This is the 8th part of our interviews with cycle 3 teams. This time Mehdi Kazemi answered our questions regarding their startup. He works with Arian Behvandnejad on Duel. To learn more about what they do and their opinions read the interview.
Avatech: What is Duel?
Mehdi: We’re in the process of creating a platform for those wanting to take part in tests like University entrance exam, TOEFL, IELTS, etc. We provide our users with the means to prepare for the test in predefined path. They can also take part in weekly review test and measure their skills in head to head battles.
Avatech: Where does the idea of Duel come from?
Mehdi: Both of us (Arian and Mehdi), are very interested in the topic of education and juxtaposing it with gamification. After viewing a number of foreign examples on using gamification in general knowledge, we came to the belief that this can also be done with education to make it more efficient and more fun.
Avatech: What is the value that Duel creates?
Mehdi: We provide our users with the means to prepare for their test through a clear defined path, with less cost and more gain.
Avatech: Tell us about your team and the reason you decided you to work on Duel.
Mehdi: Arian holds a BSc in IT engineering and spent his college years doing extracurricular study on software engineering, software architecture, and growth methodologies. He is also very invested in fining educational methods that are compatible with the students.
I have over 6 years of experience teaching students at both high school and college level. I’ve always been interested in serious and out of the society’s norms projects and “Duel” is one of them. I’ve always wanted to create indelible values in other people’s lives and it’s for this very reason that I like teaching. “Duel” is a challenge for me to satisfy that urge.
Avatech:How do you see the future for yourself and your startup? How do you plan for the future?
Mehdi: Our goal for the next year is that by improving content quality via working with different publications, recruit more students to our platform. Also, we want to activate the TOEFL and IELTS sections of our platform by becoming coordinated with content creators in this field.
Avatech: What challenges are on your way to grow?
Mehdi: Content creation, international copyright laws.
Avatech: How did you get to know Avatech?
Mehdi: There were 3 of my friends involved with the first cycle of Avatech, and one of them with the second. After speaking to them we decided to apply for a place at Avatech.
Avatech: How has your experience been with Avatech?
Mehdi: Avatech has been a good place to work and make connections with the startup community. A lot of the workshops are extremely useful, while some were only of advantage to some of the teams and not relevant to the rest.
Having access to experienced individuals is among Avatech’s biggest pros. Sometimes hearing a single sentence from these people helps us have a better understanding of our path.
Avatech: What keeps you motivated during though moments?
Mehdi: Through adversity, it’s our goal that keeps us motivated to do our work in the best way possible. To create a product that pleases the users is a big incentive for us and we’re always in the process of learning.
Avatech:What has been your biggest achievement been so far?
Mehdi: Up to this moment, over 2 million questions have been answered on our platform and consequently, publications that were skeptical of such platforms at first, have been persuaded to work with us.
Avatech: If you could talk to people who want to start a startup, what would be your advice?
Mehdi: A good team coupled with a good idea is the cornerstone of lunching a startup. A good team is one that is committed and responsible and puts the startup above everything else at all times. If you lack any of these two characteristics, find it first and then continue.
Avatech: What’s your favorite startup book?
Mehdi: Designing products people love
The E-myth revisited
Avatech: What is your favorite productivity tool?
Mehdi: Python programming language, GATE source code handling system, Google Doc
Avatech: What is the biggest lesson you learned from the start of your project up to now?
Mehdi: The idea for a new product doesn’t come from an entrepreneurial mind, but from close and neutral observation of target audience and analyzing their behavior and the sources of their problems. Product design is an essential part of any industry, but with web and mobile apps, given how easy implantation and feedback gathering is, and the misinterpretation of concepts like MVP and Lean Startup, entrepreneurs have been misled.