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The Maptia team

[Editor’s note: GeekWire is running a series of profiles on the startups participating in this year’s class in the TechStars Seattle incubator program. Check back each day at 1:30 p.m. for a new profile, leading up to Demo Day on November 1]

Dorothy Sanders’ entrepreneurial passion started at the age of eight when she organized a community recycling program in her village in England.

Now, Sanders and her three partners have much bigger aspirations with Maptia, helping people better understand the world through maps.

Sanders shared some of her insights about the new business in this installment of Startup Spotlight.

Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “Maptia is building the most inspirational map in the world. Those of you who yearn to discover more about the world or to immerse yourself in new experiences will love Maptia.”

maptia-logoInspiration hit us when: “We were working on a student travel magazine we founded at university in England and thought: ‘Wouldn’t this look better on a map?'”

VC, Angel or Bootstrap: To be determined.

Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “A limitless supply of optimism. Having a vision.”

The smartest move we’ve made so far: “Flying 4,000 miles at four days notice from Chile to Seattle to be here for the pre-selection TechStars for a Day event. If we hadn’t done that, or wanted to get in so passionately, there is no way we would be in the program today.”

The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “Trying to implement all of the mentor feedback we received at once. It takes time to learn how to apply a filter.”

Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos

Would you rather have Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner:  “Bezos. He said his strategy for success was: ‘Bet on good people doing great things.’ That resonates with us.”

Our world domination strategy starts when: “It started 6 months ago. It is a slow burn, not a flash in the pan.”

Rivals should fear us because: “We have British accents. They are an unfair advantage in this neck of the woods.”

We are truly unique because: “We have two British, one Swiss and one Chinese co-founder. We are young and don’t yet know what is possible and what is impossible.”

The biggest hurdle we’ve overcome is: “Going from not even knowing what the term ‘startup’ meant in 2011 to learning enough to get into the highly competitive and highly respected TechStars program only 12 months later.”

What is the most important thing you learned at TechStars: “At the end of the day, people and culture trump everything.”

What was your most memorable moment in TechStars: “Hearing in person from Andy Sack that we had been accepted. I will never forget the look on my co- founders’ faces when I told them a few minutes later. It was one of those moments that will always be with you and looking back it has already become a pivotal point in our lives.”

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Go do it at Start Up Chile. It’s a fantastic launching pad for anyone with passion and a strong willingness to learn. Plus, the government gives you $40,000 without taking equity and you can become a part of a movement to change the startup ecosystem in South America.”

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