Interviewed by: Justyna Kedra (firstname.lastname@example.org)
BASED IN: NEW YORK
“Funnely is a SaaS that uses the power of behavioral data to help e-commerce companies create and manage social media advertising campaigns. The way Funnely works helps each online retailer to create an entire campaign to cover the whole sales funnel: from lead generation to retargeting. This way an integrated strategy is created, which makes it possible to manage the entire budget on a smart and optimized way based on how the site is performing and how the money needs to be allocated on real time.” – Lucila
How did you decide on the name? What does it mean to you/your business?
We were working on a somehow similar project, but decided to change a lot of stuff so we pivoted. One the decision was made, and after being working on a project with a name we weren't crazy about, we decide name was important and spent a lot of time trying to find a word that identify our company. Funnely was a YES from the moment we mentioned it (I don't remember who) but it had the word FUNNEL on it (which was an important concept at that time) and the .LY domain which made it sound like something new, somehow the presence of the word FUN made sense also. As time went by our service became more and more Funnel focused and the name made even more sense!
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Actually no, I didn't. I come from a family of hard working people where the standard is to be an employee of a big firm. But I just had the chance back in the day when I founded my first company (2008) and I loved it so I stayed and I keep learning how to do it each day. I'm not against being an employee, I'm against working on something that's not challenging enough :)
What is the hardest part about being an entrepreneur?
Get used to fail and rejection and getting up again knowing that you'll probably fail again. But once you realise that it's all part of a huge process of growing and learning, you start getting up faster and finding new ways to get where you wanted to be before getting that door slammed on your face. Getting 100 NOs when all you need is a YES is hard and discouraging, but you just need to keep it up! :)
What is the main advantage to starting your business with other people vs starting one by yourself?
I would never ever fund anything alone. Being a founder is too hard to be done alone. You need to wear too many hats, most of them you never heard about before and if you don't get surrounded by people that can add their points of view, abilities and experiences, you'll have a long long difficult road ahead. You just decrease on a huge amount your chances of success.
It was important for you and your partners to be able to travel and not be glued to one location. How did that shape your business?
Being from Latin America, I should say that being able to travel was one of the main reason we still exist as a company. We started with a grant from the Chilean Government so I moved from Argentina to Chile for 7 months. From there we got selected by 500Startups Mexico City on the program they used to have focus on latin american companies, so I had to move again to Mexico City for 5 months. After that conditions were good and I had the chance to move to the US so we thought it could be good for the company. That helped us to get the first angel money and got selected for the 500Startups program in the US which made our entire founding team move to California for 4 months. That was were actually Funnely got it's shape and what opened us doors to the VCs and Angels that shaped our Seed round.
Your business was a part of an accelerator program. How did that benefit your growth?
For us being part of #500Startups was a game changer, it helped us shape out company on many areas (financial issues, team issues, roadmap, fundraising, etc) and being out of the program for 9 months now, it keeps helping! We have mentors and an entire "family" supporting us and helping out whenever we need and for that we are grateful.
What advice would you give to a woman who is trying to get into the tech world?
DO IT. There's nothing holding you back :) Use the fact of being a woman if you need to, don't play it "like a man"! Play it like a woman proud to be one. You can always find something to get empathy from anyone you need to talk to, from a VC to an employee or a customer... they all have moms, kids, wives or girlfriends in their lives, you are not the first woman they talk to :)
Any last inspirational words?
Surround yourself from the right people, focus on a real problem, don't be afraid of change and embrace being different :)