Univid wants to become the best at online events
Meet the KTH students who will make digital events fun for real. Jonathan Rintala and Erik Skogetun started Univid to make their education better online and offline, but when the pandemic hit, they realized that their idea had higher potential.
Before starting Univid, Jonathan and Erik had tried their hand at developing some ideas together. During their bachelor studies, they lived together for six months as they worked on a ridesharing app together with local students at a university in Kenya.
- Since then, we have been thinking of new ideas, says Jonathan. For a while, we worked on an app for gig jobs, but we realized competition was already too tough. From the start, Univid felt like an idea that should exist, and that we could implement easily in the classroom.
Improving the classroom experience
Jonathan and Erik both studied a bachelor in Industrial engineering and management and a master in Computer science. They started Univid because they saw a need to improve the physical classroom experience.
- When you’re in a classroom with lots of people, no one can keep track of each other, and if you miss something there’s no way to go back, says Erik. Taking notes is stressful and interaction is low.
While improving their education was the original thought behind Univid, Erik and Jonathan decided to shift direction in their development. Today, Univid is an online event platform, where the goal is to create fun meetings with interaction at the center.
- We realized working with schools would be hard, says Erik. Signing customers could take years, and that would prevent us from scaling up our solution. We decided to move into the event business to explore our opportunities there. Our platform is built to create interaction in large groups, and whether you are in a classroom or in an event doesn’t really matter.
Corona sped up the development
For the past two years, Erik and Jonathan have their time building a service that works and looks good. In 2019, they ran pilot tests in KTH classes, and in late 2020, they held their first event with a world-leading company. In March 2021, they will run an event with over 3000 participants.
- Corona sped up the development, says Jonathan. Now, many are interested in our solution. Our advantage is that we have already built a scalable platform and can focus on bringing it out to customers. We believe this field will be huge, even after Corona.
To make online events fun, the platform has plenty of different functions. Users can of course video chat, but also chat directly with each other. By interacting with others, they can collect points and the most active users will be shown on a leaderboard. The hosts can easily design their event with their own colors, logos, and backgrounds. Univid also has quiz functions, breakout rooms, a Q&A function, and animated reactions.
Shared experience the main value
In the KTH Innovation pre-incubator program, Univid has gotten a year of extra support, together with 16 other startup projects from KTH.
- The main value is meeting others working on their own ideas and hearing about their problems and opportunities, says Erik. We constantly talk about where we are, share tips and tweak the way we talk about our projects. We practice all the time. The program’s structure, with weekly meetings is also really helpful.
KTH Innovation’s support is generally open to everyone at KTH, but you have to apply to the pre-incubator program. Every semester, KTH Innovation selects around 15 new promising teams to enter the program, which has been known to create good results. Many of KTH Innovation’s successful alumni , like Airmee, Klimato and Help to Help have gone through the program, that in addition to weekly meetings gives the participants a strong community.
- There is no better time to try developing your idea than when you’re a student, says Jonathan. As long as you find someone you want to work with, you will find a way forward. The best thing to do is to believe in your idea and get going. In five years, we want to be among the top companies in digital events. The next step is looking for investment.
Text: Lisa Bäckman