„Ideas are Worth Nothing unless Executed”

A new visual whiteboard software has been developed by a team of experts, some of whom graduated at BME. The application called Ziteboard has won an international startup competition.

„These days a good idea is not enough for a successful startup. The market is overloaded and you have to come up with something really unique and practical to draw attention, said Richárd Gellai, managing director of Ziteboard. „We want to avoid mistakes others have made before. For example many people deal with their ideas only and have no idea how to execute them. Some keep everything in secret others tend to reveal too much about themselves and their ideas. A successful startup should not make any unnecessary investments; we do not even have business cards. We are not there yet, we do not need any and this is not a key factor to success anyway. It is much more important that we believe in ourselves and we are not afraid of failure. Failure is a useful thing; you should rather take it into account and not fear from it. What happens if an idea fails? Nothing. It is just an opportunity to learn and see what you should do differently next time, added Richárd Gellai.

Members of the Ziteboard startup team:

Richárd Gellai
Graduated in 2010 as a technical manager at the Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences of BME. After graduation he was dealing with business evaluation of SOTE medical research programmes, and founded a business development enterprise and a health care media company, which have been operating successfully since then. In one of his previous projects he introduced a new type of food packaging technology in a North-American food incubator. He also established the Business Meetup Community, a knowledge share forum of some 1.250 entrepreneurs from Budapest area in order to facilitate synergies for efficient cooperation.

Tamás Hornos
Graduated in 2009 in the Graduate School of Physics of BME and spent two years in Norway with a researcher grant. After his return to Hungary he started to work for KFKI (Central Research Institute for Physics), where he is responsible for providing supercomputing infrastructure for several research projects.

Tamás Rékasi
Designer-illustrator with 12 years of experience. Earlier he was running a digital press office; one of his most remarkable works has been a cover page for Galaktika magazine.

The team of three have developed a unique so-called post-app service inspired by personal experiences. “We have all used flipcharts and whiteboards during presentations and discussions. There was always a problem when we wanted to keep, edit and use these notes later; we could record them only as photos,” explained Tamás Hornos, technology manager of Ziteboard. 

„I never prepare for my presentations” said Richárd Gellai, who also works as a trainer and business coach. “Instead of a proper presentation it is always more important that my audience should contribute and talk about the issues they are interested in. I always take notes and make drawings of such ideas, thoughts and feelings – and Ziteboard provides an unlimited and continually editable surface for that.”


Ziteboard is a browser-based visual collaboration and interactive presentation tool, which replaces flipcharts, whiteboards and writing pads used in office or school environment. Another name for the application is „zoomable whiteboard”.

Users can make drawings and take notes on the touchscreen, with the cursor or a digital pen on any electronic surfaces: on a computer, tablet or smartphone. The notes are saved by the application in the given surface in a digital file; it becomes unnecessary to take photos of them, which cannot be edited later.

The application is cloud-based working in a browser: on Ziteboard’s website users can open their own notepads without downloading any applications that may run only on their devices. Up to one notepad using Ziteboard website is free but the information about the size of the surface is confidential. The digital notepad can be shared with others and is suitable for collaboration; the same surface can be used parallel by multiple users.

There have been several similar applications on the market. „For using most of them it is required to pay or give personal details, contacts to friends. Furthermore many devices have their specific applications but they run only on the given surface,” as Tamás Hornos analysed the present situation. „On the contrary Ziteboard is a simplified, easy-to-use application: it is a zoomable whiteboard. Nothing more, nothing less.” added Richárd Gellai.

“Many developers make the typical mistake that they do not focus on the user. They have no idea if the market really needs the product they are working on” highlighted Tamás Rékasi, graphic designer of the team. “In case of a user-centred product whether it is hardware or software the designer has to be able to read the user’s mind and guess what thoughts and expectations they have when interacting with a product. The majority do not do this. The current products on the market want to be so very good and so very “nice” that it goes to an extreme. There are multiple functions involved which an average user will never apply and it is all waste of money, time and energy” added Tamás Hornos.

The project of the BME graduates won a 50.000 USD worth of development capacity in the spring of 2014 in a startup competition among 197 applicants. As a result they have the opportunity to improve Ziteboard application with a professional developer and designer team. “We are opening for companies, which intend to use the application on their own internal servers, so that confidential data should not be released on the internet. According to our partners’ feedbacks our service is unique in the international market” explained Tamás Hornos. “Moreover Ziteboard is very useful for educational institutions that have been equipped with interactive digital whiteboards recently through the Social Infrastructure Operative Programme (TIOP). In many of such schools the licences of the software used for the whiteboards have expired, therefore they cannot use the device properly. Ziteboard runs on such devices as well without any limitations or conditions, so the application helps to make school classes interactive” added Richárd Gellai.

“We did not enter the competition to win and at first we did not even realise what the prize meant. We regarded the competition as a measurement or a test and we had nothing to lose. If we had not done it some others would so why not give it a chance?” remembered Richárd Gellai. “Our main target was to invite further users and break out from the limitations of our small country. This latter meant some disadvantage anyway compared to the American start-ups for example, which have much wider social networks than we did. Due to this disadvantage we emphasized communication and elaborated technical contents much stronger” added members of the team, who worked together in the past already during the university years.

“Another good thing in launching a startup is that you can cooperate with great people. People who are impassioned enough to be able to create a unicorn from a question mark. One of our great advantages is that we have developed efficient organisational culture: we care about each other, talk a lot and we are interested in each others’ thoughts. We are a team that can work on any project any time” members of Ziteboard team summarized their concept.

- TZS -

Photo: János Philip