Today’s Featured BizSpark Startup is Labsii from Serbia
Launching a startup in a small country that’s not an IT hotspot? Ivan Ičin of Belgrade, Serbia knows what you’re up against.
Ivan Ičin, Founder and CEO of Labsii, knows his country’s location and size probably isn’t the best from which to reach a global market with his apps. But that doesn’t stop him from following his heart.
“After trying three different projects with results that were not satisfactory, I discovered that the most important thing is to find the match between your skills, resources and the market,” he says. “That’s how Share to Speech was born.”
Share to Speech for Windows is a text-to-speech and “listen later” app now available for Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone in the Windows Store. It brings text to speech technology in a user-friendly way that will quickly become a part of your life, explains Ičin.
The biggest benefit to the app? Its intelligence feature saves time. There’s no more wasted moments telling a speech app what should be saved as text on a web page, for instance, or which parts of an article are most important. Share to Speech already knows. Listen to work files on your way to the office, explore the web without a computer screen when you have a few minutes to wear headphones or simply learn more of the things you want to know without keeping bulky items in your briefcase.
Here’s how it works: Share a link, text or selection from any app into the Share to Speech app. It could be a book, an article, a work document – whatever. Share to Speech will scan and intelligently detect the actual language you want to hear, then create an audio file. For example, give the app a URL and it will read the parts of a web page that contain useful text and skip the rest, like online ads or other links on the page. When you’re ready to listen, the item you selected will be available as an MP3 file.
The app won its division in a Windows 8.1 developer contest, giving Ičin much-needed visibility for his startup. It also boosted Ičin’s confidence.
Ičin works on perfecting his products after he comes home from his day job, bootstrapping Labsii with his regular paycheck and the revenue he now sees from his apps in the Windows Store.
One way to he kept costs down was to join Microsoft BizSpark and take advantage of the free software the program provides. Microsoft’s developer products offer the best experience, he says.
“Having free access to Microsoft tools for 3 years can significantly speed up development of your company,” he adds. “Aside from BizSpark I also have a great relationship with Microsoft. I entered a regional Windows 8.1 developer contest and it helped with both professional advice and gaining visibility.”
“I am a bit conservative, so I am more inclined to think about building for revenue,” says Ičin. “It is not impossible now to get funding in countries that are not in the center of IT industry, like Serbia. I think that companies from smaller countries are more pushed to aim sooner for at least some revenue, and even more to keep costs down.”