Having a family and starting your own business? It is not impossible!

Ajda Mrzel Kaluza is a mother, a former banker and now she turned to the startup world. After working in a bank for more than a decade, she founded Arvio — a software company that develops tools for real estate professionals, banks, insurance companies,… and other people who are interested in the real estate market.
Their software can automatically determine the value of the real estate, its appropriateness for collateral generates a short report, or just automatically collects information for an expert to review.

1. Ajda what were your first steps to building Arvio?

Arvio was founded in 2018 and at first, the idea was rather grand: to develop a product that completely automates the mortgage approval process. It seemed like something we could do and I still believe we will get there… eventually. In the meantime, we had to pivot, and pivot again and then endure. We got funding from Slovenia Enterprenurship Found, but most of the development was founded by our savings and bootstrapping.

2. What was the hardest and best part of building the startup?

The hardest part is to keep trying when the people you talk to about the idea do not share your vision of the future. Remember, if the idea is obvious and easy to implement someone else would have done it by now.

3. What about your plans and vision for the future?

I see the future, but it keeps changing but it involves Christmas with my kids and husband and a large business deal in 2021.

4. Who do you ask, when you need advice?

First on the list is my partner. And I do work with advisors that have helped me with the startup. We have an amazing startup ecosystem in Slovenia — ABC Accelerator, Tovarna podjemov Maribor, and several big corporations that are open to working with a startup, for example, Nova KBM and Zavarovalnica Sava.

5. Do you have any recommendations (books or podcasts) for founders? Share with us!

One of the recent books I have read about startups is The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers (by Ben Horowitz). The book tells it like it is — no sugarcoating.

6. Do you have any message or advice for females in our region who want to build their company?

I think it is a lot easier if you “step out of the office” and connect with like-minded people. The startup support network is a great place to find your mentors, polish your ideas, and boost morale — we all need that from time to time.

Thank you very much, Ajda for the answers and good luck in the future!

LUMUS is an investment club that provides education and facilitates high-potential investment opportunities in the CEE region. https://linktr.ee/LUMUSinvestment

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