How A Woman Founded An Innovation Community In Switzerland
Katerina Voronova is Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at InnMind, a startup mentor at Tech Tour, and an author of entrepreneurship courses at a business school in Switzerland. Years ago, Katerina and her business partner, Nelli Orlova, came up with the idea of giving entrepreneurs the chance to connect with investors, service providers, and industry leaders. In 2016, the duo launched InnMind.
InnMind is a service platform that helps startups from all over the world to connect with innovative advisors, investors, and clients. Since its founding, over 10,000 startups have obtained access with more than 400 investors and 800 service providers.
Photo: Katerina Voronova
SUISSEPIC: Katerina, thank you for your interview. How did you come up with the idea of InnMind?
Katerina: The InnMind platform is based on our personal pains. My business partner and I were working on different projects and were facing several difficulties. This included talking about what we do, finding the correct partners, and entering new markets. We could not find a better solution other than launching our own online instrument.
SUISSEPIC: What kind of services do you provide startups?
Katerina: As a startup founder, you can use InnMind as a tool to digitize your project no matter the stage. We offer tools that will help test your idea, find your first clients, interact with potential partners, show your project to investors, and enter new markets. Everything is performed online.
Today, InnMind is full of promising projects, so we met the interest from investors too. To them, InnMind became a tool to increase their funnels. We also face the interest of more and more service providers that joined the platform. They cover the needs of both startups and investors and use our platform as a client database.
Photo: Katerina Voronova
SUISSEPIC: Where does your business operate?
Katerina: Our company is based in Switzerland, but we operate globally. We work in and outside of Europe, with Russian-speaking countries, China, and other parts of Asia. InnMind is an online platform, so we do not have limitations except for one – the only language on the platform is English.
SUISSEPIC: How do you set up goals and achieve them?
Katerina: Goals should be relevant to your values. This is rule number one. Otherwise, you will lose motivation. Even if you achieve your goals, it will not bring you pleasure or the feeling of fulfillment.
Being flexible, listening to yourself, and looking around is the second rule. You should definitely stick to your goals but revise them from time to time. There is nothing bad if you modify your goals and make them more relevant. This is especially important if we are speaking about long-term goals.
SUISSEPIC: What does success mean to you personally?
Katerina: For me personally, success is being in harmony with your values. Each person has a different path to success, as well as a different final destination. For some it is happiness with family; others seek satisfaction at work or through sporting achievements.
Success does not have one face. It is something that we all should understand. We cannot compare a person with another individual and decide which one is more successful. This is because the systems for measuring success might not be the same.
SUISSEPIC: What is your favorite Swiss city and why?
Katerina: That is a good question. In my opinion, you can really feel and understand the city only after you have lived there. I live in Lausanne and I am very happy with the city. It has a soft climate, a stunning view from the windows, and gentle people.
The location of Lausanne is also very important. The Geneva Airport is just 40 minutes away by public transportation. We are close to Italy, France, and the Swiss Alps. There are museums, sport centers, cinemas, restaurants, and in general, life here is quite active according to Swiss standards.
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