Sidekick Sports is a sports mobile app with the primary intention of security. Kapitolina realized that finding a compatible sports partner was a problem, especially if you travel often. She created the first mobile app that helps people find a matching sports partner based on skill, location, sport and events.
Kapitolina also founded New Women in Leadership when she realized that many modern programs for women in leadership were not relevant enough. NWL is an AI-powered International Online community which provides everything a woman needs to start leading in her life: education, mentorship, Community resources, network of support, Organised community activities, curated and branded products
Can you briefly introduce yourself and describe your journey as an entrepreneur? What made you take the plunge into entrepreneurship and what have been some of the major milestones along the way?
My name is Kapitolina, I am the CEO and founder of Sidekick and NWL. I was born in Ukraine, but in the last 8 years I have lived and worked in different countries such as the USA, Czech Republic, Georgia, UAE and now Germany. My passion for innovation and desire to make a tangible impact led me to entrepreneurship.
The first milestone was identifying a gap in the market and developing a unique solution to address it.
Another milestone was securing initial funding and assembling a talented team. Over time, scaling the company, entering into strategic partnerships, and achieving significant customer growth were key milestones.
Each step strengthened my entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to creating a successful venture. I founded New Women in Leadership when I realized that many modern programs for women in leadership were not relevant to me, my friends, and many women from other countries who wanted to learn leadership in a more personal way, not as corporate and politicized as it often is.
We created an international, cross-cultural community focused on bringing in principles of authentic women leadership based on a deep understanding of true feminine nature. The same thing happened with Sidekick. I realized that finding a compatible sports partner was a problem, especially if you travel often. We created the first mobile app that helps people find a sports partner based on skill, location, sport and events. I am CEO and founder of Sidekick and NWL.
Looking back on your entrepreneurial career, what are the three most important lessons you have learned that you think every aspiring entrepreneur should know?
My top 3 lessons would be:
1. Embrace failure: learn from setbacks and use them as opportunities for growth. Failure is an inevitable part of entrepreneurship, but it can lead to valuable insights and resilience.
2. Adaptability is key: The business landscape is constantly evolving. Stay flexible, be willing to pivot, and embrace change. Adaptability allows entrepreneurs to seize emerging opportunities and stay ahead of the competition.
3. Build a strong network: Surround yourself with supportive mentors, advisors and like-minded individuals. Networks open doors to valuable partnerships, knowledge sharing and potential investors. Cultivate relationships that can help you navigate challenges and advance your entrepreneurial journey.
Failure is an inevitable part of entrepreneurship, but it can lead to valuable insights and resilience.
Starting a business often means taking risks. How do you assess and manage risks in your ventures, and what advice do you have for entrepreneurs to deal with uncertainty?
To assess and manage risk, we always conduct a thorough risk assessment by identifying potential threats, evaluating their likelihood and potential impact, and developing mitigation strategies. We also create a risk management plan that includes regular monitoring, contingency plans and clear communication channels. In addressing uncertainties, entrepreneurs should embrace flexibility, adaptability and a proactive mindset.
Consulting with experienced mentors, conducting market research and following industry trends can also help make informed decisions and minimize risks.
Building a strong network is critical for entrepreneurs. What strategies have you used throughout your career to build meaningful connections and partnerships? How has networking contributed to your success?
Throughout my career, I have focused on building meaningful connections and partnerships using several strategies.
First, I emphasize active listening and genuine engagement to understand the needs and perspectives of others.
Second, I actively participate in industry events, conferences and online communities to expand my network.
Finally, I value relationship building and regularly interact with my contacts, offering support and seeking opportunities for collaboration.
Networking has been instrumental in my success by providing valuable insight, opening doors to new opportunities, and fostering mutual growth.
One of the challenges many entrepreneurs face is finding the right balance between innovation and market demand. How do you approach this balance and what steps do you take to ensure your products/services meet market needs?
Finding the right balance between innovation and market demand is critical for entrepreneurs. I approach this balance by conducting thorough market research to understand customer needs and trends. I gather feedback from potential customers, conduct surveys, and analyze competitors’ offerings. This information helps me design my products/services to meet market needs.
I conduct thorough market research to understand customer needs and trends.
By regularly monitoring market dynamics and remaining adaptable, allows me to incorporate innovative ideas while ensuring that my offerings meet the needs of the target market.
Scaling a business requires effective leadership and team management. What leadership qualities do you think are essential to leading a successful team, and how do you foster a positive work culture in your company?
Essential leadership qualities for leading a successful team include clear communication, strong decision-making skills, and the ability to inspire and motivate others. Fostering a positive work culture includes creating an environment of trust, collaboration and open communication. Recognizing and appreciating team members’ contributions, providing growth opportunities, and promoting work-life balance are critical. Regular feedback, effective conflict resolution and leading by example also contribute to a positive work culture and promote productivity and long-term success.
In your experience, what are the most effective marketing and branding strategies for early-stage startups? How can entrepreneurs make the most of their limited resources to increase awareness and attract customers?
Effective marketing and branding strategies for early-stage startups include a combination of targeted digital advertising, social media engagement, and content marketing. Entrepreneurs can maximize their limited resources by focusing on specific target markets, leveraging partnerships with influencers, utilizing free or low-cost social media platforms, and creating compelling content that can be shared.
Building strong customer relationships, encouraging word-of-mouth referrals, and leveraging customer testimonials can also help generate visibility and attract customers organically. A consistent brand image and storytelling can further enhance appeal to the target audience.
Building strong customer relationships, encouraging word-of-mouth referrals, and leveraging customer testimonials help generate visibility and attract customers organically.
Financial management is critical to a company’s sustainability and growth. What financial practices or strategies have proven most useful to you in managing cash flow, securing funding, and making sound financial decisions?
Effective financial practices for managing cash flow, securing funding, and making sound financial decisions include maintaining accurate and up-to-date financial records, creating and adhering to a realistic budget, implementing cash flow forecasting, actively managing accounts receivable and accounts payable, diversifying funding sources, exploring strategic partnerships, conducting thorough financial analysis, performing risk assessments, and staying informed about market trends and industry benchmarks.
These strategies help ensure sufficient liquidity, attract investment, and enable sound financial decisions for a company’s long-term sustainability and growth.
Many entrepreneurs experience setbacks and failures along the way. Can you give us a specific example where you faced a major challenge or failure and how you overcame it? What lessons did you learn from that experience?
On my journey as an entrepreneur, I faced a major setback when a key investor unexpectedly withdrew its funding, jeopardizing the future of my startup. It was a challenging situation, but I learned the importance of adaptability and resilience. I quickly reassessed our financial strategy, sought alternative sources of funding, and pivoted our business model. This experience taught me to diversify funding options, maintain strong relationships with investors, and always have contingency plans in place to overcome unforeseen obstacles.
Diversify funding options, maintain strong relationships with investors, and always have contingency plans in place to overcome unforeseen obstacles.
As an experienced entrepreneur, what advice would you give to someone just starting their entrepreneurial journey? What are the key factors or habits that contribute to long-term success in the business world?
My advice to someone starting their entrepreneurial journey would be to focus on three key factors for long-term success.
First, cultivate a strong work ethic and perseverance because entrepreneurship requires dedication and resilience.
Second, prioritize continuous learning and adaptability, and stay current on industry trends and changing customer needs.
Finally, build a trusted network of mentors, partners and supporters who can guide and support you along the way.
These factors, combined with passion and strategic decision-making, can contribute significantly to long-term success in the business world.
Technology and digital transformation have revolutionized several industries. How have you used technology in your business and what new trends do you think entrepreneurs should keep an eye on in the coming years?
In our business, we have used technology to streamline operations, increase productivity, and improve the customer experience. We have used cloud computing for scalability and flexibility, implemented data analytics to make informed decisions, and used automation to streamline processes.
As for emerging trends, entrepreneurs should keep an eye on artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, advances in cybersecurity, the Internet of Things (IoT) and immersive technologies such as virtual and augmented reality. These trends have the potential to reshape industries and create new opportunities for growth and innovation.
Entrepreneurs should keep an eye on AI, blockchain technology, cybersecurity, Internet of Things (IoT) and virtual and augmented reality.
Finally, could you tell us about any recommended resources such as books, websites or communities that have been useful to you as an entrepreneur? How do you keep up with industry trends and continue to learn and evolve?
As an entrepreneur, I have found the following resources invaluable: “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries and “Zero to One” by Peter Thiel. Websites such as Entrepreneur.com and Harvard Business Review offer insightful articles. I am part of many group chats where we discuss new trends and technologies and share interesting information, such as channels on Telegram and WhatsApp
Networking is very important, I learn a lot from people. To stay up to date I follow industry specific blogs, subscribe to newsletters and attend relevant forums, conferences, webinars and other events. Continuous learning is crucial, so I also use online learning platforms and continue my education offline.
Kapitolina was one of this year’s Pirate Summit atendees! Were we had the opportunity to hear one of the most innovative and inspiring minds in business, tech, and beyond. 🚀
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