NAME OF STARTUP: Victa
FOUNDED IN (Year): 2022
FOUNDER’S NAME: Aleksandr Karbankov
THE IDEA: What is the problem being solved by your startup / business?:
Introducing Victa: the world’s first gaming running app! With plot-based characters, storytelling, quests, and achievements, Victa merges fitness with an addictive game to create a truly engaging and sticky experience. Explore new locations and track your progress with comprehensive analytics including distance, time, calories, speed, pace, gained altitude, and counted steps. Plus, soon we’ll be introducing an NLP chatbot to provide you with personalized fitness data and online support. Join the Victa community and revolutionize the way you approach fitness!
THE FOUNDER’S STORY: When and how did you come up with the idea for the business?:
When I was 20 years old, I got sick with a quite severe problem with my eyes. It’s called degenerative vitreous syndrome [DVS], which usually occurs in a later adult life and in a much milder form. It was simply a disaster: you can’t study, work, even sleep. You see some unnatural spooky things that others can’t see, because they simply exist in your eyes in the dark and in the light. It was driving me crazy.
I went through an unproved laser vitreolysis procedure, conducted by a doctor with no licence at his home, because all other doctors in my country told me that this disease either didn’t exist and I made it up or it was uncurable. After a small relief this led to even a worse condition damaging my retina, that made me conduct an even more dangerous stem cell injection procedure. It didn’t help.
After living months in a depression abyss, I understood that nothing would change on its own and decided to work as hard as possible, do everything I can do to overcome this thing which came to take all my dreams away. I worked 14 hours a day and grew faster that any of my peers. Almost all my free time I devoted to my side projects: gathered teams, developed products and business processes, earned first money from customers personally. There were no time I haven’t been building something mine.
I worked so hard to make money for a last possible cure, surgery called floater only vitrectomy [FOV], which implies sucking out the liquid from both of your eyes with a special fluid replacement. It has huge risks and a very high cost [around $100k], but there were no other choice. I conducted the research of all such surgeries done during 20 last years to find the best doctor on the planet and maximize my chances to success and not lose sight at all. Overall chance of good outcome was 65% per eye.
This doctor turned out to be Dr. Alwin Kwok from Hong Kong. I overcomed the first surgery when I was 24, after 4 years of torture. When I was 26, I decided that it’s time to bring the matter to an end. It was 1.5 year ago during the covid lockdown. Back then Hong Kong was the most impregnable city on earth. To get there I had to spent 3 weeks in an intermediate country [Montenegro] to decrease my danger level status to be allowed on a plane. Then I spent 2 weeks in one room with closed windows in the Hong Kong airport and 1 additional week in the city before I was allowed to lie on the surgery table.
Everything went well and I saw a sky I had never seen during 7 years. I shared all my calculations with people on the forum dedicated to this desease to help them at least like this. My post with my story and data is here. When I recovered, I started Victa, the startup, which application you are reviewing right now. That’s why I want to make something significant to make people healthier and let them never face what I faced.
WHO IS THE CUSTOMER: What is the typical profile of your target customer? Where would they be located?:
Runners-beginners and amateurs
LESSONS TO SHARE: What 3 key lessons from your startup journey you’d like to share with aspiring entrepreneurs?:
1. Hire strong marketers
2. Prepare for fundraising as early as possible
HQ City: Yerevan
Website URL: https://victa.ai/
Number of Employees: 5-25