Meet our founder, Ivana. Some of you might recognize her as a participant at hack battles, a speaker at Technical conferences or as one of the finalists of TEDx Amsterdam Women Startup 2018. On this blog post, we ask her 6 questions to get to know her better.
What’s your background?
Music and event. My major was Media and Entertainment Management. I wanted to be a songwriter/movie composer back then.
How did you learn writing code?
I didn’t have the money to enroll anything or anywhere, so I taught myself by reading as many open source code as I could (thank you GitHub) and build applications for fun. Thankfully I also met several great developers during my career.
Fast forward 2018, why did you start working on Venopi?
I experienced the pain (finding locations) as a user and have witnessed my peers being stressed out finding locations for their professional and private events. I remembered thinking "All I need is just a f**king booking.com for spaces" — so I built it myself in one weekend.
— so I built it myself in one weekend.
Today, at Venopi we always offer to help every user. Thus every time we help space seekers to find their perfect locations, we share their pains, struggles and use that experience to improve our product. Where there’s a problem, there’s an opportunity.
What makes Venopi unique compared to other space platforms?
Our type of spaces and businesses we cater to. We are tapping into spaces that are multi-functional and not available for rent before.
On top of that, I am a product person. I am all about delivering the best of the best that I can give to our customers. To make sure to do so, we are working closely with our partners (space providers) to build the tools that will help them to list, plan, and getting bookings seamlessly. We learn, develop, and grow together with our partners by giving them access to put their frustrations, inputs, & ideas directly to Venopi.
Moreover, I believe that it's not about the idea, it’s the execution that matters.
On the users' side (space renters), we are continually improving their experience to make sure that our users can joyfully find the perfect location for their activities.
All in all, I believe that having competitors is great. Not to compete per se (I think constantly checking what competitors are doing is a waste of time) but to validate that we are actually solving problems. Moreover, I believe that it's not about the idea, it's the execution that matters.
Tell us about the time you most successfully hacked some (non-computer) system to your advantage.
I moved from Indonesia to the Netherlands when I was 17 with almost no financial support from my parents. I had to pay the rent, living costs, & the rest of my tuition myself, so money was tight, and I was pretty desperate.
To be able to pay my expenses, I worked 7 days per week, at 2 different Indonesian takeaway shops and cleaned (and sometimes cooked) for 4 different families.
Below is one of the examples of how I hacked my situation to earn more money by maximizing the resources I had gotten.
Because I worked at 2 different Indonesian takeaways, I had access to take home at least 1 free meal almost every day. The food was super delicious, but I saw it as a luxurious thing, and it didn't pay the rent. So I had this crazy idea to sell my food as "daily special menu" to the families I cleaned for — I sold it as "special" because the menu changes every day! Although honestly, it's because they were leftovers.
I did the best I could to survive. I graduated on time with zero debt. I was even able to finance myself for 6 months unpaid internship in Huntington Beach...
So this "daily special menu" went really well because I had many cleaning jobs and most of them were a busy young couple, so they bought regularly from me. I considered this as a successful case because I earned at least €120,- extra per month, while my living cost at that time was €5,- per month. Boom €115,- magic income!
There are a lot more stories like the example above, I did the best I could to survive. I graduated on time with zero debt. I was even able to finance myself for 6 months unpaid internship in Huntington Beach (after 6 months, the company hired me and I stayed another 6 months until my visa expired).
What's next for Venopi?
Our focus this year is to get funded so that we can work on Venopi full time. In fact, I self-funded the company by working 40h per week as a freelancer and another 40+h for Venopi.
We are almost in the second (out of four) phase of our masterplan, and so far, I am very confident in the project. At the moment, our team is looking for a total hustler who is a champ in marketing and sales. So if you know anyone, don't hesitate to contact me!