Exclusive interview for SPINOFF.COM with Nuka Team - Katya Mykhalko, Eugene Shylo, and Nikita Vladykin - about their eternal stationery. The team has two products: the eternal notebook and the eternal pencil. Not only the pencil but also any ordinary pen can be attached to the notebook with the help of magnetic fasteners. The notebook is completely waterproof and it can be rewritten endlessly. It is impossible to tear out its pages. The pencil is made of a specific metal alloy which interacts with the paper by oxidizing it. The unnecessary writing can be erased with the help of rubber, and the notebook allows keeping only the current information. The customers can use the pencil throughout their lives.
SOC: Dear Nuka Team, thank you for your generosity in spending time with us and sharing your insights about your product. Our investors would like to learn more about your background and team members.
Nuka Team: We met when we were studying Strategy and Art Direction/Advertising in the Kyiv Academy of Media Arts. We had some experience in marketing processes and we got the common idea of creating something new. We were the best students in the group. Before that, we worked for some advertising agencies.
SOC: Could you please share the story of your eternal stationery creation?
Nuka Team: As we already had some work experience, we wanted to apply our knowledge and to create our own product. We are the real fans of the stationery, we use it every day. More importantly, our team wanted to make something revolutionary and unique. We discovered the materials which have not been used before for the stationery production. The goal was to create the notebook and the pencil in a completely new way and to bring some fresh ideas to the market. We have been working on our project for 12 months. The customers could use our product endlessly.
SOC: What are the USP of your product and the fundamental differences from other products that tried to solve this problem before you?
Nuka Team: There are companies which also work towards the stationery development. But there is nothing new in their products. Our team wanted to diversify the stationery. One very important point is that the customers don’t have to use only the eternal pencil to write in the eternal notebook. They can use any ordinary pen. The working principle is simple. You write the message in the notebook, the inks dry up, you take a specific remover which we are developing now, spray it to the writing and after that erase with the help of wet wipes. Regarding the pencil, it doesn’t leave any spots, so your hands remain clean. The eternal pencil is made of a specific metal alloy, that is why the customers can use it throughout their lives. It can be used under different environmental conditions. Moreover, it can’t be broken.
SOC: Was your project funded by any state financing or grants? Has it already received any honors or awards?
Nuka Team: We are in Concepter Accelerator program. They collaborate with Ukrainian Biosphere Corporation. We obtained our initial funding, $20.000, from them. Concepter is one of the first Ukrainian start-up projects which created the Lunecase - the first intelligent iPhone cover. Now they invest in different start-ups and help them to embody their ideas into reality. We took part in the iForum conference and for us, it was a real chance to find out what is the feedback on our product. Our eternal stationery was highlighted as the most interesting project, and after that Concepter noticed us. In addition, we’re working now with Biosphere Corporation on developing the specific remover for our notebook which will erase the writing.
SOC: What is the actual addressable market currently for your product? Could you please share with us the results of the market studies, if there are any?
Nuka Team: Before starting our project, we conducted a research and discovered that despite the technological development, many people still appreciate tactile sensations and they prefer taking notes in the notebook rather than in laptops or smartphones. We divided our target audience into three main groups. The first one includes business people and desk officers who use the notebooks during the work. The second group consists of creative people. They visualize their ideas with the help of notebooks and pencils. The third one is the young people who use the stationery during their studying. We created the map of interests for all these groups in order to find the best way to present our product to them. We also discovered that 16 million people in the US are ready to buy our eternal stationery. In addition, nowadays many students are choosing the creative industries. They want to become designers and artists. Such professions require the constant use of the stationery. Our cost per lead is 75-80 cents. If we multiply the cost of our product by 16 million people, we will get a billion dollars market.
SOC: Please tell us about your criteria for selecting partners.
Nuka Team: For us, it is very important to have the same values. We would like our partners to be creative and thinking outside the box people. They should not be motivated only by the salary. They have to be really interested in our project and inspired to build some fresh ideas. It is the only way to develop new products.
SOC: For spinoff companies, their intellectual property is a key to success. The investors pay particular attention to this. What key intellectual property does your company have?
Nuka Team: We are filing a patent now. We are also in the process of trademark registration.
SOC: Are you seeking investments at this moment? What did you plan to use the investments funds for?
Nuka Team: We need money to promote our product on Kickstarter. Our team wants to present itself and to begin the initial stage of the marketing. Besides, now we are working on media publicity with some journalists from the US.
SOC: Could you please describe your ideal investor? What aspects are important to you? For instance, is it experience, country, the amount of private capital or maybe some personal qualities?
Nuka Team: We want to cooperate with people who have the faith in our project. For example, Biosphere Corporation is the great partners. They provide us with their resources in order to help develop the remover. The founder also supports us and we would like to have the investors with the same approach. We want our future investors to be involved in our project and to be really interested in our ideas. They should not treat to our product like to another job. In addition, we would like our investors to support us not only with their money but also with their ideas.
SOC: Could you specify the most convenient way you would like to receive inquiries from potential investors? Should it be by e-mail or a personal phone call?
Nuka Team: E-mail would be great. We can also have a Skype call or a personal meeting.
Dear Nuka Team, SPINOFF.COM would like to express gratitude for the time you have dedicated to this interview. We are pleased to forward the interview to all potential investors and partners and we will observe the development and success of your product with great pleasure and interest.