Photo: Leonora Valvo
The idea of launching a tech startup can be intimidating to anyone who isn’t immersed in that world.But it doesn’t have to be. We spoke to Leonora Valvo, a serial entrepreneur and founder of events software company etouches, who goes against conventional wisdom.
She turned her experience in the events world into a successful software business, even though she had no tech experience or a college degree. She shared with us a few tips about how to break into that space without any prior experience:
Know your strengths
Without experience actually building software, a founder needs to bring something else to the table.
In Valvo’s case, that was operational experience. “I’m a process person,” she says, “I’m the person who will always look at even a mundane task and figure out how to do it more efficiently and faster.” That’s exactly what good software does.
Another advantage is deep experience in an industry. Knowing what holes exist in current products for a specialised community is extremely valuable.
Having come from a company that did everything from logistics to marketing to dealing with delegates, Valvo knew what features the software needed to include, and what problems it had to solve to be useful.
Find the right partner
Especially for a first-time entrepreneur, or one unfamiliar with the tech world, hiring somebody with that knowledge is important. There’s lots of jargon and what seems like dozens of programming languages. When people don’t know what to look for, they don’t make the right hires.
According to Valvo, the most important thing is that you have a partner who acts as a liaison between the founder and the people making the software, who can actually translate business needs into a language that coders understand, and also keep the founder aware of what’s actually possible with the software.
That’s not always easy to find.
While coding ability is important, finding someone with what Valvo calls “interpretive capability” is essential for entrepreneurs coming into this business without a tech background.
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