The Reality of Launching a Business: Startup Founder Stories

Speakers: Jānis Volbergs (Zoomcharts), Jānis Strods (Edurio), Sigvards Krongorns (CastPrint), Marina Petrakova (VREACH).

Moderator: Anna Andersone (Riga Tech Girls)

What skills does it take to become an entrepreneur? What are the first steps to be taken, and what are the most common challenges met by young entrepreneurs along the way? A discussion among three startup-founders on the truth behind launching a business.

Jānis Volbergs is Co-Founder and CEO of ZoomCharts, with 10+ years of business management and 20+ years of software engineering experience. He holds a degree in business management from the Stockholm School of Economics (SSE Riga) and has been working in the IT field since the age of 16, and has mastered programming since age of 12. Initially, ZoomCharts invited Janis to join as a co-founder with primary focus on e-commerce platform architecture's design and implementation. After the first seed round and initial results, Janis was promoted to CEO position. In Janis leadership, company now has grown to 30+ employees, onboarded 1000+ customers from 100+ countries and is working with profit.

Jānis Strods is the co-founder of the new company "Edurio". Edurio helps schools interview teachers, students and parents to take better care of them. The product is currently used by more than 1,500 schools and pre-schools in the UK and throughout Latvia. Jānis has experience in the field of education - he has worked both as a teacher of the “Iespējamā Misija” project at Ikšķile Secondary School, and as a lecturer and researcher at RSU and the University College of London. The idea for Edurio came to Jānis and the other co-founder of the company Ernests Jenava during the time of their studies.

Sigvards Krongorns is the co-founder of "Cast Print" - a medical technology company that offers its customers 3D printer-printed fasteners that offer a customized, "breathable" and waterproof solution in the event of a fracture. The founders of the company Sigvards Krongorns and Jānis Oliņš used to work in an audit company and they had no experience in the medical industry, until 2016, both of them had an idea that there is a need for a more modern and innovative way to treat fractures.

Marina Petrakova is the co-founder and manager of the new company “VREACH”, Forbes 30-30, co-founder of Riga TechGirls, IT mentor and ambassador, co-founder of UX / UI Riga. At the same time, she has worked in the health sector as a certified audiologist and in the IT industry in various roles, from user experience research specialist to project manager, while joining the mission within Riga TechGirls, creating initiatives and events to educate and inspire women in technology. Marina's co-founded VREACH demonstrates an innovative approach based on virtual reality technologies that help healthcare professionals streamline their work, as well as provide inclusive and data-based cognitive rehabilitation for children with a variety of disabilities, including autism spectrum disorders.

Anna Andersone is a woman with a strong creation gene. She has been working in the field of start-ups for a long time, is the creator of FROONT, Berta, THE MILL and Riga TechGirls. Anna's most recent project is the BE WITH brand - a clothing line that strengthens partnerships, brings people together and allows them to give and receive the much-needed dose of hugs every day (because every person needs at least eight hugs per day for well-being and at least four - just to survive). Anna is a mother of three.