In the final part of a 4-part series where we learn how startups can benefit from accelerator programmes, we speak to Ilter Dumduz, the founder and CEO of Blys.
Blys is on-demand mobile massage service, where users can access services and book online, and although only founded just 3 years ago the company has already expanded into more than 10 major cities across Australia.
The Sharing Hub is Australia’s first sharing-economy accelerator; one of the five co-founders, Michael Rosenbaum, who also has his own startup (Spacer) within the accelerator, said “The Sharing Hub brings together startups and offers a network for sharing knowledge, support and collaboration.”
“Many of us have grown as startups from the beginnings of the sharing economy and have watched the industry grow over the last decade. We now have 20 companies in The Sharing Hub covering everything from dresses, campervans and storage to children’s goods, massages and art classes.”
Today we talk to Ilter about his startup journey, Blys’s growth and his advice for anyone else in the startup game right now.
Tell us about your startup – why and when you decided to found it?
Blys makes wellness more easily accessible for all Australians. We enable customers to book qualified and trusted practitioners seamlessly through our website and mobile app – whilst helping practitioners create flexible, safe and reliable income opportunities for themselves.
Blys was founded in 2016 in Sydney, to address the lack of reliable, safe and affordable wellness service that you could trust and book when you need it the most.
How has The Sharing Hub helped your startup to grow?
Joining The Sharing Hub has been one of the best decisions I made for Blys. It helped us accelerate our growth by connecting us with some of the sharpest and most dynamic founders and teams in Australia.
Everybody here is right in the thick of it, going through the same growing pains as we are at Blys – so to have immediate access to each other’s experiences and gain actionable insights on finance, operations, growth and marketplace dynamics – is priceless.
It also provides a solid support network – which I think is very valuable for mental health.
What’s been the biggest thing you’ve learned or realised since joining the accelerator?
Rubbing shoulders with some of the most driven and ambitious teams and individuals, I quickly realised that our “big” vision for Blys, was in fact not big enough. So, soon after we joined, we went back to the drawing board and devised a plan to shoot for the moon instead.
How has your startup changed since you joined The Sharing Hub?
Prior to joining The Sharing Hub, we were working out of my garage. So first of all, we now have decent desks and chairs!
We measure our success by the impact we’re making in the community. In the 2 years that we’ve been involved in and backed by The Sharing Hub, we have helped practitioners earn more than $3m through our platform and have enabled over 40,000 Australians to have easy access to treatments in their home or work.
What does the future look like for your business?
Blys is evolving every day. Our vision for Blys is to become the most trusted wellness brand for customers & practitioners in Australia and beyond. We have plenty of exciting new features and services in the pipeline – stay tuned.
Would you recommend an accelerator to other startups, and why?
I think every company and team has a unique journey – so it depends on where you’re at in your journey as a team, but I can say that for us, it’s been very valuable. It helped us connect with a network of people who are as passionate as we are about finding new & better (safer, easier, cleaner, faster) ways to do things. We learnt a lot from them.