"We were told by the smartest people in the Valley that this was a good idea but it wasn't going to work," said Jessica Scorpio, co-founder of Getaround. Over 25 million cars sit idle for 22 hours a day. She wanted to apply the big-picture thinking taught to her at Singularity University (the challenge: create a solution for one billion people) to transform the transportation industry.
Her startup spent a year working to fix this insurance issue, change legislation and also managed to develop new hardware technology along the way. Getaround secured $13.9 million in Series A funding last year.
SlideShare founder and CEO Rashmi Sinha revealed that initially, SlideShare was a utility for people who wanted to embed their slides in their own blog. Then the users found they got more traffic from the SlideShare website than on their blog! "We had fun proving people wrong... never let people calling you crazy get you down - you see something they can't see yet, that's really what's happening," said Rashmi. SlideShare was acquired by LinkedIn last year.
LUMOback CEO Monisha Perkash talks about the importance of posture, as a huge cause of health problems. The idea came when her co-founder was taking behavioral classes to change the way he sat because he had back pain. The co-founders of LUMOback rallied to create a device to help him improve his posture and lessen his back pain. As a hardware startup, the team raised $5 million before the holidays finally - along with running a Kickstarter campaign.
"We wanted to run a campaign with a goal of getting $100,000 in pre-orders and we were able to double that goal. We were excited that people were willing to spend money on a product that didn't exist yet," said Monisha Perkash.
Myths In Entrepreneurship?
"Work/life balance is a myth. The enlightenment I gotten for myself is work/life convergence. I have two little kids and I am a passionate mom and a passionate entrepreneur. At every opportunity I have, I introduce my kids to my work. We recently moved office, they helped me build the furniture.
SlideShare CEO Rashmi Sinha shared, "I had twins last year at the beginning of the year and I'd never imagine that in the same year, I'd have twins and get acquired. It worked out - I was dealing with the due diligence with having them around. If it works for you, you will make it work and you don't need to be afraid of it."
"I also got twins last year... twin dogs!" joked Getaround co-founder Jessica Scorpio. "You do get a lot of flexibility in your life as a founder so you can structure your life around what you love." She advises entrepreneurs to "focus on as few things as possible, and do them very very well."
Easilydo co-founder Hetal Pandya said, "We needed a lesson in trust. It took us some time on how to trust our idea - that there was a real need for it. What we learned is that you need to test your idea. Talk to people. We started off a to-do list, we added a smart aspect to it, then we were fuzzy and people didn't know what we were doing. We changed our app three times to really focus on what we are doing, and if we focused on what we were doing in the beginning, we'd spend less time fixing it."
Last advice from Easilydo's Hetal Pandya: "Don't be afraid of change," she said. "Now we are really bold and change all the time. Believe and trust what you are going to do."
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Angie Chang is Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Women 2.0, a media company offering content, community and conferences for aspiring and current women innovators in technology. Our mission is to increase the number of female founders of technology startups with inspiration, information and education through our platform. Previously, Angie held roles in product management and web UI design. Angie holds a B.A. in English and Social Welfare from UC Berkeley. Follow her on Twitter at @thisgirlangie.