"Diversity in teams, means diversity of ideas", 8 questions for our CMO
The lady in our group of founders, CMO Laura Schilliger, knows what she’s doing. Having kicked some marketing butt not only in our Kickstarter campaign, she is the driving force of mitipis marketing strategy. This is increasingly important for us, since now the product is ready and the message just has to be spread.
She has been asked to join the team in 2017. She has a master in corporate communications from the University of Lugano and has worked in marketing and PR ever since. For the last four years before she came to mitipi she has worked for PwC, where she could gain a lot of experience in social media, internal and external communications, as well as events. Now that around 900 Kevins have already been sent out into the public, and soon we have our great insurance product ready, the most important thing is to let the world know what it is, that we offer. Laura’s coming up with the strategies to do just this, so you can imagine how busy she is right now. Nevertheless, today we want to find out more about who she really is.
Hi Laura, thanks for taking some time to answer a few questions.
You have been working on this endeavor from the very start. How has your experience with the team and the product developed so far?
When I first met Julian, he told me about the big idea of Kevin (which was by the way then still called something like “mitipi box”) and he has shown me a very early design prototype. I found it interesting to be part of this journey from the beginning and I believed in Kevin as a product to make the world a bit safer - and I still do!
Now, we have an actual product on the market with Kevin and that’s an incredible feeling! Of course, it was a lot of work, but in general we always had a lot of fun. There are so many funny anecdotes and experiences along the way! I also love how the team has grown in the last year and how we all work on the same goal.
In only one sentence…What is your biggest challenge right now?
I think our biggest challenge now is to explain Kevin, as well as the safety subscription we are launching soon, in an easy and fun way.
What have been your most intense emotional moments of being an entrepreneur? Good and or bad.
I remember two moments: the first one is the Kickstarter campaign, where we finally could go public with our idea and we got the first questions and feedback from potential users. It was a great experience to achieve the goal we had worked on for so long!
The second one is a bit more recent: about 2 months ago, Jakob sent us some prototypes from China. I didn’t expect them to be fully packaged already and when I opened it I was staring at it for about 10 minutes, because it was so cool to finally see “the real thing” and have it in our hands. I could imagine it being in different places around the world, as well as retail stores!
Yes that sounds very gratifying and motivating. Before you started, what drove you to throw yourself into this daily grind of starting a business and would you do something differently today?
During and after my studies, I had some people around me with their own companies. I didn’t have the courage yet to do that and chose the way to get some experience first in a corporate. I had a blast there, but after some time I felt like I was ready to see something new, be part of a startup where I would take on a lot more responsibility and learn a lot more than “just” my profession as marketing and comms.
Now that Kevin has been launched, marketing is definitely a focus of the company. What are your feelings going into this next phase of the business?
No feelings, just work work work.. Ha, joking! Of course, we’re all super excited to see how the world reacts to Kevin and learn more about our users and what they would want looking forward.
Sadly female entrepreneurs are quite rarely found in the startup world even though Switzerland has a lot of highly qualified women. Why do you think that is and what can we do about it?
I love and hate this question ;-) I agree it’s a big topic to talk about, but I am a bit sad we still need to talk about it...
Anyways: I think we can speak about a lot of reasons here, starting in the psychological sphere and ending at the question of “who takes care of the kids/household and other things that are usually on women’s shoulders?” This discussion is never-ending.
But what I think people really need are role models. And this does not only apply to women. Our Swiss culture is super risk-averse, but I already see a little turn here, where more and more people around me are founding startups. The more female founders there will be, the more other women will be inspired.
What I think is very important in that sense is that everyone needs to collaborate. Diversity in teams means diversity of ideas, of ways to work, and I think everyone needs to be aware that it’s not just a happy Benetton ad, but also some work to adapt to each other.
That was a very future oriented and pragmatic answer. So this next question is a classic: food and water as a given, what three items would you want to have with you on a deserted island?
Is internet allowed? ;-) If not, I would take my husband, my e-reader loaded with as many books as possible and my yoga mat :-)
Healthy in body and mind, I like it. So here the last question is for other people, perhaps especially women, who are thinking about starting their own business. What piece of advice would you give them?
Think about what the worst thing is, that could happen. If you fail, how long will it impact you, financially and psychologically? Does that outweigh what you can learn and how you grow as a person if you really try it? Switzerland is super privileged and even if you would lose everything, you could make that up fairly quickly. Also, as the life quality is so high, you still have a great life even if you don’t earn like crazy.
Just do it, really! :-)
Cool, thank you for carving out the time to answer some questions.
So here were 8 answers from our CMO Laura Schilliger. We will be asking the other co-founders as well, so you can find out who is behind the young company, currently shaking up the home security sector. Click here to get to the interview with our CEO Julian Stylianou.