LAUNCHING:

SOPHIA MATVEEVA

Company:

Enty

THE BIG QUESTIONS

WHAT IS YOUR PROFESSIONAL TITLE?

CEO & Co-Founder of Enty

WHAT DO YOU DO ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS?

Set the direction of where we are going and help my team get there. Broadly speaking the job is divided between product, marketing and financing, and I have great advisers and colleagues to work on all three. My job is to ask questions that we solve together, for example, how can we make the product more engaging or what growth experiments should we try next?

WHAT DID YOU WANT TO DO WHEN YOU WERE A CHILD AND WHAT CHANGED?

I wanted to be a space explorer and warrior queen (simultaneously). I don’t really think that has changed, but rather adapted for modern reality. We’re inventing a new way to interact online and are at the cutting edge of behavioural research, so it does feel like space exploration at times!

WHAT ACADEMIC QUALIFICATIONS DO YOU HAVE?

BSc in Politics from Bristol University and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

WHAT’S THE BEST CAREER ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN?

It’s not the ups and downs, but the trajectory that counts.

WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL AND WHY?

Richard Branson because he has had so many lives rolled into one! A brilliant entrepreneur, who is also an adventurer, a family man and an author, whose books have inspired millions. He also seems fun and laughs at himself, which I think is important in a leader.

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR CURRENT WORKING ENVIRONMENT?

I work with very smart people who are very dedicated and enjoy solving difficult problems. Being surrounded by very smart people definitely makes me pull my socks up and work harder! People can hide in big companies, but you can only thrive in a start-up if you’re got brains and hutzpah in droves.

WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE ABOUT YOUR DAILY WORK ROUTINE IF YOU COULD?

I would hire more smart people! The more we develop, the more interesting issues we uncover, the more opportunity to invent. Sometimes, we do not take advantage of all the opportunities before us because there simply aren’t enough of us to go around. This is very frustrating. We are hiring by the way, so get in touch if you’re interested!

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF PROFESSIONALLY IN FIVE YEARS’ TIME?

Running a FTSE 100 company called Enty!

DO YOU FEEL YOU CAN BE THE SAME PERSON AT WORK AND IN PRIVATE?

Absolutely! Start-ups are all encompassing, so it is impossible for the founders to divide home life and work life. As a founder, so many of your personal goals are the company’s goals. Also, I do genuinely think our work is very interesting, so my mind keeps turning to it when I’m on holiday or out with friends.

WHERE AND IN WHAT ROLES ARE WOMEN IN THE LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE AT YOUR COMPANY?

They are in both technical and in marketing roles, because we are a tech company for the female consumer. Most tech companies have been built by white men, which makes their products great if you are a white man. The internet has not been built as a safe place for women and we have come to accept this as a fact. Just look at how people interact on Twitter or Reddit. 

It does not have to be this way. If you put the user experience of the woman as your priority, then you end up building a different environment. We have eliminated trolling from Enty, because only professional stylists are allowed to write comments on user photos. Our engagement metrics are high and we are growing, so the world is ready for a new internet – one where women can gain confidence, not lose it.
 

DOES DIVERSITY MATTER TO YOU?

Yes. We exist because diversity didn’t matter to the big tech companies and they have failed to create safe spaces for women online.

HOW GOOD IS YOUR WORK LIFE BALANCE?

See answer to question 10. My work and my life are too intertwined to answer that. However, I have taken a leaf out of Richard Branson’s book and make sure that I indulge my adventurous spirit through sailing and tennis. I do also think that it’s important to have goals outside of your immediate work, so if you had a bad day at work, you can succeed elsewhere. I recently started learning Mandarin, although it’s too early to call that a success!

WHAT QUALITIES DOES BEING IN YOUR ROLE NECESSITATE?

My top three are resilience, resourcefulness and persuasion. Being resilient is the number one quality start-up founders need. Something you don’t want happens all the time, so you need a coping mechanism for your emotions and the ability to get back in the ring. Resourcefulness is also key – you don’t have the cash in the bank to pay your way out of problems, so you have to find other solutions. Persuasion is important because you are always selling to somebody: to customers, to investors, to potential hires and to your team. You don’t have an established brand or lots of money, so you have to sell a vision of why these fantastic people should back you.

ANY FINAL COMMENTS?

There are diminishing marginal returns to being at your desk all the time. Get out of the office, see what people around you are doing, go to parties! We get ideas from the world around us, so get out there and get inspired.

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