Interview with a career change mum - Chryssa Tsouraki, in VR
In day 3 of my series I am really excited to interview Chryssa Tsouraki (MBA) who is the co-founder of in-VR, the first VR platform for conventions. She has built the most successful portfolio of Oil&Gas events in Europe, and has worked with more than 30 different international Governments promoting their hydrocarbon projects.
This is how she fell in love with Beirut, Buenos Aires and Marrakech. She is an Entrepreneur First alumni. She loves tech, politics, and foreign languages; she speaks five and thinks they're not enough. She has two adopted cats that she adores. She was also co-founder of SuitsMe, an AI stylist.
1. What gave you the idea to start up your business?
My partner and I have very different backgrounds. He is tech lead and I have 5-years’ experience in conferences and conventions. We are both very tech-focused, and had already been building a different idea within the fashion tech industry. We have been looking into VR for quite a long time until we came up with our current business idea; building the first VR platform to host conventions in.
There are millions wasted on expenses associated with attending an event; travel, accommodation, building and renting a booth etc. Conventional exhibitions are also quite limited when it comes to what you can showcase and how, however within VR, you can recreate any experience you want to offer to your customer to match the real deal!
2. What did you do to prepare to start up your business?
As this is our second venture together, we first went to Entrepreneur First to educate ourselves and become better founders. It was life-changing! Funnily enough, I found out I was pregnant first month in the 6-month-super-intense-male-packed programme. It was a real shock, but we made the choice to continue with both our…ventures; the company and the baby.
We decided not to tell anyone in the programme, mainly because I didn't want to be considered as a "weak" founder by my peers and EF. I had a very difficult pregnancy with four full months of extreme nausea. It was very difficult to balance midwife appointments, investor meetings and check-ups, building the business and scaling it.
The worst part was the meetings - I would always have to visit the bathroom before or during every single important meeting to throw up.
However, we pulled through until the very last day of the programme, where we presented at Facebook's Headquarters and we did really well. I am very proud of us, and thank God, my partner is an amazing one!
3. Which aspects of your business did you need help with? Where did you get that help?
I think starting it per se; it’s difficult to come up with an idea, prove that it's a great one, de-risk it, and then scale it and/or get investment.
Getting investment and clients is always a tough one.
4. Describe what your business does and who you target it at / your ideal client
We are building the first VR convention platform, and our first event is in-VR Gaming. We have received incredible media attention, we have over 600 people registered in just three weeks of no-marketing-at-all and we are currently on-boarding exhibitors and sponsors. We will then move to other industries that need a better platform to showcase their businesses or products, such as Defence, Construction, Oil& Gas, etc.
5. What is the most rewarding thing about having your own business?
The flexibility. I love working from home or cafes, wake up whenever I want, and work at my own pace. Being your own boss is way more stressful, but I wouldn't have it any other way!
6. What has been the biggest challenge?
Building a network from scratch. Thankfully, London offers incredible channels to tap into, as long as you are looking hard to identify them!
Being an immigrant has its downsides, as your network is probably tiny, but there are great ways to expand it, and people are always in the lookout for business hangouts!
Raising money is also a huge challenge, especially for women.
7. If you could go back and give yourself some advice what would it be?
Don't waste any time overthinking.
To find out more about Chryssa check out her website and social links here: