I am the Co-Founder and CEO of British pleasure brand, MysteryVibe. I previously worked for Deloitte Consulting specializing in Operations Excellence where I advised large public and private sector organisations. In the early 2000s, I spearheaded research & development in biometrics at Smart Sensors, a startup focused on iris recognition system. The company won a Frost & Sullivan Global Award and was later acquired by a USA corporation. My deep technical background, diverse business knowledge and passion for making pleasure mainstream, helped me create a highly complex multi-national hardware company in the newly forming area of sextech.It is said that to bring lust back into love, we need to introduce mystery into our lives. Being in a long term loving relationship I realised that, too often we let our busy world of work and stress consume us and forget to be intimate with our partners. So I created MysteryVibe to bring that mystery and pleasure back into our bedrooms. We started with a simple mission: To bring pleasure to people of all genders, ages, orientations and relationship statuses in a accessible, inclusive way. Along the way we also hope to change perceptions around pleasure and make it a beautiful, normal part of our lives.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
The biggest initial hurdle we faced in building our company was fundraising. As with all things hardware, building MysteryVibe was very capital intensive. However the number of investors willing to back a sextech company is very limited. We overcame this by reaching out to our family, friends and professional contacts and explained the pain point we were trying to solve. Those who understood this, not only supported us with funding but also became our biggest evangelists.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?
How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
Really well. My family has always been very keen about letting the younger generation build their own path in life, my dad being an entrepreneur himself. With studies, career, love, or building businesses. So to them this was just a part of that journey rather than a special case due to the topic.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
People, definitely. People is what make good ideas into great businesses. The best lesson I learnt early on, is to surround myself with people who know more than me and who share my passion for building the company in the first place. People as team members, partners, advisors or investors. With the right people around us we can overcome the biggest obstacles and create magic.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
Everything takes longer than we plan, especially in hardware. Now we estimate at least 50% more when planning, and we do our planning conservatively. Along the same lines, scaling takes much longer than we think. So it's best to focus on one or two key regions and build the brand there and do it really well than to spread ourselves thin.
What advice would you give to an upcoming young and old entrepreneur locally and internationally?
Building a business is the most exciting and challenging thing at the same time. The most rewarding and most stressful. There will be countless ups and downs along the journey. The peaks are incredible and makes up for all the setbacks. The key to surviving the startup life and making it through the other end is being calm and focussing on real actions in the face of all the storms that will come your way.