Last year Kseniya Shurak quit her job in IT and attended the AllStartup Weekend in Belarus. There she met Vladislav Korotkevich and Uladzislau Dubouski and, together, they formed 3DMG (3D Model Generator). This AI-based software allows people to create 3D models and animations – a task that once took months to complete – in just a few seconds. Users simply upload their design to the app or choose a model, identifies parameters he or she wants to apply and at the click of a button they create a new character. These models can be made in multiple variations and used in games or for 3D art. It’s a unique idea to say the least and Kseniya shared with us how she ended up co-founding the project.
1. What were you and your co-founders doing before 3DMG?
I was working in IT and marketing, writing content and so on, but I quit my job and joined the AllStartup Weekend. The other guys have more experience than me: one spent six years in IT and the other has a degree in AI and two years under his belt working on AI development.
2. What is it about your co-founders that made you want to form a startup with them?
Obviously their experience and competencies were important, but emotion had a big part to play. At the end of the day I want to work with people with whom I share some connection. I’m very lucky to work with these guys.
3. Are there particular skills you need to be an entrepreneur?
I think there are things you learn at an early age that help shape your career path. For instance, I always had conversations with my family about work and I think that motivated me to study at business school, where I learned a lot of things you need for a life in business.
4. Why did you decide to start your company with Demium?
I found Demium advertising on Facebook and thought the AllStartup weekend sounded interesting. I liked the idea that you met your team members there.
5. How has Demium helped you?
The best thing is that the 3DMG team found each other there and we were able to continue working on the project afterwards. Demium helped us with the initial stages and with the way we communicated, so we could better solve our own issues. Communication is important for any company and it was great to have someone help us to understand each other. The second major thing they gave us was a framework: what to do and how to do it. They also introduced us to other investors in the ecosystem. It was great.
6. Was the AllStartup Weekend everything you thought it’d be?
Overall I really liked the programme. I like that you communicate with different people. It’s difficult, for sure, because you meet so many people in one day, but you find a connection with a lot of them. I also like the pitching side of the event, because it makes me feel anxious, but in a good way.
7. How does it feel to be a CMO?
For me, the work of a CMO is very important, especially in 2020, because the success of your startup is not only about the product itself, but how it’s marketed. It can be difficult for me at times, as I’ve never been a CMO before, but I get to communicate with people with great marketing experience and they offer me advice. I think the biggest challenge of being a CMO these days is trying to get people to understand your value proposition and why they need your product. You need to find the ‘pain points’ that make your product perfect for them. Never forget about the customers and their needs.
8. So far what has been the biggest challenge and success?
Biggest success for us? I think it was joining the NVIDIA Inception programme. Recognition from such a company means that the market really needs us and we’re on the right path. As for challenges, it’s tough to be mentally prepared for this journey. There are loads of points when you feel like giving up, but you need to be strong in those situations in order to overcome hurdles and get results.
9. Where do you see yourself in a year’s time?
Still as CMO of 3DMG, but our startup would have conducted sales of €1m. We’ll have big studios interested and willing to work with us. And I hope to have grown personally, to be stronger than I am today.
10. What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs?
Right now it’s difficult to form a startup, so if you’re going to do it don’t think about money or the success stories of other startups. Of course, it’s good to learn about other startups, but know that this type of work isn’t for everyone. It can be very stressful. Research as much as possible, take part in events and understand the job first, because everything can change very fast. If you do the research and decide you still want to create a startup, then go for it and achieve your goals.