Follow your intuition and your heart. If you over analyze ideas or think too much about whether or not you actually want to start your own company, you will never make the leap. So don’t! If you have done your research and have a plan B in case everything goes wrong, just go for it and see what happens.
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Andrea Oliver Garcia.
Andrea is the former VC-turned-CEO and co-founder of Emjoy (www.letsemjoy.com), the audio-based intimate wellbeing app enabling women to explore their bodies, learn about their sexuality and to arouse their minds.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
I studied business administration in Barcelona, and during this time undertook a number of internships within B2C startups. It was this experience that made me first think that I would like to start my own company one day, but when I graduated I didn’t have much experience nor did I feel that I had a strong or meaningful enough business idea that I would be happy dedicating the next 10 years on my life to.
As such, I decided to enter the world of VC so that I could learn as much as possible about startups and get to know investors first-hand. After 4 years, I was keen to take the leap into entrepreneurship and start my own journey. I had been inspired to found Emjoy and was incredibly motivated by the opportunity to have a positive impact on the lives of other women.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
Since starting my career, I have often found myself doing things that require far more experience and knowledge than I actually possess at the time, and have always felt a bit insecure or intimidated early on as a result of this.
When starting out in VC, I had just graduated from university and had very no direct experience. I was being put in front of high-profile founders, many of whom were very successful having already built several companies, and it was my job to decide whether or not their companies were good enough to receive investment from our fund.
From here I went on to found Emjoy, though I had never managed a team before, nor had I held any leadership positions. I also had a lot to learn when it came to the day-to-day operations of a startup, as that was all new to me too. What I did have, though, was a strong idea for a company that aligned with my beliefs and that I could grow into something big which would make a difference.
These situations have helped me grow and have taught me that being inexperienced doesn’t mean you are not suited to the role in hand or that you are not smart enough to do your job.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The biggest mistake I made in the beginning was to be starting Emjoy without a fully-fledged founding team. I had this amazing idea and was so excited about getting going that I quit my job and started Emjoy right away.
I quickly realized that I should have, instead, waited a few more months to quit my job and first get my co-founder, Dan, as well as Mia Sabat, our in house sex therapist, on board. This would have made it easier to raise money early on and would have allowed us to start operating faster, as I wouldn’t have had to go through everything on my own which led to a lot of frustration in the first few months.
I can certainly say that this experience taught me the value of patience in actualizing one’s goals!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
There are actually so many people to whom I am grateful towards for helping me build Emjoy into the company that it is today.
Firstly, I am grateful to Ofelia Botella, my former flatmate with whom the idea of Emjoy came to life. Then there is Rodrigo Martinez, an extremely smart investor, who, when I initially pitched him Emjoy, suggested that audio-content may be more appropriate than video. With his help I was able to realize not only the scalability of audio content, but also the freedom its provision allowed our users so that they could place themselves at the center of their Emjoy journey, and use their own imagination to create personal visualizations instead of having this forced upon them.
I am also incredibly grateful towards the Nauta Capital team, especially one of the General Partners, Jordi Viñas, who, even before we had launched, took a big leap of faith in Emjoy and decided to invest in our seed round making what we have achieved today possible. Finally, I am of course so grateful to the whole Emjoy team, without whom nothing you see today would exist.
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
Emjoy has been developed as a direct solution to close the orgasm gap by enabling women to discover their bodies and (re)gain confidence in their sex lives. As a company, we are working to ensure that sexual wellbeing is viewed as a vital cornerstone of wider health and wellness through continued education on our part to help broaden the way that the space is viewed. The impact we most want to achieve is establishing tools like Emjoy as everyday wellness tools in the same way that society now views mental health, fitness and meditation apps — once also considered as emerging categories.
Women are becoming far more comfortable demanding products that meet their needs and, at Emjoy, we are delighted to be at the forefront of responding to this, working to normalise female sexual wellbeing globally and further empowering them through our technology.
We are also constantly on the lookout to collaborate with leading experts in the space, to ensure that our content is as inclusive and all-encompassing as possible; reflecting the fact that no two users’ journeys will look the same.
Since launching, we’ve received so much positive feedback from users. Many tell us that using Emjoy has enabled them to acknowledge their own pleasure and feel better in their bodies, others have said that the app has helped reduce the feelings of shame and guilt they previously harboured pertaining to their sexuality. It is seeing this direct impact that our work can have on people’s lives that really drives us as a team to continue striving for pleasure equality.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing?
· Open and honest communication with those around you
· Acceptance of both how you look, and the way that you feel at any given time
· Tolerance towards different ways of living and identifying oneself
· Self-respect and extending that same respect to those around you
· Embracing healthy routines that are mind-positive, and start small
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
In founding Emjoy I believe I have already begun to do this. There are countless studies outlining pleasure inequality between heterosexual men and their female counterparts, and this gendered orgasm gap is a problem, considering the research out that demonstrating that sexual satisfaction directly correlates with positive physical and mental wellbeing. Hence Emjoy has been built as a direct and holistic solution to this.
Of course our mission is ongoing and we will need to continue doing what we do for some time. But with every new subscription, we move a step closer to improving the lives of almost half the world’s population and, in time, would love to create a version for men to understand more about female pleasure as well.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
1. Follow your intuition and your heart. If you over analyze ideas or think too much about whether or not you actually want to start your own company, you will never make the leap. So don’t! If you have done your research and have a plan B in case everything goes wrong, just go for it and see what happens.
2. Not everyone will be on board with your vision from the offset, but this shouldn’t stop you in pursuing the end goal. You may need to speak to a few people before you find someone who ‘gets it’, but once you do it’ll be worth any initial setbacks.
3. Don’t be too shy or proud to ask for help. The impact of having as much input as possible early on from people with varying expertise cannot be underestimated when starting out.
4. When something isn’t working or doesn’t seem quite right, don’t sit around to see if it gets better with time. Chances are it won’t, so don’t waste time in trying a different approach.
5. When I started, it seemed like the people we hired were doing me a favor by joining and therefore, I felt uncomfortable giving constructive feedback for people to do their jobs better. Remember your company is amazing and employees aren’t doing you a favour, you should have high standards from the very beginning and don’t need to apologise for giving less-than-glowing feedback, where appropriate. They will likely thank you for it.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
Unspringing, working within the wellness space, mental health is an incredibly important topic for me as it’s at the forefront of so much of what I do. For so many people the topic of mental health, and the ability to have open conversations around it, is still considered taboo. As such, I wanted to build a tool that was sensitive to, and appropriate for, the various needs of its users, regardless of the point at which they begin their wellness journey.
Emjoy works to help foster both positive physical and mental wellbeing by supporting users in various areas of sexual wellness such body acceptance or positive self-talk, and even helping them navigate and heal from more complex issues like orgasm anxiety and sexual trauma, with the help of trained experts. We embrace the fact that self-pleasure and self-care go hand-in-hand: the more you engage with pleasure, the more accessible it is in your daily life, the more inspired you’ll feel alone, and with others.
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