Interview with Antonios Chalkiopoulos (KeepITCloud, CEO) leading his start-up from London, talking about how people doing their internship can benefit from a start-up, and what that experience could mean to them.
“Internships are strong tools to enhance university student’s understanding of the IT culture, expose them to sophisticated technologies and practices and allow them to collaborate with highly skilled professionals.”
“Tell us about your start-up”
Antonios: Our product “marine.travel” is a marine platform which targets to bring marine lovers together and allows a community to foster around that ecosystem. People will be able to share their experiences about their marine activities and hobbies, such as sailing, fishing, wind surfing etc. We aim to provide them all the tools and utilities a marine lover needs, such as interactive map tools, important infopoints related to their activities, etc. One of our main goals is to deliver the most accurate weather forecasts around the world, as weather is the most critical factor in marine activities.
Bleeding edge technologies have been used in order to build this platform. Our passionate team is always exploring new cool technologies to use and we are continuously looking for the best solutions. Personally I am proud about that because our team is free to explore new things, suggest ideas and eventually implement them and I think is a great experience and opportunity for intern students too!
“How long have you been working on your idea ?”
Antonios: In summer of 2011 after having a boating experience, the idea of developing a social platform for marine lovers occurred. Since then it has been a great journey around exploring opportunities, defining processes, setting up an infrastructure to allow people around the world to collaborate and most importantly building an efficient team.
“Tell us about your team”
Antonios: Originally two founders and two developers from various places around the world started working on developing the project on a day to day basis. It was challenging and important to set up an infrastructure to allow people to efficiently work together regardless the place and time difference. Our vibrant team grew quickly to seven and is looking to add more people to share this great experience with.
Two of our members are interns and are passionately contributing to the project. Location, experience, age and skills are irrelevant. What matters is energy, commitment and execution of plans and ideas.
How do you think internships and start-ups come together?
Antonios: Internships are strong tools to enhance university student’s understanding of the IT culture, expose them to sophisticated technologies and practices and allow them to collaborate with highly skilled professionals.
As a founder i really enjoy initiating, planning and discussing ideas with people. Sharing knowledge with younger people who want to be creative and explore new things is always an interesting experience. From an intern’s perspective, i think the benefits are great as well. Gaining work experience on a relaxed and friendly environment and developing their skills next to experienced professionals is a right decision.
And to reload Greece we shall all play an important role. Young people, students and people interested could communicate through the the reload team with people who work on amazing projects and join them! Imagine the benefits for all involved, the amount of collaboration and the empowerment of the start-up culture that could bring.
“So, are you looking for people at the moment?”
Antonios: We are always looking for more people interested to make a difference. We recently had another joiner and we are currently looking for more people to join us in the following months. We know we can’t offer huge salaries but we will most probably offer a very exciting experience. We are looking for Android/iOS engineers, user experience designers, marketing and business development. So we are happy to discuss with anyone who wants to get competitive work experience. Just contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
This interview is about internships and the benefits of collaboration, so let’s have one of our intern talk about their experience :-)
“What are the benefits for a student doing his internship in a start-up?”
Apostolos Voulkidis: Working for a start-up is whole new experience for a student like me. In KeepITCloud I am in touch with everyone in the team and my opinion matters. When I have a nice idea I see it actual implemented into the product. Another advantage is the ability to learn new things from a variety of fields. One day I am working on creating a tool and the next day I am deploying into a cloud. There are many more advantages but let's be honest, talking directly to the CEO is really cool!
“Talk about your experience so far”
Apostolos: I am almost 3 months in my internship and there are so many things going on! Prior to my application, I thought that during my entire internship, I would have to deal with all what others didn't want to do. That wasn't the case! Working on a start-up means that your work will be used immediately. That said, after some weeks of mentoring my code was ready to run. And a couple of days later my work was live on “marine.travel”. My second project was even more exciting as I had to be exposed in another technology: Node.js. Through the entire time, everyone in the team is ready to answer my questions or solve my problems. I learned many tools, best practices and most importantly how to work as part of a team.
“What would you suggest to people who want to get some work experience?”
Apostolos: Nowadays working experience is far more important than university courses or GPA. There are many Greek start-ups looking for passionate people to learn new stuff, meet interesting people and of course add experience in their LinkedIn. Working for Google, Facebook or Amazon is everyone's dream but you can live the same dream now by getting involved in a start-up. Just send an email out! It's that simple!
Special thanks to Adonis & Apostolos for sharing their thoughts and experiences with us. We wish you the best of luck for the launch of your product! In Reload Greece we believe that this only one of the start-up stories awaiting to be heard, so if you have a story to tell please,want to become a Reloader or want to actively contribute to one of our openings please contact us. More experiences and thoughts to follow in our next event on the 21st of September were you will also have the chance to meet Antonios in person!