How IT and psychology are similar
Zhasulan Tasbolatov is the founder and director of the im'ok project. He is actively involved in the life of Astana Hub - an alumnus and participant of the Techpreneurs program and a tracker of the Teenpreneurs acceleration program for NIS students.
Tell me about yourself. How did you come to IT? At what age did you decide that you wanted to do this?
- I got my first experience in the IT field by interning in different companies - with participants and residents of Astana Hub. Before that, I tried my hand at marketing, was engaged in targeting, advertising cabinets. However, I personally did not see great prospects in this direction for myself. I learned programming myself from books and Internet resources, it took me only 6 months to comprehend the basic things. Today I have been doing this for 2 years, my specialization is a full-stack developer
What prompted you to create a startup this year?
In addition to programming, for several years now I have been interested in psychology. According to WHO, after the coronavirus pandemic, 90% of the population potentially needs psychological counseling. The January events also affected the mental health, psyche and well-being of all Kazakhstanis, especially the residents of Almaty. As a person who has the power to do this, I consider it my duty to help people who have suffered as a result of the terrible events in our country. To help Kazakhstanis improve their mental health, on March 28 this year, we launched the i'mok platform with partners.
The mission of my company is to develop technological solutions that solve the problems of the psychological health of the population. I realized that I should not stay away from the life of the state, so I decided to start implementing my own ideas, thereby improving the living standards of the population and becoming part of the IT market of New Kazakhstan.
How is this process going?
Experts say: a person who wants to undergo a course of therapy, on average, changes 3-4 specialists until he finds the right one. Our service solves the problem of the lack of the first contact. Clients will be able to get acquainted with the portfolio of all psychologists on one site, conduct correspondence and purchase a subscription to individual consultations.
Our global goal is to create a Club of Psychologists, which will include 30 of the best specialists. Membership in the club guarantees automatic promotion of a personal brand and provides access to the "i'mok community" in order to improve skills and exchange experience with other experts. We will conduct a rigorous selection process before accepting a psychologist to the club. This will allow us to guarantee the quality of our services.
Of course, we could afford to receive 20,000 people at once and get a lot of money for it. However, we understand that there are a lot of unskilled specialists on the labor market, and we cannot be responsible for the quality of their services.
What is the difference between your service and a regular SMM agency?
First of all, it is a unique business model that we have developed ourselves. Before us, there was no startup in the world that attracts vendors to its service by promoting their personal brand, becoming a micro-influencer in social networks and conducting online trainings from invited experts to improve the quality of services provided.
In addition, we have a tested PR program from our partners - a marketing agency that has been creating brands for companies and individuals for the 6th year. We create dynamic and effective brands for modern businesses that can win over consumers and outperform competitors.
The third is the social orientation. Members of the i'mok club and I draw up a content plan for a specific audience. There are a lot of people among the population who have suffered financially, morally and psychologically after the COVID-19 pandemic, the January events in Almaty and military operations in Ukraine. With each specialist, we work through texts on various topics: from postpartum depression and family problems to the impact of geopolitical events.
Who is your team?
- The team consists of 12 people. These are 4 founders: CEO, commercial director, lawyer and producer. As CEO, I am responsible for production, operations, my co-founders Kanat and Yermek are responsible for marketing strategy. We also have a photographer, editor, journalist, SMM, developers and project managers. Each of us has a strong background in our industries.
- Do you consider yourself a leader? What does it feel like to be in charge of a startup project at the age of 19?
- My strategy for managing a startup is simple - I don't meddle in other people's work and I don't limit my colleagues' creativity. I completely trust my team and listen to all suggestions and ideas.
Your story with Astana Hub - what did the technopark give you as a startup?
I am a graduate of last year's Techpreneurs acceleration program and a participant in a new stream of the same program. At the workshops, I got the most necessary knowledge for a beginner: how a startup works and works, what first steps you need to take to implement your idea. I got acquainted with such concepts as customer development, market analysis.
Another advantage of participating in the hub programs is a cool community. We communicate, work together in coworking, help each other, motivate. I can already call some companies my like-minded people and friends: these are Foody, CheckDoc, UVU, Yonabiz, ebash.