A Casual Meeting in an Elevator Can Change Your Startup
How a serendipitous encounter in an elevator on the way to Founder Friday lead to startup success!
By Bianca W. Loew (Co-founder & CEO, Life of Two)
I was on the way to my first Women 2.0 Founder Friday event in San Francisco. I had only been living in the city for a few months after being in Mexico for over eleven years. It was inside of the elevator to the Google offices (where Women 2.0’s Founder Friday was taking place) where another young woman asked me if I was going to the same event and if I had been to one before. For both of us it was our first Founder Friday. This was the start of our friendship.
I found out that Renata was a software engineer and besides working for Cyberdynamics, with some friends she was developing a social survey platform called Inqu.me and mentoring several startups on app development. Women in tech have always impressed me and I am often in the situation where I just wish I could write my own code and oversee the architecture of our app. I guess all non-technical founders find themselves in a situation like this all the time. I told Renata about our startup and our app Twyxt, which she loved from the beginning.
What is Twyxt? Twyxt, is an app for your romantic relationship, a messaging app just for two that helps you remember all the little and big moments shared together.
Renata downloaded the app that same evening and she and her long-time boyfriend Michael became “Twyxters” replacing simple text messaging with this couple specific messenger that allows them to emotionally connect and organize their events and tasks together. Special features include unique interactions such as Spank, Freeze and Mood sharing. Another thing in common – we were all SOMA neighbors within the same three blocks.
Five months later, some rough changes happened in the Twyxt team. Our engineering lead left the company and we were worried about the development team not having a leader and losing speed in the development process. We think that this is not a coincidence that at the same time Renata was looking for new opportunities in the startup world. By that time Renata and Michael had become heavy Twyxt users and it seemed to be destiny. Over a casual lunch at South Park Café the future was set. Renata became our Director of Engineering and is now leading our development team with the goal to improve couples communication around the globe.
It is well known how difficult it is in Silicon Valley and SF to hire talent in engineering or find a technical cofounder, so we are extremely happy to count on Renata as our female tech lead; and welcome her to the team. What I really love about this is that it was the product and her experience with it that inspired her to join. She wants to build a great product that she enjoys using it herself with her partner. I think it is so important that passion exists for the product and a co-founder doesn’t just care about the business.
Roman, my brother, co-founder and VP of Product at Twyxt couldn’t be more happy about the addition to the team. He had taken over the supervision of the development sprints in the meantime, leading our daily tech standups with our offshore developers, and that is definitely a challenge if you are not an engineer! Sometimes, the right things happen at the right moment with the right people.
Renata, Roman and I (and our respective halves) are now on a mission together. Making relationships better by making communication more emotional and more fun than ever. There are hundreds of millions of couples around the globe with a smartphone and we can’t wait to conquer. I don’t believe in coincidences anymore, a small talk in an elevator can be a game changer. Let’s make this a romantic journey.
How has serendipity helped your startup?
About the guest blogger: Bianca is co-founder and CEO of San Francisco-based startup Life of Two, which develops Twyxt. Before Life of Two she founded the Mexico chapter of the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) and served as its Managing Director for seven years. She also co-founded IAB Latin America. Prior to IAB, she was involved in three tech startups.