Tell us about yourself?
I grew up in Mumbai, India and moved to the US at the age of 15 yrs old without my parents and with $50 in my pocket.
I was convinced that I needed to move to make my life. I started working at a nursing home right after I landed in a town in Missouri and supported myself through highschool and then university, graduating at 20 yrs of age.
I started working in the huge telecom industry and got my first glimpse into the technology world there. From there, I went to get my MBA at University of Virginia- Darden School of Business and did an internship at PARC, famous for investing GUI and the mouse as we know it.
Also the place where Steve Jobs got his inspiration for Apple. I was so inspired by the advancements of technology there that I decided to pack my bags and move to San Francisco to start my career in technology.
I worked in Product Marketing and Management and then started my first company, which went through YC’s education arm.
After that, I worked in Product Management and was head of product at couple of big tech startups. This brought me to Copenhagen, where I live today and started LifeX 5 years ago solving the pain point I felt moving to a new city.
What do you think is the single biggest misconception people have when it comes to startups?
People think being an entrepreneur is sexy, there is a LOT of hard work and lot of volatility you have to be comfortable with. You also need resilience, persistence and a little bit of naiveness to make new things happen
If you could go back in time to any moment from your journey, and give yourself one tip, what would it be?
Don’t take things too seriously 🙂 Sometimes you are in tough periods while running a company and it can really consume you.
But its important to know the macro reasons why you started it and enjoy the journey. Dont take it too seriously since its a marathon and not a sprint. You dont want to burn out.
What makes you stand out as an entrepreneur?
I don’t consider myself an entrepreneur. I think that term comes with a lot of superficial misconceptions of what it takes to build a sustainable, longterm company.
I see myself as someone with a strategic mindset, helping build an organisation and a concept that can grow and thrive.
I play a small part in it to test new ideas, hire the right people, guide them to a certain point, but it takes a village to make a great company. I am just a contributor, thats how I see myself.
What are some of the best working habits you’ve gained over the past couple of years?
I try not to pack my calendar now since I have realised that the best thing I can do for our company is to have some time to reflect, think and be at 100% in terms of mental focus.
If I can only have few meetings and interactions a day and make them count, that will move mountains for us. Its my job to ensure that I am at my A game since these few decisions will make the future of the company
Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?
We started LifeX to solve our own challenges of moving to a new city and finding housing to be very difficult.
Coming from the technology world, we saw that housing is one of the basic human need, yet it is the one that is least innovative and is not structured with consumers in mind. Thats what inspired us to start LifeX.
My husband and co-founder was the one who came up with the idea and then recruited me to join him in his mission of making anyone feel at home, anywhere in the world.
Where do you see your business in five years?
We will have more and more housing run on LifeX platform, we will make most housing serviced and make it easier, flexible and more community based living that is good for our mental health and our planet.
What do you think the biggest challenge will be for you in getting there?
The biggest challenge is the adoption from the real estate side. We have some amazing, innovative real estate companies we are working with to bring our ideas to life. We hope to continue that and bring more companies into the journey with us.
We are not here to disrupt, we want the entire real estate and consumer ecosystem to benefit from the shifts, and we hope real estate companies can see that.
Talk to us about your biggest success story so far?
Our biggest success story is signing a huge project in a country that came to us from a LinkedIN reach out they did. Its the fruit of years of effort ensuring we provide the best user experience in housing and we do it in an efficient way, leveraged by our technology platform.
How do clients and customers find you? Are you much of a salesperson for yourself?
Our customers find us since they are looking for operators like us to take a different view of their housing properties.
We have built a trust worthy brand now which really helps, but we could be doing more outreach in the real estate market to ensure that companies know about us. We are kick starting that effort this year.
What one tip would you give to fellow startup founders?
Be strong with your convictions but still flexible on your model to evolve. Super imp to figure out and realize a path to revenue as soon as possible since that will give you more options when it comes to growth and funding.
And finally, what do you hope the future brings both you personally, and your business?
I hope we are able to achieve our mission and leave a positive mark on housing, which is one of the basic necessities.