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Student Spotlight: Maurice and Hossein’s Habit Tracking App

Maurice and Hossein met at the Launch Film for Start-ups module. From then on, they joined forces to create identi, a habit tracking app that will let you join tribes with other like-minded peers to build powerful habits and routines!

Maurice Holtus, an aerospace engineer and a certified systemic business coach, dreamt about contributing to the development of carbon-neutral aeroplanes. He joined Airbus with that dream in mind, but while working there discovered a passion for both entrepreneurship and coaching. One day, he realized that he had to leave and make his entrepreneurial vision a reality. Soon thereafter, he enrolled in an MBA programme in High-tech Entrepreneurship (minoring in Digital Marketing) at Harbour.Space University. 

While pitching his project identi in the Launch Film for Start-ups module, Maurice met Hossein Yousefi, an Iranian-born Computer Science student and a bronze medalist in a National Olympiad in Informatics and SWERC: “after hearing me pitch identi in class, Hossein pitched it back to me for almost 20 minutes. Then, he showed me about 60 similar apps on his phone and explained why identi’s social component is the exact element that’s missing in all of them. We immediately called my friend Florian Gehle and continued working as a team from then on.”

Maurice, Houssein and Florian

Following this spark, Maurice became the Co-founder and CEO, Hossein the Co-founder and CTO, and Florian the Co-founder and COO of identi. Together, they made it to the Y Combinator interview stage back in April of 2020 and by September of last year, they had over 2,500 users in their beta version. Now, after almost two years of working on it, they are planning on launching identi on the App Store and Play Store by mid-December, 2021. For this trio of entrepreneurs, meeting each other at Harbour.Space was certainly worth their studying experience.

What’s identi?

According to Maurice, most people are great at starting a new habit, whether it’s meditation, an exercise routine or a diet- the problem is with following through with it. People tend to stop after a few days or weeks and the cycle starts over again. Maurice thinks he found the solution to that problem with identi: “Based on personal experience and knowledge as a coach, I know that nothing works as well as joining a tribe of like-minded peers where your desired behaviour is already the norm.”

And that is what they strive to do with identi, to make it the go-to social network for habits and routines by leveraging the power of community to keep people on track and in check toward their goals in four main areas: soul, body, mind, and work. 

identi

identi, The Social Habit Tracking App

They plan to contact nano and micro-influencers to be the leaders of the identi community. Maurice tells us that the plan for them is to “invite their followers to join their identi tribe. With the app and their content, they can adopt actionable habits with explanatory videos from their favourite influencer and cheer each other up in an intimate community of like-minded peers.” 

Hossein adds that what makes identi different is that, “users can enjoy all of the features in the app completely for free, including the advanced social features, such as habit approval, which prevents users from cheating on themselves by having to provide photo proof to track their habits. Moreover, identi is a marketplace where subscribers can join these communities to learn from the leaders and each other, share tips and progress, keep each other accountable, and ultimately celebrate success together.”

The goal is to fill your identi, the floating blob which appears in the center of your screen and that represents the progress you are making in those four areas of your life: body, mind, soul, and work. 

So far, people will be able to find yoga teachers, vegan nutritionists, communication coaches, fitness trainers, productivity experts, startup mentors, and more. Hossein tells us that they have curated over 100 habits, each bundled with a video explanation to inspire the users in their personal journey.

The dream keeps growing

Their plans don’t stop at launching the app. They are already working on Identi STUDIO, a place for tribe leaders to manage and create content for their particular communities.

For Hossein, their goal is not only to improve their users’ lives, but also to create a source of income for their tribe leaders. For Maurice, it’s about empowering people in the creator economy to finally get paid for the value that they are generating. “Today, many nano and micro-influencers feel the need to ask for donations on pages like Patreon to be able to continue making content for their followers, and now with identi, we are giving them not only a platform but a source of income”, expresses Maurice. 

Kudos for Harbour.Space

Both Maurice and Hossein believe Harbour.Space has been, hands down, the best academic experience of their lives. Structuring classes into three-week blocks with teachers that are the best of the best in their respective industry fields and that grade the student on the project they create at the end amplified his motivation for learning. 

One of Maurice’s favourite teachers was Hannes Chopra because he managed to turn a group of students from different places all over the world into forming close, caring and supportive friendships. 

Last but certainly not least, Harbour.Space granted Maurice a scholarship for the Global Innovation Catalyst Programme at Stanford University, which was, as he tells us, “a fantastic opportunity to complement the insights and network from Harbour.Space’s programme.”

Knowledge for the road ahead 

These are the top three lessons that Maurice wants to pass down to other students:

1. Take every opportunity presented to you - you never know who you're going to meet along the way.

2. Don't be too attached to your ideas - startup ideas are not always bound to succeed. Maurice worked on a totally different startup idea during the first three months. So don’t hesitate to start something new if you realize you're not the right person to build that business.

3. Prioritize your energy - then starting a new project, people will always give you feedback, whether it’s critical or constructive. Maurice noticed that exercising and sleeping well can make the difference between feeling personally attacked or being grateful for the valuable new insight and excited to overcome that roadblock.

 

If you want to download identi app and find your tribe click here. Follow identi on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. To know more about Maurice and Hossein connect through LinkedIn.

If you are interested in joining the High-tech Entrepreneurship, Computer Science or Digital Marketing programme, take a look at Harbour.Space’s website.

Finally, you can write to us at hello@harbour.space and let us know your inquiries and thoughts.

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