Today, looking back on everything that happened in 2019, I have to say: I am impressed. In January I had no imagination that at the end of the year I would have a team, a partner and a sponsorship and that I would be preparing to fly to a meeting at Silicon Valley.
It was an extremely tough year, starting with complete uncertainty about the continuity of the project. To be a solo founder is hard but not impossible. You just have to accept that things are slow and you have to learn to cope with the frustration that comes with it. Building a team is a top priority! And it’s a difficult task, too. For me, it turned out to be somewhat disappointing and sad but at the same time, it was also very rewarding and fun. The Calypso-team is a patchwork family that came together almost by chance. Today I am working alongside strong, smart and passionate women and I am so proud of our team and of what we have accomplished. Actually, I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us!
So, at the beginning of this year, there was no real agenda and no real hope that Calypso would be able to go very far. But I still went for it! It started out with a pitch and an interview that turned out to be a big eye-opener for me: “Carolina, your idea is the most UNUSUAL that has ever landed on my desk, and I have received a lot of unusual ideas. Just start by focusing on your business plan!” Of course, I didn’t get the money but I got something that was still worth a lot: The confidence that I was on the right track and after that things fell into place. The MTech accelerator was my first encounter with the German ecosystem. Then came EnBW with the Sp4k program which forced me to gather a team in order to be allowed to participate. The 4 women that joined at the beginning changed in the progress of the 16 weeks of the incubator process and in the end, I had a partner that was prepared to go on this crazy journey with me. Together we were part of many workshops and I learned that Calypso actually was in a mature state of development that just needed a little bit more shaping here and there. At the moment we are still working on our “out of this universe” business plan. One of the best experiences was to say “no” to some incredible opportunities and a big company. It was so scary but it turned out to be our best option. Because of our Exist-Founder-Scholarship, we are now working with the sponsorship of Stuttgart University and their WASTE department. And the outlook for 2020 is even scarier and exciting as we will start the year exhibiting at Start-Up Grind Global at Silicon Valley in February.
Summing it up: When all started and was put down on paper in February 2018, Calypso was only a concept, an idea, a hope… After much work, some deception and sadness and all of the uncertainty there was also joy and excitement that turned into more hope and the motivation to go on. And today Calypso is my dream come true.
So, if you have an idea: just go for it! And if working on that idea makes you happy, continue! … You might be on the right track!
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