Ivan Fatovic of Modamily: “Keep it simple”

Keep it simple — MVP — what’s your minimum viable product. I’ve made the mistake of trying to do too much with our website and app. Take some time to figure out what your business is really about and start off doing just one thing really well. As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things […]

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Keep it simple — MVP — what’s your minimum viable product. I’ve made the mistake of trying to do too much with our website and app. Take some time to figure out what your business is really about and start off doing just one thing really well.

As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ivan Fatovic.

Ivan is the CEO/Founder of Modamily, a dating app that connects people ready to start a family and educate them on all the different ways they can make that happen. Modamily has connected thousands of people ready to have kids and over 200 babies have been born around the world from people that met on the platform.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

I’ve come from the entertainment (WME, 3 Arts) and finance industries(UBS) and noticed a trend where many of my peers were pushing off getting married and starting a family till later in life. As many of them hit their mid-30s, many of my female friends in particular were starting to feel the pressures of the biological clock. They were frustrated by the short term casual hookup relationships they were finding on Tinder’s of the world and needed to approach their search differently. I saw this seismic shift happening culturally, where millions of people were having kids later in life and marriage was not the main priority, rather a partner that shared their vision and value system when it came to raising kids.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

We are disrupting the way family is created. It’s not a husband and a wife with 2.5 kids and a white picket fence anymore. We are taking thousands of years of societal norms and telling people to look at what a family really is from a different angle. Modamily was the 1st co-parenting site that was based in the USA. A lot of media depicts us as “meet a stranger online and have a baby with him,” but isn’t everyone you meet online start off as a stranger?? Obviously, we don’t recommend having a baby with someone you just met, online or otherwise. You need to get to know the person and develop trust, this takes time.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

It wasn’t funny to me, but when we were overhauling the website and releasing the apps, I hired a bunch of Computer Science students to try and build a site and apps from scratch on the cheap. Modamily was bootstrapped, the original site was showing signs of wear and tear, and I didn’t have a big investor or Technical co-founder. They started off OK and they did the best they could. I brought on a Project Manager who flaked on me, and these poor students were tasked with keeping my company afloat. I started with 5 students and after a few months was down to 2 and then 1 student working full-time on coding and maintaining a live platform. We made the mistake of going live after only some limited QA and I decided to move forward and fix the bugs with the platform instead of going back to the old version of the website. I ended up having to hire a much more expensive near shore team to quickly fix the significant issues with the platform. I learned that sometimes you need to pay up to get the job done properly, and when you try and do something on the cheap, sometimes you get cheap.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

In the Hollywood agency days, I looked up to my boss, Ari Emanuel. He started his own company in 1995 after leaving his old agency in the middle of the night and ended up creating a juggernaut of a company. He’s an aggressive, tireless guy, but if you have him in your corner, he’ll fight for you till the end. I try to do the same for people I work with, where I can support them as best as I can, but also give them space to do the job that they know how to do.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

Look we’re disrupting marriage and the traditional family, institutions that have been around for thousands of years. When you look at the numbers, almost 50% of marriages end in divorce, that’s not a great success rate, but the institutions are ingrained in billions of people around the world. We are living in a time where the Individual is more powerful than they ever have been. Women are in the workforce and make as much money as men, they don’t have to settle down at 25 and have some babies. Now is the best time in our history, to try out modern families. I believe they can work just as well as traditional families.

I think disruption can go too far in the wrong direction as well. A lot of the big tech companies like Facebook and Twitter were trying to give a voice to everyone in the world with no rules. The election of 2016 showed how a powerful disruptive force can influence outcomes by spewing a lot of misinformation about candidates and issues. They’ve been doing a better job this time around, but there’s still more work to be done.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

Where’s the data? Let data inform your decision making. We started Modamily Concierge after, many people were coming up to us, not knowing how to proceed to make a match.

Keep it simple — MVP — what’s your minimum viable product. I’ve made the mistake of trying to do too much with our website and app. Take some time to figure out what your business is really about and start off doing just one thing really well.

Use adversity as an opportunity — the 1st year of my business, I had dinner with a guy who said he can help us raise money. He thought about starting his own similar site but after he saw Modamily, he thought he should just join forces with us. At dinner, we got to talking and I told him the 5 things that set us apart from other competitors. After dinner, I didn’t hear from him for months, until I saw him on the Today show with his own co-parenting site. I was really angry but I channeled that anger into realizing that there was something about my idea that is working that people want to copy it. It’s good to have competition to give you that kick you need to keep going. Needless to say, his appearance on Today show led to my appearance on Good Morning America and Katie Couric. His site seems to have lost traction and hasn’t been updated in years.

Decisions you make early in your business could affect your trajectory for years to come. Take some time to figure out what you’re business is really about

Lead generation is one of the most important aspects of any business. Can you share some of the strategies you use to generate good, qualified leads?

We’ve been very fortunate with organic lead generation because our story has been featured in global media for some time now. All of our leads come from word of mouth or mainstream media attention. We also throw mixer and informative events where people can connect and learn more about co-parenting, IVF, surrogacy, and sperm donation.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

Modamily is just getting started. We are building out our team and getting ready to grow our membership into the millions. I see Modamily as a bridge between the dating and fertility industries because our target market is mostly people in their 30’s and 40’s, many of whom will need assistance of some kind when they’re ready to get pregnant. We not only connect people who are on the path to parenthood, but we also educate them on all the different services and products that can help them when it’s time to get pregnant.

Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?

I think Contagious by Jonah Berger is a great book that talks about how certain products or companies spread by word of mouth.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Short cuts, make long delays” is a saying I took to heart as is evidenced by my building a new platform story. Enjoy the journey, the tough patches is where you’ll learn character and find clues on how to persevere and succeed.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I’m becoming a fan of Universal Basic Income. To some, it seems crazy, but I think there’s something to having a social safety net, where you don’t have to worry as much about getting sick or getting kicked out of your place cause you can’t afford the rent. Too much energy is spent worrying to keep up with the Jones (or Kardashians, these days). We got a little taste of what that would be like when the government stimulus payments were issued a few months ago to stymie the economic effects of the pandemic, and I think it could be a useful policy to explore further.

How can our readers follow you online?

@modamily @ivanfat on IG

@ivanfatovic @modamily on Twitter


This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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