Elisabeth Yunarko, Co-Founder of Spokle, talks about the inspiration to start Spokle, and mentors Agi Reefman and Neil Alexander shares their motivation in becoming a Remarkable mentor.
Why did your start Spokle?
My co-founders and I used to work in a health care centre in Southeast Asia. What really made us start Spokle was a feeling of frustration when we saw that a lot of families who have children with communication challenges struggle to get the services they need, and that’s because there’s not enough skilled specialists in this area so there’s a long wait time. And there’s also the distance – there may not be a clinic where they live, so somehow they have to travel, almost a day, to attend a one-hour therapy session. It’s also that ongoing cost of care so we wanted to try and help bring a solution for a lot of these families who don’t have access to these services and help their children get the support they need from Spokle.
What inspired you to become a mentor?
The amazing startups that I saw coming out of the last Cohort, and the need that I see for technology to really create solutions that improve the quality of life for people with disabilities.
I just like working on hard problems, and this space has lots of those. When you solve them it makes a significant difference in the world, and that just makes me feel good.
How are the mentors helping you?
They’ve been really fantastic in helping us working through a deep dive of our customer needs, what are the pain points and what they expect to gain from using our product but also thinking more strategically around the business model and what are the different parts that can make us successful in those different markets. Agi and Neil with their different background and experience in tech and start-up has been really helpful for us, they challenge our thinking in a nice way and teach us a lot about how we can make Spokle a sustainable business.
What’s your top tip for early stage startups?
Like Elisabeth said, what we’ve been getting her to do is understand your customer. Absolutely understand in depth, your customer and what their pains are, and what they can gain from what you’re trying to do. And really why would they use your product because if you can’t get that right, everything else is just not going to follow.
I think mine is an extension of yours (Agi’s), is that if you think you know the answer, you’re probably wrong. So inspect your assumptions all the time, continuously throughout your journey.