Success Story: Bank of Memories overcame the fears and became a scalable business once pitched on InnMind

Bank of Memories came as an idea to Iryna and Andrew with a mission to help people save their memories and their entire life for many decades ahead. And when it comes to storing the most important data permanently – new technologies like blockchain and decentralization facilitate this process and make the whole journey smooth, convenient and safe. Pursuing this mission, Iryna and Andrew built a smart storage with a private family network, encouraging people to save and transmit the most valuable information most conveniently and permanently.

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Although Bank of Memories is a successful and growing business now with its core team relocating to the US, it started (as always) as a small pre-seed startup one year ago on InnMind. Marc Nasr, a VC Analyst on InnMind taking care of DeFi & Infrastructure dealflow, noticed Bank of Memories and supported Iryna in making it to the VC Pitching Session to pitch in front of selected VCs and Draper University.

Iryna Savytska pitching Bank of Memories at InnMind VC Pitching Session in December 2021

Despite a lot of hesitation coming from the founder’s side, Marc managed to encourage Iryna to participate in the session dating back to December 2021. As a result, she won the main prize – a full scholarship to participate in a 5-week Hero Training program in Silicon Valley by Draper University!

“I never ever won anything, and that was such a shock – I won the main prize for the first time with InnMind” – commented Iryna Savytska, Co-Founder & CEO of Bank of Memories.

What is Bank of Memories

Bank of Memories focuses on people and humanity and their essential things in life: themselves and their families. The idea came from the understanding that every person accumulates valuable information throughout life: emotional, financial, medical, and scientific. The need for its preservation, analysis and transmission to future generations pushed them to a decisive step.

Bank of Memories is smart storage with a private family network, encouraging people to save and transmit the most valuable information most conveniently and permanently.

Problems Bank of Memories solve

Disorganized, repulsive state of information about a person and their family

  • Loss of valuable information in the flow of social networks
  • Loss of self-identity and sincerity, distortion of Digital Self
  • Personal data commoditization
  • Web2 and Web3 connection

Each feature that is included in the system harmoniously complements each other and covers the needs of the user, leaving room for opportunities and growth:

  • Smart storage of memories in NFT and regular format
  • Family/friends tree
  • Time Capsule with valuable moments and crypto gifts
  • Family Fund Staking

What happened at Draper University Hero Training that made Bank of Memories re-born

Tim Draper and Iryna Savytska, Founder & CEO of Bank of Memories.

The training program at Draper University is designed for 5-weeks and the university itself is located in San Mateo with a whole block being bought out specifically for this campus. Some of the campus buildings belonging to one of the old hotels on campus were restored in the style of Harry Potter so most of the classes were held there. The focus of the whole program was on Web3,  so some of the founders with Web2 projects felt a little out of place. But they adapted quickly as commented by Iryna, in this regard she was lucky – she already knew everything.

Despite the fact that Tim Draper himself did not invest in Bank of Memories based on the results of the training, Iryna was very lucky – she was offered to stay for another 3 months for free to consolidate what she had learned and work out some details of the project.

“The most important things that are taught at Draper University are leadership, voice and posture which are crucial to make the right impression on others. The program trains and develops the skills of a leader in the first place. We had to do many crazy things that we never do in our daily life. For example, jumping into the pool wearing our clothes if we’re late for the session.  The program was not just useful, but also fun. The part of the pledge we learned by heart and repeated every morning.

“I will pursue fairness, openness, health and fun with all that I encounter. Mostly fun.” – commented Iryna.

For one week Draper alumni went to North Carolina, where they lived in a tent city, without amenities.

“In a few days we walked about 120 km. We lived like at a military training camp, even the instructors were from the US Army. There were a lot of injuries among the participants, for many the physical load was prohibitive. But we did it! It helps a lot to boost your motivation. We were constantly told what we expected from our business, even if such simple tests cause us great difficulties. There was a feeling that we surpassed all possible fears – we were pushed out of our comfort zone and were constantly pushed to overcome our own fear.” – shared Iryna when remembering the days at Draper U.

What was the outcome of the Draper University program for the Bank of Memories?

Iryna shared that only a couple of projects usually receive investments after completing the program. However, since the global market is so unstable now, many opportunities are suspended, and most VC resources are directed to stabilizing investment portfolios.

Amongst the program participants of the batch with Bank of Memories only one project received $100k in angel investments. Nevertheless, it all depends on a founder’s mindset and how they can extract the opportunities even when no VCs are knocking at your door. For instance, during the training, Iryna, on her own, managed to attract around $100k in grants, cash, and vouchers for the project development through networking.

As a result, Bank of Memories was also invited by the state of Utah – the heart of family innovation products in the US. The team received several commitments from local advisers, who spend 2 hours a week working with them and helping with further development. On top of that, the state offered to open a small office and expand the team to scale faster and attend local conferences to represent Bank of Memories ideas and the product, such as Rootstech by Family Search.

Bank of Memories is now looking to raise the next round

The team began to seriously work on the concept of the product back in 2019. Play-2-Earn, Walk-2-Earn have already been loudly announced on the market, and while working on the pitchdeck with the Bank of Memories team, we came up with the Save-2-Earn concept.

“We were just developing an MVP when we first met with InnMind. We failed approximately 5 times since that time, which is a normal startup path. Now after all these iterations we have a community of about 5-6k users/early adopters of our platform and we have already generated first sales. Maybe InnMind will do the magic trick once again at the current round, who knows ;)” – said the co-founder.

The team is optimistic about the pre-seed round thanks to gained traction and established business partner relations. As a result of the milestones achieved and good traction, the valuation has gone up, and now they plan to raise $1M.

“We have a legal structure set in Delaware, and we are raising equity. Token raise seemed to be quite risky during the last year, but after FTX, it’s all a very shady story for investors.” – shared Iryna in a comment regarding the current round.

At the end of this inspiring story, Iryna wanted to give a few pieces of advice to the InnMind community of entrepreneurs:

  • Do not panic or stress out when something goes against your plans, everything can and should be discussed with the team to find the right solution or a new direction;
  • You need to be passionate about your startup, be ready to spend the last dollar for the sake of and for the good of your startup;
  • Always keep the focus on the user, not on the investor or fundraising. As a founder, do not assign yourself a separate role to attract capital. Build your product, grow a community around the startup, expand your network to be in a strong position. When your only goal is to find and attract capital, you seem much weaker and this is always felt by any investor.

Community building is an essential part of any startup, especially when it comes to testing your product and gaining the first users. When we asked Iryna they managed to build a community around Bank of Memories, she commented:

“Start with a focus group – 100-200 people who might be your relatives, friends and your close network. This will be quite a representative sample – they will help create value that will attract the next 1000 people and so on. Nothing is free, even the first interested ones need to be motivated by something, promise them free service, for example, for the first couple of years. The referral program is very important, many investors pay a lot of attention to this aspect.”

How to attract the first capital?

Before you go to institutional investors or VCs that often require some traction before even considering an investment, the best approach, based on Iryna’s opinion, is to attract the first money through grants. There are not so many of them, but you still can get around $30-80k. These are Google for Startups, various incubators or grants from large protocols, such as Polygon and NEAR. As shared by Iryna when recalling their first fundraising journey:

“Don’t be afraid of participating in any grants – it’s not always real money, often they give out vouchers or credits for professional services in design, marketing, etc. And when applying, try to attract their attention, and stand out from the general list of applicants – maybe you have a reward (please do not appeal to medals for athletic achievements in school)? Or publications on thematic it-pro resources? It might help!“


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