Polina Raygorodskaya, Co-founder and CEO, Wanderu
Just the Ticket
Hair-pulling travel experiences—Canceled flights, lost luggage, filthy hotel rooms. We’ve all had them. But for Polina Raygorodskaya, co-founder and CEO of online booking giant Wanderu, her most infuriating experience—in which a disgruntled bus driver left her and several companions stranded in rural Virginia—became the catalyst for an industry-shaking business.
Since launching in August 2013, Wanderu has taken the ground transportation industry by storm, landing 2 million monthly users, hundreds of transit partners, and a well-stocked trophy cabinet. Not to mention an app that has graced both the App Store and Time magazine’s best of lists.
It’s easy to see why Wanderu has found such success. Raygorodskaya is one of those indefatigable, eye-wateringly impressive people, appearing on every “under 30” list imaginable, including Forbes, Businessweek, and Inc. Magazine.
So how did a once aspiring model find herself at the helm of one of the world’s hottest online startups? By rolling up her sleeves, getting the right advice, and problem-solving on the run.
Stranded for the last time
Natural inquisitiveness—that intrinsic character trait of so many entrepreneurs—was one of Raygorodskaya’s defining attributes, from very early on in life. After relocating from Boston to the Big Apple to pursue a career on the catwalk, Raygorodskaya soon discovered her real interest was on the other side of the camera. So she launched her own fashion, PR, and travel firm, and spent the next few years clocking endless miles in business travel.
During this time, Raygorodskaya first encountered the frustrating task of finding the best bus and train options across the United States. However, it wasn’t until a 2011 charity trip went awry, leaving Raygorodskaya, her future co-founder Igor Bratnikov, and a dozen fellow passengers stranded in the country, with no clue as to the whereabouts of the nearest bus or train station, that a business idea formed in her mind. There was a major gap between passengers and ground transportation options that was just waiting to be filled.
“I had found the process to be very frustrating, because there are so many travel options that go between major cities in the United States, but a lot of websites were challenging to deal with. There are also more bus companies traveling between major cities than airlines, so having to go to 15 different websites was a huge hassle.”
Getting the right advice
As several of the world’s leading entrepreneurs have told Foundr in the past, from Y Combinator’s Jessica Livingston to former Zipcar CEO Robin Chase, starting a business to solve a problem you have experienced yourself gives you a distinct advantage over founders who go diving into unknown waters. For Raygorodskaya and Bratnikov in the early days of Wanderu, their reality was a little of both, having first-person experience as frustrated travelers, but little
knowledge of the transportation industry itself.
To remedy this, the duo proactively engaged several advisers, including former Greyhound CEO, Craig Lentzsch, who brought a wealth of experience, gained at the helm of America’s largest intercity bus company, to the table. Lentzsch proved an invaluable resource, and was eventually appointed to Wanderu’s Board of Directors, as well as becoming an investor. While Raygorodskaya and Bratnikov still had to climb a steep learning curve, this injection of experience ensured they were having the right conversations with the right people, which helped Wanderu establish a firm industry foothold.
“We quickly learned that in order to succeed we needed to bring on advisers who knew the industry, who could bring us up to speed and be there for us when we had questions or needed guidance.”
Raygorodskaya recommends, therefore, that most startups enlist some kind of advisory board. However, as she explains, suitable candidates first need to be evaluated for any conflicts of interest. Then it’s a matter of agreeing to terms that suit both parties.
“Different advisers serve different purposes, so it depends on what you want to get out of them. But it allows you to have really smart people on your team who aren’t there full time. Usually, the way it works is, you give them a little bit of equity in exchange for specific things you want that adviser to do— whether that’s coaching you, making introductions or just talking to you several times a month. You don’t want to have too many, but a handful is always helpful.”
Just the ticket
After investing their own money into the business for a time, during which the founding team chose to forgo their own salaries, Wanderu received an initial angel investment in 2013, which soon rolled into a larger seed round the following year.
Since launching as a beta version with six travel partners, the online giant now searches hundreds of bus and train companies, and has served up deals to around 20 million users. Having branched out gradually over the past three years, Wanderu now covers all of the United States and Mexico, and is preparing to expand into other regions.
Raygorodskaya believes a large portion of the company’s success can be attributed to their referral-based revenue model, which means their cut comes from the transit partner, as opposed to the customer. It’s a strategy that guarantees their users the best prices, and has led Wanderu to track at an impressive 400 percent growth, quarter on quarter, since 2013.
A savvy digital and content marketing mix has also helped Wanderu earn valuable online and in person referrals, and stay top of mind with their target audience.
“We built a platform for millennials to be able to travel the way they want to travel. If you look at the people who travel by bus and train, it’s mostly 18-35-year-olds who don’t want to drive their cars, and want to book tickets easily and quickly. So words of mouth is really big for us.
“We also do a lot of online marketing. We have a big content piece to inspire people to travel. The direct response stuff like SEO and SEM is also really effective, and that’s where a lot of our focus is, but as a growing business we try to do a lot of things and have a really well-rounded marketing program.”
Profit vs. Growth
Knowing when to pursue growth and when to knuckle down on becoming profitable is a crossroads many startups face. In the case of Wanderu, with such impressive growth rates on the board, and with eagle-eyed investors watching, maintaining a focus on growth has been the company’s clear mandate. But Raygorodskaya believes the direction you choose ultimately depends on the type of business you are trying to build.
“Every company is different. There is no set framework,” she says. “We’ve been lucky enough to have built a really solid, sustainable business that can still be profitable, while still being able to grow fast. But we wouldn’t be where we are if we didn’t make the decision to reinvest money from investors into the business, so it could grow.”
Raygorodskaya went on to say that, while not everybody needs to build a billion-dollar funded business, most businesses that are venture-funded generally have the pressure of trying to instigate rapid growth, because investors expect high returns in a short amount of time.
“If you look at Uber, they’re still really focused on continuing to grow versus being sustainable and profitable. So it depends upon the business, the strategy, and what you want to do as a company. But if you’re bootstrapped, your goal should be profitability, because you don’t have the funds to invest a lot of money into growth.”
5 Things Polina Raygorodskaya Has Learned as a CEO & Co-founder
1. Different day, different challenge
Many people jump headlong into the world of entrepreneurship without truly readying themselves for the long and winding road ahead. According to Raygorodskaya, part of running a startup means accepting it’s an ongoing challenge.
“Every day is a challenge—it’s just a matter of which challenge on which day. Right now my biggest focus is continuing to build our team. … But we’re also getting ready to expand into other markets, so we’re signing new partnerships, integrating new carriers, and figuring out the rollout of new countries and languages.”
2. Keep the fire burning
Over the past five years, Raygorodskaya has barely had any concept of a weekend. They are, for now and the foreseeable future, “just another work day.” What keeps her going, she says, is an unflagging desire to solve this particular challenge for people, and to do it lightyears better than anybody else.
“I think you have to be a little bit crazy to start a company, and you have to be prepared to put the company above everything else. But you keep going because you’re passionate, and you want to solve a problem. … That’s what keeps me energized when I’m completely exhausted. That’s what keeps the fire alive.”
3. Get out and meet people
In addition to inviting outside voices in the form of advisers, or an advisory board, another worthwhile investment is time spent building your network. Getting out and meeting people is extremely valuable, Raygorodskaya says, because your network becomes another avenue to help scale your business.
“Investors don’t just read emails that are sent to them, cold call. You need to get introduced. So going out and meeting people, and getting them to introduce you to partners, investors, whoever, is extremely important.”
4. Find your competitive spark
If your business is killing it, get out there and shout it from the rooftops, whether that means good PR or competing for awards. You never know what exposure it might generate. That was the case when Wanderu became one of three finalists in the Extreme Tech Challenge, and Raygorodskaya earned herself a ticket to Richard Branson’s storied Necker Island.
“It was an amazing opportunity. I had the chance to meet Richard Branson. He was a huge fan of Wanderu, and very supportive. But aside from that, we met a lot of really interesting people, including investors, and got some investment out of it. The entire network we got to meet—and continue to be a part of now—was incredible.
“A lot of larger companies tend to shy away from competitions because they think they’re too late in the game. But, in reality, I highly recommend companies apply to be a part of the Extreme Tech Challenge, because it was an incredible experience, and brought a lot of exposure and value to Wanderu.”
5. Watch the calendar
Raygorodskaya’s final piece of advice for startup founders is a practical one. Don’t fundraise over the summer months, as most people are on vacation!
- Tips on how to get started in the travel industry, even if you don’t have any experience
- Importance of finding the right team that shares your vision
- How to find and connect with the best advisers and influencers to help you build your startup
- When to sacrifice profit for growth
- Secrets to creating a valuable network that’ll sustain your business in the long run
Full Transcript of Podcast with Polina Raygorodskaya
Nathan: Hello and welcome to another episode of the founder podcast my name is Nathan Chan and I’m your host, coming to you from hometown Melbourne Australia. It’s trying to warm up here which is kind of awesome. I really do enjoy the summer, the spring, and high the winter so I do whatever I can to escape it.
So what’s been happening in the world of Foundr, we’re working on some killer projects at the moment. Really, really excited about what we got going on. We, actually working on a physical coffee table book, which is going to have the best of Foundr Magazine interviews all from the magazine in this podcast.
So if you do love these interviews you’re gonna absolutely love this book. We’re gonna put the best of and we’ve actually curated all and turned into these amazing chapters and it’s gonna be beautifully designed true to Foundr stuff, you read the magazine you know exactly what I’m talking about. So really, really pumped that is launching hopefully at the end of this year we’ll see how we go. If you do want to find out more you can go to foundr mag, F-O-U-N-D-R-M-A-G.com/book.
And you’ll be put on the waiting list to find out when this goes live. We’ll probably do something fun and do a crowdfunding campaign, you know, help bring it to life if, you know, see if people actually can help us, you know, bring this project to life and see if enough of you guys want to support this awesome project that we wanna put together.
But yeah, that’s what we’re starting to work on and it’s really, really exciting. It’s gonna be a beautifully designed coffee table style book. So super pumped about that, we working on a few other courses that many of you guys in the community have let us know that you want more help within your business, your startup and that’s something else we’re doing.
But yeah, Lots happening and want to really close home 2016 hard. Enough rambling from me I hope you are working towards your goals and kicking it and crushing it in your business.
Let’s talk about today’s guest who is dis-rapping the transportation industry. And this guest name is Polina Raygorodskaya. And these guys are absolutely crushing it from Wanderu and we…this is a really, really interesting conversation because they talk about, you know, profitability versus growth. And this is something that…it’s a question that I wrestle with sometimes because…do you want to sacrifice profit for growth how do you know when to start being profitable and all these kinds of things we talked about.
Advisory boards, setting up an advisory board, why should, why you shouldn’t. We talked about growth metrics and traction investors versus not, you know, utilizing investors to raise capital and use it for growth, startup accelerator. We talking about a whole varied range of things and, you know, plenty these…the guys in Wanderu are doing an amazing job so I know you’re gonna learn a lot from her and her experiences.
There’s a ton of gold in this one. So anyways guys, let’s just jump into the show if you are enjoying these episodes and interviews, please do take the time to leave us a review. I’d love if you could tell one of your friends maybe two of your friends, you know, as entrepreneurs we love talking shop and if, you know, if you’re an entrepreneur, I’m sure you’ve got many entrepreneur friends, would love if you could help spread the word, how small you can imagine.
All right let’s jump in.
So the first question that I ask everyone that comes on is, how did you get your job?
Polina: How did I get my job, I made it. Yeah, I mean, I’ve been an entrepreneur basically all of my adult life. So my first company I started when I was a sophomore at Babson College which is a university in the Boston area. And then for entrepreneurship and when I was a sophomore there I started a PR firm and upon graduating I moved out to New York City and build out the PR firm there.
And in the midst of running the PR firm I was traveling a lot by bus and train and I found the booking process of travelling by bus and trained to be very frustrating because there’s a lot of different options that go between major cities in the United States and a lot of the bus companies websites were really challenging to deal with. And there’s actually more bus and train traveling between major cities than there are Airlines line that same City.
So having to go to 15 different websites was a huge hustle for me. And so I really wanted to solve that problem, um, so got together with a co-founder and started Wanderu that’s how I got my job.
Nathan: Awesome, and what happened to the PR Company?
Polina: Uum the PR Company I basically…it was a service business so I closed out the contracts that I had and focused a hundred percent on Wanderu.
Nathan: Awesome, and did your previous businesses…do you have much experience with technology-based businesses or this was your first one?
Polina: No, this isn’t the first tech business that I started. Spent a lot of learning and work in progress, everything that, you know, we’ve done to date is something that we figured out. We came into two industries that we didn’t know anything about both technology. My co-founder has a technical background, and we also brought on a third technical co-founder as well. So we had you know the technology on our team to be able to execute on the vision that we had.
However both tech industry and the ground transportation industry I’m very new to from the operation. I, of course, was traveling a lot by bus and train as a traveler, but I had to figure on my own with the business and we learned quickly that in order for us to succeed in this industry we should bring on advisors that know the industry very well that can help get us up to speed and be there for us when we have questions or if we need guidance.
And so one of the first things we did when starting out Wanderu was, we brought on a former CEO of Greyhound which is the largest bus company in the United States. We brought him on board as an advisor and as we built out the company he then became one of our investors and now sits on our board of directors.
Nathan: Okay, I see. And so you launched the company…you founded the company in 2012. How long did it take for you to get I guess the first version out of Wanderu?
Polina: Um, it took about a year and a half so we launched in August of 2013 and a beta just in the NorthEast of the United States and probably had about, I don’t know, six different partners at the time. And over the next year we expanded throughout the country we now cover…it’s going to be three years of us being like I think. 2013, 2016, yeah, so in August it’s gonna be three years of us being live to the public and we now cover all of the United States, Canada and Mexico. So we’ve grown quite a bit since we’ve launched a growing about 400% each quarter.
Nathan: Yeah, Wow and can you give us just, I mean, some traction around user base?
Polina: Yeah, we have over two million monthly users and that’s been growing as I mentioned it’s been growing very fast. So, probably even by the time this interview goes out, it’s gonna be much higher than that.
Nathan: Yeah, Wow, and when you were getting this company started you said you brought on technical co-founders, um, did you raise any capital to get it off the ground or did you bootstrap and then when you launch your start you did your seed round?
Polina: Yeah, so we initially good strapped and invested our own money into the business. A lot of debt in credit card bills but…and we didn’t pay ourselves a salary for over a year and then we ended up taking angel money pretty much. I don’t know, maybe half a year to a year in a little bit of angel money and then that rolled into a larger seed round when we rolled out with our private beta.
Nathan: Gotcha, and I’m curious how do you monetize?
Polina: We take a percentage of the transaction from our partners, and so it’s a referral-based model so we don’t charge anything to the customer. We help travelers find the lowest possible price and then once they book the ticket we take a percentage of that from the bus partner or train partner.
Nathan: Gotcha, and I’m also curious when you said you brought on the…this…the CEO of Greyhound America’s largest bus company or intercity bus company. How did…as an advisor and then an investor…how do you connect and, you know, you said you have a board of advisers now, how did you structure that board and do you believe that every startup should have at least an advisory board?
Polina: So, yeah, a couple things. So, first of all just to clarify this is the former CEO Greyhound, so it’s somebody that was no longer at the company, so, we were very picky to make sure that there’s no conflict of interest bringing someone who’s currently one of the largest companies to be a part of our new. Because that, you know, may not look so good to other partners. And now he’s on our board of directors so not Board of Advisors, initially he was an advisor.
I do highly recommend startups to have advisors. Usually the way that it works, you give them a little bit of equity in exchange and invests over 18 months in exchange for specific things that you want the advisor to do. Whether that’s coaching you, whether that’s making introductions, you know, speaking to you several times per month, you work those details out with that advisor.
I highly recommend entrepreneurs that are starting businesses to find advisors that have knowledge in the industry that the entrepreneur wants to go in, can make introductions. Different advisors serve different purposes so it really depends on what it is that you want to get out of the advisor. But you…it allows you to have really smart people on the team that aren’t there full-time, that you obviously can’t afford to pay full time. So you give them some equity in exchange for some of their time that they provide to you.
There’s a pretty…it’s pretty standard to have a Board of Advisors as an early stage start up into usually you want to have, you know, you don’t want to have too many but a handful is always helpful. And then in terms of Board of Directors which is what we have now, this is something that is usually required of a venture funded startup, a venture funded company in general.
Corporations need to have a board of directors. So even if you open a corporation you’re going to have, to have a board of directors because that’s who governs that corporation. So even if that’s the co-founders that started out initially, you don’t have anybody from the outside, you’re still gonna have a board of directors.
Eventually your board of directors’ role if you raise money will likely have some investors on it. And then you also want to have independent directors to be able to provide an outside balance that doesn’t come from inside the company or from the investors.
Nathan: Okay, I see, thank you for breaking that down. So what do you see is fueling the growth of one do you …what are the key pieces…what does work…how are you guys growing so fast?
Polina: So, a lot of it is just organic growth. We have…we built a platform for Millennials to be able to travel the way that they want to travel. If you look at the people that are traveling by bus and train, it’s made up of mostly 18 to 35-year-old Millennials that, are, don’t want to drive their cars on the go and they want to be able to book tickets easily and quickly. So, word-of-mouth is really big for us. So, a lot of people will tell other people, and it’s kind of grown virally that way. We also do kind of some online marketing. We have a lot of content, pieces that we write to kind of inspire people to travel and that also brings a lot of people. And SEO is a big channel, and we’ve also started doing some out of home marketing as well. So some of the things that we do.
You know, we’ve tried billboards, we’ve tried some, you know, outdoor advertising, just to build some brand awareness. But that tends to be more expensive, so it’s not something that we do a whole lot of, so most of it is just organic growth.
Nathan: Yeah, now that’s really interesting. Because I do see startups do, like um, backyard kind, like billboards and stuff like that and when you look at like you have effective, some channels, are, like you know YouTube ads or Facebook ads or Adwords, you know, you said SEO’s, so you guys, you know, a business like yours, you know, the organic search will be massive for traffic. I’m curious like, I always wonder why would you choose to do, like, billboard, like, brand awareness as opposed to something that you can really track heavily like Facebook ads?
Polina: So, we do everything. We found Facebook ads to be very expensive. Honestly on a pre-costal install basis at least for us, it’s probably even more expensive than out-of-home. Because people don’t really go to Facebook looking for bus tickets right at this moment. And so we only hope that they come to us and then maybe download our app and come back at some time in the future. Which is basically the same thing that happens with out-of-home too. So we find that pretty similar.
The direct response stuff like SEO and SEM for sure is really effective and that’s where a lot of our focus is. But as a growing business, we try to do a lot of different things and have a well-rounded marketing program.
Nathan: Mmmh. I see, so what’s your biggest challenge right now?
Polina: We don’t really have a specific biggest challenge. Running a startup is always a challenge. So, it’s a different challenge on different days. Right now my biggest focus is continuing to build out our team. We’re looking for some to add, some additional really good engineers, especially on the team lead side to Wanderu. And so I spend a good amount of time on recruiting.
We’re also getting ready to expand to other markets and regions. So, just kind of working on that. And you know signing new partnerships, integrating new carriers and figuring out kind of rollouts of new countries and languages and stuff like that. So, again every day is a challenge it’s just a matter of which day.
Nathan: I know you guys have got a lot of recognition for Wanderu. I’m curious, I read somewhere when I was doing some research that, um, you guys were a finalist for a Tech Challenge and you got to go to Richard Branson’s Island,is that correct?
Polina: Yes, that’s correct. Had the opportunity of meeting Sir Richard Branson and he was a huge fan of Wanderu very supportive. Yeah, it was an amazing opportunity we got. Aside from that, we met a lot of really interesting people both investors. We got some investment out of that group as well and it was just an incredible opportunity to…Richard Branson was awesome to meet him and his Island is beautiful, but the entire network that we got to meet and continue to be a part of now is incredible.
So, I highly recommend any entrepreneurs who are looking to, you know, grow, no matter what size you’re at now I highly recommend applying for the Xtreme tech challenge. We were already pretty large when we…and all of the companies actually that were the top three finalists, they had all raised either right before or right after pretty serious size funding, like over 20 million dollars, so we were probably the earlier stage company that ended up being there.
And so a lot of larger companies tend to shy away from being part of competitions because they think that, you know, they’re too late in the game. But in reality, I highly recommend awesome companies to apply to be part of that competition because it was absolutely an incredible experience and brought a lot of exposure and value to Wanderu.
Nathan: Yeah, wow, that’s awesome and I’m curious are you and if you don’t feel comfortable sharing it, that’s fine but are you guys profitable yet?
Polina: Umm, we’re very close to profitability, you know, we are a fast growing company so our priorities have been growth. So we’ve been able to get to a place where we should be profitable in the next year with…while still maintaining really fast growth, which is very exciting. So we try to prioritize growth over just profitability. We could be profitable today if we wanted to stop growing. However, with the sustainable growth, we’ll be able to be profitable and within the next year.
Nathan: Yeah, okay, interesting so when it comes to sacrificing profit for growth when do you know? Like, you said you guys could be profitable straight away but you want to …growth matters and speed matters. So, I’m curious how do you know when the right time is to focus on profitability and when growth…but you slow down growth. How do you know?
Polina: It really depends on the type of business that you want to build. Not everybody needs to build a billion-dollar business and have a bee venture funded and stuff like that. Venture…if you are a venture funded business you need to grow really fast because investors expect you to bring back high returns in a short period of time.
So a lot of companies if you look at Uber right, they’re still very focused on continuing to grow versus being sustainable and profitable. And so it really depends on the business, it really depends on the strategy of the company and what you want to do as a company. We’ve been lucky enough where we’ve built a really solid sustainable business that can be profitable while still being able to grow fast.
But ultimately we would not be where we are if we didn’t make a decision to invest the money that we got from investors into the business to grow. But if you’re a bootstrap company your goal should be profitability not necessarily fast growth because, you know, you don’t have the funds to be able to invest a lot of money into that growth without bringing back profitability.
Nathan: Mmm, I see, so for you guys, how do you know, because you said like in a year you anticipate you will be profitable while still sustaining the rapid growth that you have going on. How do you know that, that is the correct, like, growth rate?
Polina: That’s just a choice that we as a management team made for ourselves and the business. How we know, because that’s what we said we wanna grow this much and we want to get to profitability. So it’s just a decision that we made as a business.
Nathan: Gotcha, so there’s no metrics or, like, standardized metrics in terms of your percentage of growth that you guys are trying to hit, it’s just a collective decision you guys made as a management team.
Polina: And we are, we want to keep us growing at the same sustainable growth levels that we’ve been growing in the past. So we look at kind of year-over-year growth and try to maintain that while also and we absolutely set metrics internal, yes.
Nathan: Look, we have to work towards wrapping up Polina but, um, one thing I really like to ask people, is in regards to the sacrifices that you, you’ve had to make to get where you are today. Would you be able to share some of those? Like, you know, you mentioned a few like, you said you have to build the business when you bootstrap it off the back of credit cards, didn’t take a salary, like, can you really give us an insider just some examples or some stories or the things you’ve had to go through?
Polina: I think you have to be a little bit crazy to start a company and you need to be prepared to put the company above everything else and, you know, risk friendships and spending time with family, and, you know. I have basically for the past five years worked around the clock non-stop. You know, I go to work, I come home, I continue working, go to sleep, wake up go to work. On weekends, you know, weekends are just another day.
So it’s definitely…it’s something that takes a lot of strain on people. It’s very exhausting but ultimately you keep doing it because you are passionate about what you do and you want to solve a problem. There are people that can start businesses based on things that they think is a good business but they’re not actually passionate about this type of business.
For me, I was extremely passionate about solving this problem and still am extremely sought passionate about solving this problem and that’s what, you know, keeps me going every day and keeps me energized when I’m completely exhausted. And those are the things that keep the fire alive and so I don’t really understand anybody that can do a business that they’re not completely passionate about.
So, I mean it’s really hard to kind of pinpoint any particular thing but you know startups are an emotional roller coaster you think that you know, you’re gonna get a big deal and then that deal falls through. You think you’re gonna get a big investment and that investment falls through. You get to a point where,you know, you’re running low on funds and, you know, if you don’t close that round you know that you have people that are depending on you that, you know, you just feel that stress, all of that stress is on the shoulders of that entrepreneur and, you know, this is common for every entrepreneur.
So, those are some of the challenges that you go through and you kind of go through it on a daily basis. And as I mentioned before, there’s always challenges, every challenge is different but the challenges are always there.
Nathan: Mmmh, oh, thank you for sharing that. So, look, last question, first of all any final words of wisdom, like what’s the best lesson that you’ve learned from all the amazing people, like, with one piece of gold that you could share you’ve learned from, like, all these amazing advisers that you have, all these amazing people you’ve met along the journey or just personal lessons that you’ve had as an entrepreneur that you could think could really serve our audience well? And then lastly finish off where the best place is people can find out more about Wanderu.
Polina: Umm,So question, the biggest piece of advice…I mean honestly, the biggest piece of advice that I have for entrepreneurs is to really find something that they are extremely passionate about and focus on solving that versus just trying to find a business idea or business problem. The other big thing is, building out a network. And I think, bringing on advisors from an early stage so that you have that network is very valuable and taking the time to go and meet people is extremely important because that network will help you as you build and grow your business.
Investors don’t just read emails that are sent to them cold-called. You need to get introduction. So going out and meeting people and getting them to introduce you to whether its partners or investors or whatever it is extremely important. And then the other big piece of advice I have for anybody that’s fundraising is, don’t do it in the summer because everybody’s on vacation and it’s impossible to close the deal.
Nathan: That’s interesting, awesome, and where’s the best place people can find out more about Wanderu?
Polina: People can go to wanderu.com that’s W-A-N-D-E-R-U.com or find us on the App Store or in Google Play.
Nathan: Awesome, all right, fantastic we’ll look, we’ll wrap there because I know you got to go but thank you so much for your time and Asea, our publication manager we’ll be in touch and yeah, thanks, I wish you all the best and thank you so much for your time.
Polina: Thank you very much it was great talking to you.
Key Resources From Our Interview With Polina Raygorodskaya
- Connect with Polina Raygorodskaya on Linkedin
- Follow Polina Raygorodskaya on Twitter
- Learn more about Wanderu