This is the personal story of the 21-year old Karolina Demianczuk – a girl with ‘Polish Blood, American Spirit, and Asian Mind’, who’s founded Spontime, a $3mln startup. We hope that after reading this, you get as inspired as we did!
What inspired me to pursue my entrepreneurial career and bring in-person enjoyment back to people my age were clearly my international experiences. On my very first trip abroad, a trip to Greece, at age 6, I remember how exciting I was; every new place I visited, every temple I entered, or every meal I tried, it was just pure excitement. What stayed in my memory the most, however, were not the beautiful sighs or views, but the orange trees.
I could not believe I could pick oranges from the trees in the same way as I pick apples or pears. That was the time when I grasped how exciting and surprising the word is, and I became interested in anything that seems unusual, different, and exotic. I filled my room with cacti, petted a turtle, and spent all my free time learning foreign languages, watching Animal Planet, and reading travel magazines, dreaming about visiting all the places I have read about.
Since that time I have visited more than thirty countries around the world, each impacting my perception and attitude towards life. The real breakthrough, however, was my time in the U.S.
At the age of 16 I left Poland and moved to Melrose, MA, where, as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, I attended the American High School, and lived my ‘American Dream’ for a year. Nothing has opened my eyes so much as the year spent in the United States. The American individualism, creativity, self-reliance, and courage to take risks and the readiness to challenge the impossible are all what made this nation the greatest success in history. I left Poland as a shy, modest girl, and came back as a confident woman, who knows what she wants.
After graduating from Melrose High School, I came back to Poland where the college education is free. I enrolled in Warsaw School of Economics and, wanting to gather some practical experience in the business world, worked for organizations such as Coca-Cola, Goodyear, or Embassy of the Republic of Poland. Feeling the need to discover the world further, I spent a semester on a scholarship at National University of Singapore Business School, where I ultimately fell in love with Asian culture and discovered my passion for innovations and high-tech.
I have no doubts that my international experiences had a significant impact in developing my entrepreneurial mindset. They allowed me to observe lifestyles and behaviors of the various societies around the world and let it all impact the way I see the world.
It does not matter if we are in America, Europe, Africa or Asia, with today’s speed of life, the inevitable digitalization, and globalization, it is harder and harder to maintain real, in-person relationships. People are spending more time on their devices, forgetting about what matters most. The essence and the quality of human to human relationship, however, cannot be fully substituted by any forms of a technology; technology should rather be booster of it.
Founding Spontime, I aim at encouraging young people to spend more time together in real, instead of the digital world, enhancing their everyday lives through friendship, communication, and in-person gatherings.
The same day I got the idea for Spontime, I started looking for the technical co-founders. I joined Facebook groups, attended meetups and events for mobile developers, and visited all the Universities where I could meet developers and graphic designers. We are a team of incredibly driven and independent individuals who believe in Spontime, and more importantly, support one another through the process and lift each other up.
We all are doing what we love, and we can incorporate our creative ideas, passion for communication, and love for technology towards one finished product. We are still in disbelief that the idea hatched only 6 months ago has already garnered $3.3 million from investors, creating a domino effect with media coverage, publication coverage, and the spread through word of mouth, getting Spontime’s name out there across continents. We were not expecting Spontime to receive so much attention already before its release date, but we are thrilled that it is happening.
Every single day, I am reminded that I am living my dream; from an idea that I developed, and I get to watch its impact on people for the better everyday. Nothing makes me happier than watching my product improve people’s lives. This is a huge driving force for me and my team.
Entrepreneurship is not easy! But that is why I love it so much – the challenge and the satisfaction are something unmatched.
Learning from my experience as young, woman entrepreneur, my advice to all aspiring business owners is:
- Do not forget that you are the soul and heart of your business. No one will ever have the drive and passion for your business the way you will.
- Never forget those countless nights you missed out on sleep to ensure your idea would flourish.
- The success depends on you and your ability to assimilate people who share your dream.
- Stay persistent, demand the very best from people, harness your determination, and ignore the haters.
- You’re going to want to give up. Don’t!