In this interview, we talk with Givetastic’s CEO and Co-Founder. A seasoned professional with more than 14 years’ experience primarily in the field of aerospace, automotive, and telecommunications.
In these years she acquired excellent communication and leadership skills as a consultant and product manager. She then took the plunge and became an entrepreneur. As a highly motivated individual, she is always willing to learn new things and share the knowledge she acquires.
Hi, my name is Vydia and I am working on Givetastic giving me fantastic. So Givetastic is developing a donation app for small and medium-sized companies to to share their donation budget, transparently with their employees, and tackle the social and environmental problems that we face today in the world together.
When is the right time for a startup to join an accelerator?
I think that you have to do some homework before you join an accelerator. So you have to have a first idea about your product that you’re building. You should have done some kind of user research and that the value of your product is confirmed.
And I think after you have an idea concept which you can then test or create a product with, that is the time to join the accelerator. Because accelerator really push you through this process of intensive mentoring.
They give a lot of guidelines and the workshops and the network that you have, you can use it very easily then to really accelerate and develop the product and find out if the product meets the market. The product market fits. So I would say don’t start too fast first, maybe take your time to develop a concept.
How will artificial intelligence change entrepreneurship?
So I was a woman in AI ambassador for a long time and I really believe that AI is here to stay and this trend will grow. I saw it myself how much AI was changing the world like two years back when I was in Silicon Valley.No sector is going to be untouched by AI.
And so I think as a company, you can’t really survive without using in some form the intelligence, maybe first collecting the data, but using the intelligence with the data to really create products that really delight customers.
So that is where AI is really strong. And I think in today’s landscape, there is just no way that you can create a product without some usage of the natural language processing or machine learning, neural networks, whatever. There will be some aspect of it that you will be using.
How do you start building your network as an entrepreneur in a new city ?
Entrepreneur is one of the biggest challenges that you have is to build a good network. Sometimes network is even much more worth than your funding or like what you earn in the first month, maybe because the network will help you really accelerate the product and to get it or to scale it. Without network, it’s nearly impossible to do it nowadays.
And if you go in a new city, I would suggest just going on Meetup.com and finding what kind of meet ups there are in the city and that’s where you start meeting people. It’s like mostly after work. And I think that is like go to the events, sign up on eventbrite or Meetup.com and just try to find out meetups which are related to what you’re doing. And I think that is the best place to start
Why did you leave a stable corporate job for the risky life of a founder ?
So how I started was on this entrepreneurial journey. I wasn’t sleeping Valley some years back and I was just, I don’t know, the it was the wise in the air right everybody was working on some idea or other, and I was actually having a very interesting job at that time to find AI startups.
And that’s when I started thinking about building something with AI for the social sector, for the NGOs, and helping the social and environmental causes. I left the corporate job because I thought the world is facing such big challenges right now, not only with climate change, that’s the biggest one, but power to inequality.
These are like health care things now that we have the virus. So all these things made me feel that I want to contribute and create some kind of impact with my work. And that’s why that was the motivation. I had a good idea. I thought so, and I just want to explore that.
And I thought, if I don’t do it now, when should I do it?…and that was also the reason that I left a very comfortable job. Sometimes I do miss my colleagues, ex colleagues now, but I think it was worth because I have learned a lot in this short time.
How can female entrepreneurs succeed with all the challenges they face ?
As a female entrepreneur, one of the most important things for women is to take the risk, because women I also think I belong to that category. We are risk covers. We don’t want to jump on new ideas so fast, and sometimes we don’t even get support from your family and friends, and then you don’t explore those ideas. And I think that it’s a pity. I think you have to believe in yourself and your idea, and that is like where you start. Your confidence will come not from the first day.
You will build it through the times, and there will be difficult times as an entrepreneur anyway. And I think what women should know is that there is really a big power to a network, so they should as soon as possible, like hook on to some networks. And there are now many networks forming a lot of regions around the world.
And you should leverage the power of networks at the beginning to get encouragement there, because I got a lot of encouragement from other women founders and co-founders whom I met in Berlin in a summer camp because we were all with the entrepreneurship mindset and only they understand you actually.
And sometimes you are dependent to get more appreciation and value of your work from your peers than maybe your family and friends at the beginning. But it’s worth it. The journey is worth it.
You will learn a lot. You just have to face the risks, and you have to know that it’s not going to be an easy time. There will be difficult phases and work on believe in yourself and work on your ideas.
Which advice would you give any entrepreneur ?
I think one thing you should know is that when you start out with ideas and you don’t know if there is a market for it, you really have to be willing to test. You really have to be willing to hear critical feedback and that will come. It doesn’t mean that you give up on it.
If you really believe in firmly do believe in it, then you should maybe continue but you have to test your hypothesis, you have to know where you stand. And the other thing I would like to say is that build a great team because without a routine you can’t really exclude anything that you think and it takes a lot of effort to get a product out into the market.
I mean we are working on the going live and it’s a lot of work and you can’t do it alone. That is another thing and be willing to really leverage to network. So get feedback, get people to advise you, get mentors. I think there is just a big power to network and it should not be underestimated. Thank you.