Tell us about yourself and how you started your company and why you started?

I am a Venezuelan born New Yorker in London I have moved a lot. I’ve moved to 7 different cities in 4 different countries across my life and the last time I moved I noticed that there is something incredibly time consuming we must do each time we move.   If not done important information may get lost and, as I found out recently, it may also lower your credit score and that thing is changing your address.  Changing one’s addresses is a very repetitive thing to do and there was no technology for one to just change ones address once and that new address is updated across several connected accounts and that’s the reason why I built it Monadd.

How exactly does Monadd tackle this issue?

Monadd allows you to not only change address but also to identify which accounts are associated to individuals in the household and it’s completely up to the individual to choose which ones they want to update or cancel.  So far, it’s been a journey discovering the pains of moving and having the appropriate mindset to be able to tackle this problem.

Several people would have encountered that problem before but not many of them would have thought about coming up with a start-up. Was there anything about yourself or your background that made you decide to do this?

It is a combination of things including all the things that I have done in the past, technology that I was familiar with and the support network or contacts I have in my current environment.  It’s a combination of experience and network.  It started with an idea that I pushed on to a couple of friends who are part of a network and they started to volunteer to help me in to covert this idea into a reality.  By that happening I became an accidental entrepreneur.

When moving one will have to set up new utilities or change ones driving licence address.  How does the app help me to do all this?

The first step is to sign up through our website and setup an account.  Once this is done you can select which accounts you need notifying including anything from the DVLA to your local council and we notify them about your move.  It is all automated and you don’t have to do anything else.  The system updates you on the update status for each account and notifies you when its all complete.

What happens with new builds where a new address may not be on any public systems?

We do a lot of verification with address systems in the United Kingdom and cross match with actual addresses that exist but if there is a new address that is not yet identified then we allow the user to input this address manually.

Is there a way on the system that I can track if my address has been updated?

Yes, on the dashboard you can see where the status for an account is.  Some accounts are updated instantly but others may take a little bit longer.   It often doesn’t take more than 10 business days.

What stage are you in as a start-up in terms of funding and from a technological point of view?

From a technological point of view, we have a public beta product now.  We are also fundraising and have secured a non-equity round from family and friends which gave us a small amount of money that was able to get us to where we are at right now.  We are now looking to do a seed round with angels and with seeds so it’s a combination round.

From that will you go public and scale the product and promote?

Yes, we are not doing a lot of promotion right now because we use a Google based technology and from a security perspective, we must ensure that everything is in place and meets the standards that Google requires.   After that’s done, we’re going to be able to be more public about it and we’re hoping to do a public launch.

Is there any benefit that you found from having been to many different cultures and environments?

I love travelling and moving which is the entire point of my business and I love to immerse myself in different cultures and understanding them as much as possible. I experienced this since I was a kid not because I wanted to but because my family was moving so I was immersed into many different cultures from the start.   I spent my years as a child partly in Scotland, so I lived in the United Kingdom when I was very young and then now, I’m returning to the United Kingdom but now in England, so it’s almost feels like the journey is coming back around.  There are so many things that you can learn from just interacting with people who have a different point of view in a different perspective. These are things you may not necessarily learn in school and it opens your eyes to new possibilities.  I also think the reason I was able to create the start-up that I’m doing is because I was able to connect the dots through different experiences and journeys that I’ve had in my life so it is a matter of being able to look back and reflect and think about these experiences and then synthesising them in a way that makes sense for where you’re at right now and to see the possibilities for the future.

Are there any challenges you feel you faced that you could share and maybe how you’ve overcome them or are in the process of overcoming them?

Yeah, so I am I am a female founder and a minority.  Some people that I encounter feel that I need to be a little bit more passive because I’m a woman but I dont feel that I need to take a secondary role.  It is a biased environment and it is a condition that a lot of people particularly traditional thinkers may experience when they see a woman being upfront and straight forward.  They may not like this as they are not used to us, so it has been a learning curve in a way but not so much for me but for them to get used to women with a different type of pace and perception of themselves.

I’m also a minority and the colour of my skin is not going anywhere.  It’s rather something that I carry with me and I’m proud of it and proud of who I am.  I have carried this for so long, for all these years to all the countries that I have lived and in other cultures.  My heritage is something I also bring to the table.

I tend to have a positive view of things.  If I have a conversation with somebody and they presented me a question that is a preventative question or something where it’s trying to make me think about disabilities or the disadvantages, I try to position it in a positive way.  I ask why they are emphasising the disadvantages instead of positioning the potential advantages that something may have and it’s something people don’t even notice they’re doing.  They try to see the negative before the positives.

in terms of women in technology do you feel that with pioneers like yourselves that perception is changing?

I think it’s something that may be slowly changing but nonetheless there’s still a lot of work to do.   Recently I had an opportunity to speak with a senior manager within a large venture capital firm.  This is a large and very well-known VC and I was able to speak to him directly and the question I asked is what are they doing to narrow the gap or diminish the gender inequality that happens with investments between men and women.  There is a huge disparity with woman getting about 2 4% of all investments even though they pitch just as much as men.   I think we need to ask more of those questions because if we don’t then nobody is really going to notice it and they’re going to think everything’s okay.  We need the opportunity to be able to voice our frustrations and how we feel because there’s a real inequality and I think if you’re coming from a minority background or if you are coming from a different gender that’s not male, you feel it.

The start-up culture is new and ever evolving.  How does one learn and navigate this new environment?

Ask more questions, that’s all I can say.  I think learning is more about asking so if you’re not asking people if you’re not asking questions and if you’re not asking smart questions then you’re going to stagnate and you’re going to stop all you could potentially be.  The potential to learn more is always there.  if a person rejects you, because there’s tons of rejections in entrepreneurship, then you just must get out there again and just ask more.  Its a journey of perseverance more than anything and I think the more that you ask the more that you learn and the more that you’ll gain.

 

I learned all of that by asking friends, people and anybody in the industry important questions like

  • What is the next step?
  • Who do I need to speak to get funding?
  • What connections do I need to make?
  • Am I on the right track?
  • Can you review my deck?
  • Are these financials?

Those questions need to be asked for you to have the confidence to be able to move to the next level.

Is it necessary for one to identify a passion before starting out as an entrepreneur?

I think it feels good to do what you love but for passion is not the end all be all because I don’t believe in having just one passion.   I believe in having a multitude of passions.  For instance, I published a magazine this year, I went to an artist’s retreat and taught people about how to write creatively so I have more than one passion outside of my business.  I think you can balance it out and have a multitude of disciplines and interests that align with you and your values.   You don’t have to know what your passion is but rather in your everyday life do whatever fulfils you and give it a little bit more water and nurture it and let it grow and see where that goes.