Natalia Sergovantseva: Being an entrepreneur has taught me that failure is not the end but rather an opportunity for growth

March 14, 2024
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Follow Natalia Sergovantseva in LinkedIn

Tell us about yourself?

I have a PhD in Human resources and Masters in Psychology. I’ve built a solid career in HR in large companies. At some point I felt burnt out and switched to working in startups. Startups offer opportunities to work on cutting-edge projects where you contribute directly to the company’s growth and success. In February 2023 after lots of brainstorming, my co-founder and I decided to launch SoulMatcher, a dating app that is different from other dating apps on the market.

What lessons has being an entrepreneur taught you?

Being an entrepreneur has taught me that failure is not the end but rather an opportunity for growth. Every setback and obstacle presents a chance to learn, adapt, and come back stronger.

If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

Prioritize tinkering of your product over strategy, apply agile methods and move one step at a time. Always put your customer first, stay tuned to social trends and responsive to the feedback of your first customers. Seek guidance from mentors who believe in your mission, it will fuel up your business and help to overcome any obstacles. Amid the hustle and bustle of running a business, don’t forget about self-care and mental health, this is a vital factor of your success. Always face failures as opportunities to learn and grow.

A lot of entrepreneurs find it difficult to balance their work and personal lives. How have you found that?

Balancing work and personal life is challenging, and it’s something I’ve personally experienced. In my journey, I’ve found that the key lies in integrating work and personal life rather than trying to separate them. When you are passionate about what you do and enjoy the work you’re involved in, it becomes a part of your personal life. Planning is the key. The amount of work in a startup is endless, that’s why it’s vital to plan your personal life and to prioritize important friends and family commitments first.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

The inspiration behind our business, SoulMatcher, stems from our personal experiences with dating apps. I was fortunate enough to meet my husband through one of these platforms, after a relatively short journey. My previous experience in recruitment always always helped me to build the right funnel to get to the right candidate for a role and I recognized that the same principles could be applied to finding a life partner. Not everyone possesses the recruitment experience necessary to navigate the dating landscape. This led us to create SoulMatcher, an app that goes beyond conventional matching criteria like hobbies, shared interests and photo compatibility.

What do you think is your magic sauce? What sets you apart from the competitors?

Unlike conventional dating apps, we focus on psychological compatibility, aiming to create meaningful connections based on deeper aspects of individuals’ personalities. Our goal is to provide a platform that helps users find partners who are truly compatible on a psychological level, fostering more meaningful and fulfilling relationships.

How have you found sales so far? Do you have any lessons you could pass on to other founders in the same market as you just starting out?

At this early stage, it’s premature to draw any conclusions about our sales performance. We remain optimistic about the future as we believe our product represents an effective solution that will eventually lead to high volume sales.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far in your business, and how did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge for us was the release of the SoulMatcher app on the apple store together with our development team. Adhering to app store guidelines while delivering a unique experience was really tough, we didn’t want to sacrifice some unique features in our app like friends ratings that increase accuracy of evaluation versus just self-report evaluation.

������️ What do you find are the advantages of operating your business in London?

London provides access to a thriving startup ecosystem with multitude of resources, networking opportunities, and support organizations. London attracts top talent from around the world, we appreciate access to a diverse talent pool and London’s renown academia. It is also a hub for venture capital firms, angel investors, and other funding sources. The city offers a robust ecosystem for securing funding, whether through early-stage seed investments or later-stage funding rounds. Altogether it makes London a perfect place to start your tech business.

������️ What are the challenges with having a London based business?

London offers an excellent environment for business growth and ample opportunities. Overall, I love London—it’s the city that inspires my soul and where the idea for SoulMatcher was born.

������️ How has the higher than UK average cost of living impacted your ability to work and live in London and how has this also impacted your ability as an employer?

Our team is fully decentralized and works remotely, though for those who are based in the UK the cost of living was very challenging.

������️ If you had to relocate your business to another city in the UK, which one would it be and why?

When considering relocating businesses inland, two cities that hold a special place in my heart are Edinburgh and Leeds. Apart from personal preferences, these cities offer compelling objective advantages for business ventures. Firstly, Edinburgh and Leeds boast an impressive business survival rate of around 40%l. Secondly, the active business population in these cities is thriving. Thirdly, they are vibrant, future-facing urban centers with robust economies, highly skilled workforces, innovations, and a desirable quality of life. If not London, then definitely Edinburgh or Leeds.

������️ How has Brexit impacted your business (if at all)?

As I mentioned earlier, the key for businesses is their adaptability. We ensured that major geopolitical issues didn’t hinder our ideas and projects. Our business development isn’t tied to a specific location. While SoulMatcher originated in London, it now transcends borders, reaching beyond countries and continents.

��� What problem does your app solve?

By connecting people by their desirable personality profiles we are trying to minimize traumatic experiences with unsuitable partners that users have had or potentially could have on other dating sites where matching is fully based on conventional criteria like hobbies, shared interests and photo compatibility.

��� What makes your company stand out as an app based startup/company?

Our project is focused on mindfulness and maturity, making us unique in the market. Our team of specialists recognizes the importance of mental state and emotional intelligence in forming meaningful connections. By emphasizing these qualities, we offer a transformative dating experience that goes beyond superficial attraction. What truly sets us apart is our commitment to helping individuals understand themselves and the world through our project.

��� What excited you most about working in the app industry?

What excites me the most is the boundless potential for innovation and impact. In this fast-paced and ever-evolving space, we have the opportunity to create products that can reach and connect with millions of users worldwide. Being able to design solutions that improve lives, solve problems, and bring joy is incredibly rewarding. The industry also offers continuous learning and growth as technology advances. There’s always something new to explore, whether it’s emerging trends, cutting-edge features, or innovative approaches to engaging users. The ability to make a meaningful difference and shape the future of digital experiences is what truly inspires my team and me.

��� What are some of the biggest challenges in the app industry that innovators and other startups often face?

Number one is intense market saturation that requires apps to stand out and gain user attention. Attracting and retaining users is a huge challenge, demanding continuous efforts. Limited resources impact innovation, growth, and competitiveness. Lots of startups in these fields are looking for funding and the funding landscape is also as competitive as app industry itself.

��� Tell us a bit about your culture. What makes your companies culture unique?

Our culture promotes work-life balance, flexibility, and a positive work atmosphere. prioritize employee well-being, offer growth opportunities, and foster a collaborative and innovative environment.

��� In your opinion, what are the most exciting trends in the app industry right now?

As for me, one of the most exciting trends in the industry right now is the focus on mindful and purposeful time consumption. With people spending several hours on their phones each day, there is a growing recognition that this time should be used effectively and meaningfully. Users are seeking apps that promote personal growth, well-being, productivity, and valuable experiences. Developers are responding by creating apps that cater to these needs, making phone usage time more rewarding and beneficial. This trend reflects a shift towards utilizing technology for positive and purposeful engagement. This trend made us develop the SoulMatcher app.

Follow SoulMatcher in LinkedIn

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