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It's not unusual for founders to hit a wall. Stefan Manku founded Talk to Stefan, a coaching service to help founders get back on track.
We talked to Oana Jinga, the Chief Commercial Officer and co-founder of Dexory, a robotics tech company. Oana speaks candidly about the challenges of being a female founder in the tech space, and why determination is the most important quality of a startup founder.
Our journey started with a casual chat at a summer barbecue in 2015 among my then-housemates, now co-founders.
We wanted to improve our house security while we were away, which sparked the concept of creating an indoor autonomous data-capturing robot. This idea naturally developed into today’s robots at Dexory, focusing on logistics and supply chain use cases.
We wanted to help the industry have better visibility of their stock inventory, optimise their spaces, and help an industry hit by a myriad of challenges during Covid to bounce back strongly.
Our pioneer cutting-edge autonomous robots with integrated digital twin technology are doing just that, enabling our clients to increase productivity, reduce costs, and boost profitability throughout their warehouses.
Co-founders Andrei Danescu and Oana Jinga and Adrian Negoita.
Like any startup, there have been plenty of setbacks!
One of the reasons we pivoted to B2B robots for logistics was a lessening need for home and retail robots, as the pandemic impacted in-person shopping and sent customers online. This was a learning curve on how to adjust to the market conditions.
As a female founder in tech without a formal tech background, asserting myself and proving credibility has at times been a challenge.
Now, I love the space I inhabit.
But as our product offering took shape and we could see the transformative impact it could have on the market I grew in confidence, and now love the space I inhabit as the Commercial and Product Officer of a robotics company.
Building our stellar team was pivotal. Everyone has bought into our values of hard work and dedication, and the growth has been astronomical - we’ve gone from a team of 30 to over 100 in less than a year!
Our amazing people have been instrumental in building our teams across multiple locations, keeping an inclusive and inspiring work environment no matter where we’re working.
Frequent company-wide meetings ensure everyone is on the same page and create an environment where questions are encouraged and creative ideas are allowed to flourish. Regular away days help teams that might not see much of each other to buy into the bigger picture and gel as a group.
Our original strategy to focus on the consumer retail market was waylaid by the pandemic, but my co-founders and I pivoted swiftly and successfully to robots for warehouses, and we haven’t looked back.
Some of the technology could remain the same, such as the scanners and the basic automation system, but we had to embrace a whole new set of challenges very quickly in order to capitalise on the market opportunity, which was exciting and taxing in equal measures.
Andrei, Adrian, and I were quite clear from the beginning that we wanted to surround ourselves with experts who could guide us through the different aspects of our business, market, and technology.
We believe in learning from those we admire and aspire to be like. We are huge advocates of the saying:
Never take advice from someone who you wouldn't want to trade places with.
Our mentors have been incredible, helping us build our initial financial models and brainstorming strategies for pricing and organisational structure. Getting outside perspectives has been a game-changer for us, ensuring we don’t lose sight of the bigger picture.
We constantly assess our advisers as our business develops since we know that some of them have specialised knowledge in particular fields. Many of our mentors have even evolved into angel investors, supporting us every step of the way.
My advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to cultivate resilience and determination.
Believing in your vision and making it your life’s work is vital.
Though challenging, every hurdle strengthens your resolve, propelling you forward in the unpredictable startup world. Hard work has got us to where we are today, and it’s an ethos we’ve tried to instil throughout our company.
In a competitive field like ours, what really sets Dexory apart is our unique proposition. We’ve got two key elements that make us stand out.
First, our tallest autonomous robot in the business, at almost 13 metres tall. These robots totally transform the way data is captured in warehouses. They make sure the information collected is spot-on and efficient.
Second, our DexoryView digital twin platform. It’s not just about analysing data, it’s way more than that. This platform dives deep into comparing different systems and visualising insights.
Dexory is the only company worldwide that seamlessly combines these two vital elements. Our agility, creativity, and continuous innovation all contribute considerably to retaining our market leadership.
I’d love to meet Marie Curie - her determination in the face of obstacles is incredibly inspiring. She was a pioneer and never took no for an answer. She kept pushing despite having people standing in her way.
I would ask her, “Did you ever expect the impact your work had on the world? Are there things you’d have done differently?”
Henry Ford. I’d pick his brain on how to think beyond the status quo and bring in groundbreaking tech that blows people’s minds - “If I’d asked people what they want they would have said faster horses”.
You know, someone way ahead of its time like Ford was, like no one had ever seen before!
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