Step by Step: The Path to Creating a Successful Startup

Denis Goncharov, the founder of startups “Noli Music” and “Metacraft MMO“, the editor of “Project +1” and “Petersburg TV” and simply the kindest person in St. Petersburg, shared his story with us in Q&A format. His story is worthy of at least one episode of any startup series. Denis has never abandoned all his hopes, he told about his life path and business insights.

Denis was born in a small town near Kursk. Since childhood he strived to create something and make life around better, despite the disease – dystrophy of duchenne. That’s when muscles can’t grow and break down. But that didn’t stop him from his goals.

His first startup was “Noli Music”. He dreamed of playing guitar, but a genetic disease, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, got in his way. Because of it, Goncharov couldn’t jam chords and play. To cope with the problem, he decided to create a “smart” electric guitar for people with disabilities and aspiring musicians.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced in your startup?
A: The biggest challenge I faced was fundraising. It was a hard-working project and investors are reluctant to invest into hardware, but this problem was solved.

Q: How do you choose people for your team?
A: I searched for the same people as I do. Those who can dream and live outside of templates. We looked absolutely everywhere. And we found.

Q: What benefit have you got from Noli music project?
A: Noli music has taught me a lot. It’s a huge hands-on experience that you can’t buy anywhere else.

Q: What happened to Noli Music startup?
A: Because of events in Russia in 22 year Noli Music lost USA investor (though the company was in America, all team was in Russia). The project returned to the stage “with their own hands”. The team had to disband, leaving only the engineer and designer. But that is not the point, just a long dash, after which there will be a successful finale! Not to sit still, I created another project that is not connect to geopolitical risks. It is a GameDev startup.

Q: Tell us about your project Metacraft MMO, please. What’s going to happen in this universe in general?
A: We are creating an online game Metaverse where player can spend his time the way he wants: compete with other players, grow something, extract resources or fight against powerful enemies controlled by AI. Right now, Metaverses are a boring piece of nothing. It can’t live like that, so we redefine it by making it live, with its own world and rules.

Q: What do you think makes your Metacraft MMO different from others?
A: The Metacraft MMO is stylistically similar to Mincraft, and there’s a reason for that. Our calculation is to interest the multimillion audience of the most popular game in the world. Minkraft is officially played by 172 million people per month. And there are just as many unofficial servers, which the statistics do not count. All these “pirate”, mostly have low quality modifications about technology, mechanisms, space, etc. People are tired of the medieval Minkraft and want something of the same, but about space. And here we come out, with space stations, planetary exploration, technology and nuclear power. That’s the potential of millions of players. Open beta testing showed numbers four times higher than we expected.

Q: In what other areas are you going to develop?
A: I’ve tried many things, as I have the ability to quickly adapt and learn new goals and objectives. But I definitely plan to do my own projects and work for myself.

Q: Are you planning to develop your startup in the UAE, one of the leaders in the startup market?
A: UAE looks like a great home for our startup. As soon as we attract investment, we plan to open a company in UAE.

Q: What is the most important lesson you learned from running your projects?
A: The most important element in business is not to be afraid to make mistakes. Fear is the biggest enemy. We are always afraid of something new, that’s why we repeat the same thing like a broken record. And business is always innovation

Thank you for taking the time to discuss. I enjoyed our conversation and wish you be successful in all your projects!

April 30, 2023

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