As an Age-Tech startup in Switzerland, what does your journey look like? Founder and co-CEO of CARU Susanne Dröscher describes in the blog below what it’s like to be a founder of an impact startup, including some helpful recommendations!
What is CARU? CARU is grandma’s and grandpa’s digital flatmate. In short, CARU brings the family closer together and makes access to care and nursing services easier than ever before – in everyday life and in an emergency.
True Art is to Embrace the Lows
Building a business is extremely intense and greatly rewarding at the same time. At times it feels like a rollercoaster in which each high and low comes without much warning.
Of course, I would not like to miss any of the highs. It was a fantastic moment to make the first phone call through CARU. It felt unreal when we placed the first device inside an older adult’s home. It is amazing time and again to see CARU portrayed positively in the media.
But what about the lows? Would I like to remove them from my memory? No. I wouldn’t give up any of them either. It’s not that I enjoy them, but I try to embrace them as good as possible. And believe me, I’m definitely not yet a pro in that. It felt terrible to be kicked out of a startup competition in the first round and being told that there is absolutely no market for what we do. It was horrifying to see our first devices trigger false alarms way too often. It is a downer time and again to get rejected by investors.
And each of these moments was a great opportunity at the same time. We had one of the best coaching sessions after dropping out of the competition and asking one of the jury members for his sincere feedback. We understood the importance of an amazing customer support experience when those first devices had problems. We always reflected on investor comments but have adapted our documentation mostly after receiving critical feedback.
In retrospect it is always easier to see the positive side of a low. However, I truly believe that with practice, lows are not perceived as lows anymore but rather as learning opportunities. So, let’s embrace them as something truly positive!
If I had to name two things that were crucial in my journey with CARU so far, it would be:
- Starting the company with a co-founder that I trust and hold in very high regard. Sharing similar values, we have built a common vision for the company. Further, supporting each other in times when it is not so easy to see the opportunity in a low is very important.
- Finding a problem that truly fascinates me and is getting more interesting the more we learn about it. Building a company is a long-term engagement. Therefore, it is extremely important for me to be convinced that we work on a meaningful solution for a relevant problem.
If I had to name two things that I would recommend to avoid, it would be:
- Assuming that we can put ourselves in our user’s shoes. There is no way we younger people can imagine or simulate how it is to be older. Remember how, as a teenager, you thought about how you would be in your twenties… Therefore, one of the most important tools when developing products for older adults are user tests. We do them continuously.
- Taking things too seriously. That’s another aspect that I am working on. I am convinced that the more playful we approach work (and probably life in general), the more positive the outcome will be. And whether we are on a high or in a low, we had a good time playing.
Are you in a similar situation with your start-up? Do you know these ups and lows as well?
If you’re tackling a challenge of the ageing society and are ready to take the next step, then apply today for Samsung for Impact!
About the program:
In order to foster innovation potential in the ageing society, Samsung, in collaboration with SEIF and Bluelion, has initiated an accelerator program looking for impact-driven startups who are addressing the challenges and opportunities of the ageing society.
The Samsung For Impact accelerator program is a carefully designed program by SEIF and Bluelion that will support the impact startups to bring their business model to the next level, getting traction & visibility and creating the highest impact possible.
Over the course of 4 months, mentors from SEIF and Bluelion will accompany the teams through the accelerator process and provide support in questions of orientation, process design, reflection and personal competence development. Through expert coaching for subject-specific competence development, by the end of the program each startup will be ready for a successful pitch to impact investors.
Find more information about the program and the application form at www.samsungforimpact.ch