YC Startup School Radio: Bellabeat's Urska Srsen On Not Overthinking It At The Beginning


In the eighth episode of YC's Startup School Radio, our host Aaron Harris first sat down with YC partner Kat Mañalac to talk about her work heading up Y Combinator's outreach efforts, and how she goes about seeking out great founders and companies all over the world. In the second portion of the episode, both Kat and Aaron talked to Urska Srsen, the co-founder and CEO of Bellabeat, the YC W14 company that has built a hardware and software platform delivering quantified self for pregnancy and women's health.

You can listen to the full hour-long episode on SoundCloud here or on iTunes here, and read the full transcript on Genius here.

One interesting part of Urska's interview was when she was describing the inception of Bellabeat, and how she and her co-founder Sandro Mur thought of it as more of an idea and a project than a company -- and how that helped a lot in setting it up for success:

Urska: So the idea basically just came very spontaneously. I studied fine art and sculpture before, so I was in no way thinking that I'm going to start a business or work anything related to probably tech... so it just came as a coincidence. We started to work on this project of remote patient monitoring system back in Europe, in Croatia.

Aaron: Sorry, I've got to interrupt. How did you happen to be working on the problem of remote patient monitoring?

Urska: It just happened over a family lunch. So my mom is a gynecologist and obstetrician and Sandro, my co-founder is a software engineer. So they started talking about these problems in healthcare systems in Europe, and how remote patient monitoring has been a subject that has been talked about a lot but nothing has been done. So we were like, 'Yeah, maybe we can just do it.' It was very naïve. And basically, I got involved as a designer for interfaces and medical data visualizations, and then we just kicked it out. We started working on this project and we didn't even know what direction this was going.

We didn't even think of it, that this is going to develop into a company. It was just like, 'We want to do this thing that is going to solve problems in healthcare, that is going to start reducing costs.' We just didn't think that this was going to turn into a business eventually.

Aaron: Right. It's funny, I think a lot of the best companies, or certainly a lot of great companies, started out as, 'We don't know if this is a business,' right? And then the business grows out of it.

Kat: You're just solving a problem for a lot of people.

Aaron: Right.

Urska: Exactly. Then you're not very burdened with it, you're not thinking so much about, 'How are we going to make money out of it' or 'How are we going to position ourselves on the market?' You're just focused on the product. And I think that's very good, especially in the start, when you can easily get just freaked out by everything if you start overthinking things.