Startup Reporter publishes a new article of the series “Startup Journey: from 0 to 1” about Kaktus App. In this series of articles, we aim at presenting founders not only through their innovative projects but also by talking about their personality and the team.
Oleksandr Komarevych (OK): – Marek, please tell me what Kaktus app is doing? Where did the idea come from and why in this period?
Marek Brindza: – Kaktus app is a platform, a mobile app which connects local people who want to show their cities from their point of view to the tourists. Our motto is very simple “Be a local guy for a while”. It can be applied for both, the locals as well as for the tourists.
Actually, the idea about Kaktus has come into my mind 2 years ago while bicycling. It was like a baby is born, suddenly that idea was born. Since that time, it took us more than 2 years to bring it into the light.
OK: – What are you working on right now with Kaktus App?
Marek: – Well, because of world pandemic situation, we had to change our original plan to the new one. At the moment, we are working on gathering locals from various world-famous European cities to our app.
Nowadays, there are more than 2OO locals registered. Our IT guys start working on the second version of our app which will be totally different from the first one. We are very excited about the new version because we plan to use features other similar apps do not have so far.
OK: – The team is vital for a startup at any stage. Who is in your team? Could you tell us about the uniqueness of each team member?
Marek: – Except me there is another co-founder. We have 2 IT guys one for android, the other one for iOS. And then there are two people working on marketing. We have also external team members as is our lawyer, accountant, and interpreters.
OK: – How would you describe your team in one word?
Marek: – Inventive
OK: – What is your plan with Kaktus App for the next six months? What is your vision for 5 years from now?
Marek: – Within a six month period, we would like to launch a second version.
Our long term vision is that Kaktus will become a universal app in the travel industry. It means, that there want to be just locals offering their guide services yet locals offering everything tourists will need like pick up on the airport, booking a hotel, making a program for the whole stay, even making a company when shopping, etc.
In short – locals offering everything, so the tourist can arrange their trip without using any other app for their stay.
Moreover, we are also planning to show local most famous upcoming events, maybe ticketing, and so on.
OK: – Often, in an interview, I ask why you choose this project and not others, why where you so interested in this specific topic.
Going a long way around, this brings to the questions:
- What kind of child were you?
- Did you have someone who influenced you?
Marek: – I am used to travelling. Since my 12 years, I have started travelling around Europe.
There is an old saying “Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have travelled.” – Mohammed. We just want to simplify travelling whit Kaktus app.
When I was 12-year old, my parents sent me to another family for the whole summer to Belgium. It was an EU international kids change program – one year I travelled to see foreign family, the other year they come to see us.
When I was on high school our English teacher had chosen me to be in his English team for English program called Cactus kids – focused on gathering English speaking high school teenagers for one week to share their local experiences, customs, culture, and so on.
The event took place each year in another cooperating city. One year we were in Spain, the other in Wien. And here I have just understood how important is to be with local people to get most of the city you are staying in.
Just to add something personal, I always wanted to be free. It means, to do whatever I want to do, to be wherever I want to be and to be whoever I want to be. Simply to have a limitless life. And, because of travelling, it is possible 🙂
OK: – Describe the conversation when you first mentioned to your husband that you wanted to start Kaktus App.
Markus: – So far, I have no wife. Before starting putting together my team I asked few of my closest people what they think about my project. Almost all answers were positive, yet the one resonates in my ear till nowadays: I quote “Marek if your idea is about giving well others, then you should try it”.
OK: – Why did you become a founder (startupper) and what should anyone develop in him/herself to become a founder?
Marek: – I always wanted to run my own business.
Before Kaktus I had run several other projects. Most of them were too crazy to survive. However, as one of my university’s teacher once told me “the best ideas are the craziest ones“.
I think, to become a founder a person needs to be born with. In other words, you can learn all the stuff on how to run your own business, yet that drive is not inside of a person then the person may face difficulties when doing start up.
OK: – What would you recommend to readers who have an idea, but haven’t figured out where to start yet?
Based on your experience, what would be your advice to them?
Marek: – Always have the motivation and stay awake all the time. Sometimes an idea comes out of nowhere and sometimes the idea is all the time in front of you.
OK: – What purchase of €100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months (or in recent memory)?
Marek: – The product I purchased in the most recent days is the motivational poster for €98 printed and framed. The poster is located in my home gym and says “Train insane or remain the same”. Every time I look at it, I feel an energy to do things in my life.
OK: – What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why? Or what are one to three books that have significantly influenced your life?
Marek: – “Conversation with God”. Actually it is a trilogy. Part 1 has inspired me a lot.
OK: – If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it — metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions — what would it say and why?
If you don’t love, you don’t live.Marek
OK: – What did you learn from being a founder?
Marek: – Patience, adaptation, fearlessness, and risk taking
OK: – If the old you could see the new you, what would the new you say?
Marek: – Nothing you create, nothing will happen.
OK: – What would you like to wish the readers?
Marek: – Live your life fully aware of who you are and who you want to be.