Kritika and welcome to InspiredStartups.com!
We have met during the Dublin Launch48 startup event back in 2013, during which you advised aspiring and
early-stage startups on their first steps.
Firstly, please tell us a few words about
yourself. Where did you begin your startup journey and what brought you to
"My startup journey started in
college, completely by chance. My mother had a business and one day, over
dinner, I offered her a helping hand in return for 50% of the company! Life took
me into the corporate world and I was sure I had left my startup days behind but
it seemed, other plans were in store. 1 charity, 2 corporate jobs, couple of SME
stints, 8 startups (4 failures) later, I am still in the startup world with my
latest one - ArtNouv.com
and often considering jumping back into the corporate world!"
worked for Accenture in the past. What are the pros and cons of having skills
and experiences gained in a highly structured professional environment when
landing these to a fluid startup environment where things are often hectic and
feel out of control?
am delighted with the way my journey has worked out. Working in a big
environment makes you appreciate the structures and the need for certain
bureaucracy which one often overlooks in a smaller organisation - for example,
documentation in a big company is a must but often, you would rather spend time
on a more money making aspect and not document something that may be needed in
the future! Having benefits like canteen, holidays, weekends, health insurance
etc are fun to enjoy too- the little things I took for granted in a corporate
job now are big decisions for me when I write policies for every new company!
Learning the Accenture methodology, knowing how to interact & behave in a
corporate company, learning to dress the way you do for a 9-to-5 job are all
aspects that you really can't read up on in a book!"
are you currently involved in? How many hats do you wear?
"I am only working on one startup project - ArtNouv.com. I do other non startup work too and
currently am focused on finalising the first complete optic website in Ireland - maireadoleary.ie.
Both are similar in that they are in the e-commerce sphere and have a concept
that needs to be marketed well, they are both disruptive to their industries and
therefore, extremely exciting! I dab into other areas when needed but these are
my only regular focus. ArtNouv.com promotes
affordable art. We assist struggling artists to make money by providing
customised artwork to our customers and eventually, the site will assist the
artists in selling their own work while they are establishing themselves. Maireadoleary.ie is one of Ireland's leading
opticians and is going to provide the options of buying spectacles, sunglasses,
contact lenses, book an appointment with the ophthalmologist all in one place."
What do you enjoy most about working in the startup
environment? And what do you enjoy least?
I love working whenever I want to - for example, if I am stuck by an idea on a
Saturday afternoon, I don't resent working through the weekend. Similarly, I
love being able to take time off midweek when I just can't be productive. Also,
not having to get up early is a huge bonus for a night owl like myself.
Conversely, I miss the structure - sometimes it is nice to take a break when you
are on a break and not check in to mails! Bar Cuba where internet is not just a
luxury but practically an impossibility, I cannot recall the last time I didn't
check emails for a whole fortnight. There are two sides to every coin
What does it take to
start an online business nowadays? A unique innovative idea? Know-how? Long
working hours? People? What is your recipe for success?
and hard-work! Any business needs these two key ingredients. Team is important,
good idea helps, long hours is inevitable but if you are not passionate about
what you are doing or unwilling to put in the handwork needed to make it work,
it is unlikely it will go far. There is no foolproof formula as far as I know -
if someone out there knows it, please let me know!"
you think are the common characteristics / personality traits of successful
have come across various different types of entrepreneurs. There are the ones
who build and sell, the ones who are all about raising capital, the ones who
only want to make sales, the ones who want it to fund their lifestyle - I think
the only similarity in each of them is they eat, breathe, sleep their business.
They are all passionate and they all want to succeed. Some want to crush others
in the path to their success and some prefer to collaborate but in each is the
need to make money. Also, every entrepreneur has undying belief in their idea
and willing to take all sorts of risks to make it to the top."
You help startups to
grow into companies. What pieces of advice and tips do you give
biggest strength is the ability to imagine the future and perform in the
present. It is important for startups to focus on what makes them money, define
their long term strategy - do they want to be bought, do they want to get
investment, do they want to keep growing and pass on the company to their family
or do they even want to go public! Once the strategy is defined, it is important
to map a potential path leaving enough variables to look at other options,
change tact or grab new opportunities."
mistakes do you see being often made by startup businesses? What can they learn
often, a startup will not have a business person at its helm. A technical head
may understand the details fantastically but it is difficult to do everything
and there is a need for someone to manage the practical aspects such as
marketing, finance, people, organisation culture. An idea is only an idea unless
someone pays for it and getting that sale is extremely important. Personally,
for me, it also helps to have a good set of advisors - some of them are in the
startup world, some in the industry and some are just good at business!"
mistakes you did and could advice other early-stage entrepreneurs on how to
- I could write a book on the mistakes! Each one taught me something different
but the biggest lesson is face the failures, figure what went wrong and move on.
Entrepreneurs take risks and sometimes the risk doesn't pay off, don't let that
be a reason to stop performing. Mourn the mistake but then, realise, it is time
to move on. The other mistake is time out - often we work too hard and don't
take a break. Take a real break - meditate if that does the trick for you, go
for a walk, cuddle a pet, enjoy a spa holiday with your partner, get drunk with
friends - do whatever it takes to let off steam, change the scenery and
rejuvenate the soul!"
the typical path for an entrepreneur between having an idea and launching the
product or service for the market?
typical path - some work while they set their company up, some dive in
full-time, some fall off planet earth while setting up the company, some strive
to have a work-life balance - each to their own. And each company culture
defines its own path. The focus should always be on making that first sale -
when you can get people parting their hard-earned cash, you know you have done
websites, blogs or apps do you follow or use and would recommend to other
entrepreneurs? Any favourite books on
tend to follow people on twitter who always post links to articles and posts I
would use. Quora (online source for knowledge), TechCrunch, Entrepreneur
magazine, friends, advisors all give great information. There are tonnes of
magazines one can enjoy reading too but sometimes we can spend too much time
reading and not enough time doing. Find people who inspire you and read what
they do. And Inc.com - that's where I
currently spend any free time I can get - it has so much
your aspirations for the future?
(this could change by the time you even publish this!) I want to: - make ArtNouv.com truly global and make art affordable to
all (unlikely to change in the near future) - travel more - retire by the time I
Three words to describe yourself?
tricky question - Adventurous, Fun and Wholesome, I
Finally, where can our startup community find you online?
you Kritika. We would like to wish you great success with your existing but also
upcoming startup projects.
Let's keep in touch!