Why I am NOT a startup founder

It looks like these days every new tech company automatically gets labeled as a startup — or at least that’s what I thought.

So when I started Breverie, I was like, “Okay, I guess I’m a startup founder now.” And so I began to call myself that.

But then I realized that what I was creating was far from being a “traditional” startup.

I bootstrapped my business.

I didn’t bring in investors and didn’t raise capital. Instead, I used our family savings — savings that we were originally allocating for the house down payment. I cannot thank my husband enough because it wouldn’t have happened without him. He fully supported me from day one and he pretty much forced me to take the money and put it into use — he said it was the only way he would ever be able to retire before the age of 60 lol. Well I guess that’s a good enough reason!

(We actually ended up launching the business AND buying the house, but that’s a different story.)

Here I must say something. The stereotype that you have to raise money for your startup to be successful is so strong that at first I thought I had to do it. I thought I had to go through the startup incubator and to find investors to make it work — I just didn’t hear the opposite from anyone!

So in case you need to hear it — you definitely can bootstrap your business.

I didn’t form a corporation.

Once you start your company, you realize very quickly that you need to form a legal entity. And here’s another great startup-related stereotype:

When I launch a startup I need to form a corporation.

And here I am to tell you — maybe you do, maybe you don’t. If you are planning to bring in investors and/or share equity, then yes, you very much do need to form a corporation. But for me, LLC (Limited Liability Company) was a better option!

God bless my husband again! He is a lawyer, and with his help we analyzed all the boring complicated aspects of owning a legal entity, and we came to the conclusion that in our case forming an LLC has tax advantages over having a corporation, and also LLC is much easier to manage. Win-win!

My focus has never been on an exponential growth.

When you launch a tech company (or any company really) and bring in investors, you have to understand that they will want their money back at some point. And they probably won’t want to wait ten years. So, in a typical startup model, you want to achieve very fast growth and then possibly sell your company a few years later so that investors can get their 10x (or 100x if things go really well).

With Breverie this has never been my goal. Breverie is my passion, my baby, it’s something I’ve been putting all of my heart in. I’m not saying I will never ever sell it (“Never say never”, right?), but I definitely did not start this company because I wanted to sell it three years down the road.

So I am voting for a slower, more sustainable growth because it gives me an opportunity to fine tune the app to meet my users’ needs.

Bringing most value to my audience matters to me more than anything else.

I started from the cause.

I have always prioritized my users’ needs and experience

There are so many amazing startup ideas out there! Many of them evolve from the trendy technologies. And the interesting thing is, sometimes founders come up with these awesome ideas before they even know what problems those ideas will be solving. In fact, studies show that the most common reason why startups fail is that they some problems that don’t exist!

It’s like you have this awesome product that uses every single piece of tech one can imagine, but it doesn’t help real people make their real lives better.

In my case it was different.

I got an idea of Breverie as a result of my own self development journey. In fact, I had been on this journey for many years not even realizing it. I was struggling for many years trying to understand who I was, what I wanted, trying to navigate my needs in a world where everyone expected me to fit in some box. And when I finally sort of figured it out, I felt a calling to create something that would help other women avoid struggles that I’d been going through, or at least minimize them.

I love to say that Breverie is something I wish I had 10 years ago. And it really is.

I started from the problem.

And then I used my knowledge and my experience in technology to turn this idea into a little app that is now helping so many women succeed on their life journeys.

I prioritize human interaction and personal touch over technology and automation.

I was recently having a discussion with a colleague, and he said, “The future is in data and automation”.

But I disagree with this.

We are not data. We are people.

Let me ask you something. How successful are you usually to find a human to talk to when you try to contact customer support? We talk to bots more often than we talk to real people!

And honestly, if we let technology do all the work, funny or sometimes even creepy things happen!

I got two stories for you.

In one of the meditation apps sleeping stories were identified by the engine as the most engaging type of content. At the same time, the data was showing that people were most active in the mornings. And you know what the system did in order to improve user engagement rate? Exactly, it started recommending sleeping stories to people in the mornings!

And here is another story.

My mother-in-law was going on a river cruise. She talked to my husband on the phone and told him about it, and two minutes later my husband saw a Google ad for a river cruise on his computer! We both freaked out!

This is not how data should be used.

I don’t want to be just a record #345355435 in some database. I am a unique person and I want to be treated as a unique person. And I’m sure you do too.

That’s why with Breverie, while definitely taking advantage of what technology can offer, I try my best to ensure every user feels that they are unique and special — because they are.

I think there is a gap in the tech industry these days. As technologists, we have become too focused on efficiency and automation and we forgot that the ultimate purpose of every company is to serve its clients.

And in order to bridge this gap, I want to establish a new type of a tech company, Startup 2.0 if you will. Or TECH — Technology Enabled Company with Heart.

With TECH, I want to connect technology and focus on people, automation and personalized approach, efficiency and high touch, cost optimization and sense of exclusivity.

Because I strongly believe that, in our oversaturated world, in the world where everything is automated and where people have become “data”, this is where the real future is.

Originally published at https://olenamytruk.com on July 22, 2022.

--

--

Woman in tech | Leader | Mentor | Creator | Personal growth advocate | Creator of Breverie

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Olena Mytruk

Olena Mytruk

Woman in tech | Leader | Mentor | Creator | Personal growth advocate | Creator of Breverie