The 3rd Female Founders Meetup – great ideas and even better pitches!
“All the women who pitched at the Female Founders Meetup were amazing, there was great energy and good ideas,” said Karin Künnapas, the organizer of Ajujaht. “I think the winners from both cities just had developed their idea a bit further and understood well the problem they’re solving. Also, pitching in front of an audience takes some courage that will come with practice. It seemed that they felt comfortable in front of the judges and were ready to answer any questions thrown at them.”
In Tallinn, the winner was Liina Vettik with her amazing pitch about the “Perfect Career” coaching program. The program helps people to find and combine their work experience, life experience, their strengths and personal mission. Liina plans to build an AI version of the program and aims to reduce the percentage of people who are unsatisfied with their job.
In Tartu, a designated driver app called Dexi was elected as the best idea and shortlisted to the TOP 100 as well. It sometimes happens that you go to work by car, but you’ll end up having a few drinks with your friends after work. Driving home after having a drink isn’t the best idea, and this is where Dexi jumps in. So, if you're not able to drive yourself, you can use Dexi’s app to find a sober and trustworthy driver.
We asked Liina Vettik, the founder of the “Perfect Career” coaching program, and Merlin Kasesalu, the CEO of Dexi, to describe their emotions after the victory. We also chatted about their next steps and greatest strengths.
Congratulations, you’ve been shortlisted to the Ajujaht TOP 100! How did you feel after the winner was announced? What are your next steps regarding your product and the Ajujaht competition?
Liina: Thank you! It felt great after “Perfect Career” was shortlisted to the Ajujaht TOP 100. I am still very excited and can’t wait for the program to start. Right now, my focus is on building the team. We are looking for a developer to join us in our mission to reduce the percentage of unsatisfied workforce worldwide (currently 80%) and help people fight their anxiety and health problems caused by work stress.
Merlin: We were really happy and proud, but probably not as overjoyed as the organizers expected us to be since we recognize that there is quite a tough competition waiting for us in Ajujaht. We are preparing our application for Ajujaht (business plan, static prototype, etc.) and also for the pitching competition. We are also taking part in the STARTERtartu pitching competition and as the finals take place at sTARTUp Day, we will try to do our best!
What is your greatest strength that helps you in entrepreneurship?
Liina: I believe my greatest strength in entrepreneurship is my perseverance. I have a clear vision of where I want to get and never surrender before I am there.
Merlin: Our greatest strength is probably our teamwork and motivation. Our main mottos are “Fake it till you make it” and “Go big or go home”. We try to go all out at every event we enter and we are not afraid of failure. We have nothing to lose, but everything, including experience, to gain.
What has the Female Founders Meetup events series given to you?
Liina: Ohh, the Female Founders Meetup series have been beneficial to me. The community is very supportive. Firstly, other founders inspire me. For example, one thing that was holding me back a bit was the fear that maybe I don't have time for my little kids anymore when building my dream. I got support from other female founders and found the strength that building a global business is possible with small kids. We do not have to choose between our dreams and kids.
Secondly, I've made new connections that help me take the next step with my business and teach me to think bigger. Thirdly, I got excellent feedback from the pitching contest, what to do better, and of course, I believe that Ajujaht will bring massive growth both in personal and business terms, which I am all about.
Merlin: This was our first time taking part in the Female Founders Meetup and we really enjoyed the panel and the competition. The panel was inspiring and motivating, the guests were great and interesting, and we are so thankful for their feedback. We just left the event full of motivation to build something great.
The percentage of ideas submitted to Ajujaht by women has remained quite constant at around 36-37%. So a bit more than a third is coming from women. Karin Künnapas said that they were very happy to see that when in 2018, 35% of the top 10 ideas were from women then in 2019 it increased to 40%. “We do not have the numbers from this year just yet, but hopefully, we can increase that percentage even further.”
Female Founders Meetup is organized by sTARTUp Day, Estonian Founders Society, CIVITTA, Ajujaht and Startup Estonia. This event was financed by the European Regional Development Fund according to the program Startup Estonia (EU50651).