In the eighth episode of YC’s Startup School Radio, our host Aaron Harris first sat down
with YC partner Kat Mañalac to talk about her work heading up Y Combinator’s outreach efforts, and how she goes about seeking out great founders and companies all over the world. In the second portion of the episode, both Kat and Aaron talked to Urska Srsen, the co-founder and CEO of Bellabeat, the YC W14 company that has built a hardware and software platform delivering quantified self for pregnancy and women’s health.
One interesting part of Urska’s interview was when she was describing the inception of Bellabeat, and how she and her co-founder Sandro Mur thought of it as more of an idea and a project than a company — and how that helped a lot in setting it up for success:
Urska: So the idea basically just came very spontaneously. I studied fine art and sculpture before, so I was in no way thinking that I’m going to
start a business or work anything related to probably tech… so it just came as a coincidence. We started to work on this
project of remote patient monitoring system back in Europe, in Croatia.
Aaron: Sorry, I’ve got to interrupt. How did you happen to be working on the problem of remote patient monitoring?
Urska: It just happened over a family lunch. So my mom is a gynecologist
and obstetrician and Sandro, my co-founder is a software engineer. So
they started talking about these problems in healthcare systems in
Europe, and how remote patient monitoring has been a subject that has
been talked about a lot but nothing has been done. So we were like, ‘Yeah, maybe we can just do it.’ It was very naïve. And basically, I got
involved as a designer for interfaces and medical data visualizations,
and then we just kicked it out. We started working on this project and
we didn’t even know what direction this was going.
We didn’t even think
of it, that this is going to develop into a company. It was just like, ‘We
want to do this thing that is going to solve problems in healthcare, that is
going to start reducing costs.’ We just didn’t think that this was
going to turn into a business eventually.
Aaron: Right. It’s funny, I think a lot of the best companies, or
certainly a lot of great companies, started out as, ‘We don’t know if
this is a business,’ right? And then the business grows out of it.
Kat: You’re just solving a problem for a lot of people.
Urska: Exactly. Then you’re not very burdened
with it, you’re not thinking so much about, ‘How are we going to make
money out of it’ or ‘How are we going to position ourselves on the
market?’ You’re just focused on the product. And I think that’s very
good, especially in the start, when you can easily get just freaked out
by everything if you start overthinking things.