[Startup story] Pocket IP | Rubik Garage Accelerator 2022 Batch
June 29, 2022
First of all, we would like to know who’s behind the keyboard.
Ivan Nikitchenko, co-founder and CEO of Pocket IP.
I’m MA in International Economics (Vadym Hetman Kyiv National Economic University) and since 2007 I have worked in different positions and industries. I gained experience In finances, marketing/PR, and project management. I worked in both small and very big companies – in banks, fintech, legal, and even metallurgical. In 2019 I understood that I’m ready to start my own business, and with the future co-founder of Pocket IP, we established our own law firm.
Unintended firstly, with our law firm we created and tested a business model for Pocket IP.
Tell us more about Pocket IP. What problem do you solve? Who’s your audience?
Pocket IP is a one-stop-shop web service for organizing, searching, and managing Intellectual Property (IP) objects worldwide.
Pocket IP solves the main problems of IP lawyers specialists and companies which operate in several countries – proper and cost-effective management of their trademark and patent portfolio.
The trademark owners spend a lot of time and money on the stages of preparing trademark applications in different countries (gathering information on procedures and fees, making preliminary searches in separate national and international trademark databases, looking for reliable and cost-effective attorneys), trademark registration process (checking application statuses, provide answers to possible requests in time), and after a trademark is registered (docketing portfolio, monitoring of using, keeping in mind next renewal deadline etc.). Pocket IP provides a possibility to have all the information and set the task to attorney in one online account with 24/7 access.
What motivated you to create this startup? What’s your „why”?
After the first year of running my own law firm, we started to grow very fast – both in revenue and in a team. But we understood that the limit for growth is not so far away – it’s still the consulting business, where personal involvement matters all the time. And in the IP law sphere, there is very huge potential for automatization of a lot of processes (the trademark databases API in most countries are open and it’s up to you how to use and analyze it).
So we decided to combine the business model of the law firm, which proved its efficiency, and modern IT solutions – this is how Pocket IP was born. Now, the limits for growth are almost unreachable – our goal is to expand our services to all countries.
How is your startup different from competitors?
There are three types of competitors:
- Legaltech services, which cover a limited number of markets and functionality.
- Supplements of a law firm, which automatize some functions of communicating with a law firm (check the status of an application, prepare new application).
- Law firms, which operate in several countries and can assist in many countries simultaneously (like our law firm, for instance).
There are a relatively large number of similar platforms on the world market. However, they are all created exclusively by companies from the United States and Western Europe and target only the markets of developed countries or work with only one set of tasks.
There is no unified integrated online system that works with all IP objects and in all countries/regions and provides the possibility to manage IP objects in one online account. This is our advantage – we are a one-stop-shop service to manage IP portfolios worldwide.
Do you have a team supporting you in your mission?
We are 3 co-founders: I, Elena Polosmak, and Andrii Chepurnyi.
With Elena, COO in Pocket IP, we run our own law firm since 2019 and met each other in 2017 while working in another law firm.
Andrii, our CTO, joined the team in 2020. We are friends since 2014 and firstly I asked for his expertise to check technical projects for the development of the MVP. And he proposed to be not just a temporary advisor, but become a CTO and lead IT development in the project.
In 2021, a CMO joined our team – Serhii Shkoliarenko. He has worked in online marketing for many years and his expertise and practical experience are crucial for our online project.
Also, we have a back-end developer, two front-end developers, and UI/UX designer in our team.
What are the biggest rewards of being a startup founder?
To understand that you are building a new business, which will be world-famous (in our dreams, at least), thousands of people will use it. With whom to work, making the plans and executing them – it’s in your own hands.
It’s tough work and a lot of responsibility – but the possibilities are far larger and give a unique drive.
One day, Elon Musk or Tim Cook might start receiving reports on the IP portfolio of their companies prepared with Pocket IP.
On the contrary, what are the biggest challenges?
To be ready – the company becomes your life 24/7 in the upcoming years. No one but you should make the tasks and no one will set you the tasks and explain how to do them.
The moments of making decisions are very hard – this might affect the final outcome and further path of the company. And if you fail, there is no insurance or option to play it back.
What made you apply to our accelerator Rubik Garage?
Knowledge and experience of other entrepreneurs are crucial for young companies. And support in attracting first investments and guidance on how not to fail in choosing the first investor. Rubik Garage accelerator provides all of this and we are very happy that you selected us in the program.
What are your top 3 learnings of the acceleration program?
Before the Rubik Garage accelerator, we already participated in a pre-acceleration program by Startup Wise Guys and learned many basic things. But each mentor gives something new, and our demand for expertise changes constantly with the process of developing the project.
It’s important to understand that very fast growth is expected from your company. And you start to look at the company from a different angle – what should we implement, when and when being ready to switch.
So, the top 3 are:
- To learn to look at yourself from the outside.
- To build the plans for a fast-growing company only.
- The ecosystem and surroundings are very important.
What do you like in the Rubikorns Startup Community?
The people, who are on the same wavelength. There is no need to explain many things – they already know it and are ready to advise you.
What are your plans for Pocket IP for the next 6-12 months?
To launch our version 2.0 and expand on EU market very fast.
To attract first funding.
What message do you have for other startup founders?
Owning a startup is an unforgettable and unique journey. If you have even the slightest option to start it – do it.
What is your special power?
We are Ukrainians. Few people fully knew what nation we are (even we ourselves) and thousands of us keep working on our projects digging trenches at the same time, sitting in a bomb shelter to the sound of a siren, delivering humanitarian aid, or even serving in the army. Do you think that after that one of us will leave the projects and think how hard it is to work?
According to the Stanford University Graduate School of Business Venture Capital Initiative report, Ukraine was included in the list of top ten countries in which the non-US founders of the US unicorns were born. So we know how to build the world’s successful companies.
Stay tuned to discover the story behind the other startups from the Rubik Garage accelerator! #WeAreInThisTogether
Rubik Garage is an equity-free acceleration program aiming to support startups from CEE. We are helping early-stage startups get to their first paying customer, raise investment or go international.
The accelerator started with a Founders Bootcamp in Piatra Neamt. Four months of acceleration will culminate with a Demo Day in September, where startups get the chance to pitch their startup in front of investors. For the most motivated teams, the journey will continue in the next 6-12 months – our team will offer their full support to help them raise an investment round.
If you want to pre-apply for the next Rubik Garage edition, complete this form and be the first one to get the chance of starting their acceleration journey!