we have right now.
Every week, the teams meet to discuss various topics that help them move forward in the development of their idea. One week it can be about communication, and the next about how to handle issues such as ownership or contracts.
- It becomes a kind of guide, says Carlos. We go through all the steps we need to take and learn what to focus on and when.
Stockholm on top
Stockholm is often ranked as one of the world's best cities when it comes to innovation.
- I worked for a number of different startups in Berlin, says Rebecca, but it is so bureaucratic in Germany. I was so excited when I came to KTH and found out about the program. I knew I could get so much support here.
In five years
In five years, the Riedia team wants to establish itself as the leading news platform for expats.
- We want everyone who moves to Sweden and wants to find local news to find out about Riedia, Melker concludes. In the future, we may be able to expand to the other Nordic countries, but we will start with Sweden. It feels like a reasonable goal within the next five years.
Text: Lisa Bäckman