Hongwei talks Mappedin

I had the chance to interview Hongwei from Mappedin about his start-up. He will also be participating in the EOT Exhibition on March 29 from 11-2:30 in the SLC Great Hall.


Who are you?

I am a student of Electrical Engineering, a gamer, a badminton player, and (I guess) now an entrepreneur – though I don’t feel like one yet. I’m currently in my second year, and spent both my previous work terms working in Radio Frequency R&D at RIM. It was an interesting experience, and seeing my work get patented was downright awesome, but since I’ve found that I covet the startup life even more.

What are you working on? Explain?

A year ago, I co-founded MappedIn, a point-to-point mapping and navigation platform for indoor locations.  More simply, I like to think of it as “Google Maps for indoor places.” Up until now, our team has been working on MappedIn as a side project.  Recently, however, we finished our first paid contract and have decided to ride the momentum by working full-time this summer on the project.

How has living in VeloCity helped you in your entrepreneurial ambitions?

If I hadn’t gone to VeloCity, I probably wouldn’t have anything to do with startups (at least not right now).  Not because I wouldn’t want to, but like many people I know, I’d think: “that stuff’s too intense for me; where would I even begin?” So like them, I would whine about school and the hoops I have to jump through, and then jump them anyway for fear of poverty.

VeloCity is a place where cool things happen. I applied for the residence in my first year mainly because I wanted to have air conditioning* for the summer (my previous res didn’t). What I found is a community of fun, smart people who, like me, want something more out of university. For me, VeloCity was a foot in the door that got me to embrace the startup world, with the support of friends and like-minded peers.

* I just realized I made a terrible pun.  What’s done is done.

What are some of your current roadblocks?

The biggest obstacle we’ve been dealing with developing MappedIn is school and work/coop. In my case, at least, I find myself using school as an excuse for MappedIn, and the reciprocal as well. Somehow, I often end up here.

Next term, I’ll be able to focus on just one thing; happily, it’s the one I’m passionate about.

What’s the game plan for your future?

I’m excited to take MappedIn as far as it will go. It’s a great idea with a huge market, and a great team of people working on it 🙂
The outlook is admittedly uncertain. I can see so many ways for things to go wrong, but I’m hooked by the thought of it all working out.

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