In our latest Founder Feature, TBT are talking to Justas Janauskas, Lithuanian startup extraordinaire.
Justas Janauskas started his career as a software engineer, holding an MS and Bachelor’s in Computer Science from Vilniaus University. After coding and leading Vinted – the first unicorn in Lithuania – Justas is now the co-founder and CEO of Qoorio – a social learning network.
Learn more about Justsas’s entrepreneurial journey with Qoorio, in the interview below.
Q: Could you tell us about your company and what you’re striving to achieve?
A: Qoorio represents the next-generation of social media – an alternative to the existing platforms, where you stop wasting time and instead invest time in your personal growth.
For all the information available online, the best help still relies on conversations with people with real experience and knowledge to pass on. As such, Qoorio creates communities for people to come together, share their experiences and learn from each other.
With Qoorio, people can search through thousands of topics and individuals – whether you want to learn how to monetise your business idea, or how to improve your gardening skills – connect with other users, meet them for coffee, chat online or arrange a phone call as a way to learn from them, rather than just meaninglessly scrolling through news feeds.
Q: What keeps you up at night/what are you paranoid about?
A: In essence, we’re trying to build a platform that allows people to share what they know, learn from others and grow together. We’re still not there, and ‘how’ is the main question that keeps us up at night.
I’m proud to say that I have had no big fears or paranoia for some time. However, when I started Qoorio, I had different fears at different times: “Shall I really start this business?”, “What if the concept doesn’t stick?”, “Will I be able to find enough engineers to turn my vision into a reality?”, “What if I can’t raise investment quickly enough?”
In a nutshell, I’d say that these thoughts are all related to the fear of failure (even though at the time I would’ve never admitted it!). I think things become easier once you admit your fears. I took a step back and planned exactly what I needed to do next to make sure I didn’t fail.
Q: What is your plan to adapt if your industry is completely disrupted?
A: We are a young company, so there is not so much to adapt for us. We are here to disrupt.
Q: Do you see yourself as an underdog?
A: There are two sides to my answer: from a rational point of view, of course, every startup with a big vision statistically has little chance to win, and we are aware of that.
On the other hand, we know that real innovation always comes with hard work, a lot of experimentation, mental strength, and we all have it. Nobody knows what the future is – we can only create it, and we are working towards that.
Q: How many hours of sleep do you get and what is your morning/evening routine?
A: I usually sleep for 8 hours. In the morning, I have a small coffee ritual with my wife, we discuss our plans for the upcoming days, agree on a food menu (we usually cook at home), and then we walk our two dogs, usually for an hour.
I start work at 9 am and finish at around 6 pm. Reading, cooking, and relaxing with my friends and family is where I spend most of my time outside work.
Q: How do you manage the duality between driving new business and overseeing daily operations?
A: I am very bad at doing both – especially operational work. That’s why I have a team that I can trust to oversee operations. I spend most of my time converting unclarity to clarity, planning the future bets of the business, and motivating the team.
Q: What are your goals over the next 12 months?
A: Businesswise we have one main goal – to figure out the growth model for Qoorio. This requires a lot of design, product, engineering, marketing experience mixed with a good amount of creativity.
Q: Can you tell us who your mentors and heroes are, and what impact they’ve had on you?
A: The people who are closest to me are my mentors and heroes: my colleagues, my wife, my friends. I choose them very carefully (and so do they). As humans, we become similar to those around us (whether we want that or not). Therefore, these people are the ones who make the most impact on the way we live, the way we think and the way we learn.
Q: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to budding innovators taking the same journey?
A: Innovating is about building or figuring out something that does not exist yet. It’s about creating a future. However, nobody knows what the future will be, and innovators have to deal with a lot of uncertainty and many things that are out of their control.
Therefore, my advice is to never forget the vision, why you embarked on this journey and focus on the aspects that you actually have control of. For example, your wellbeing (sleep well, eat healthy, exercise), and things you can actually do to get closer to where you want to be.
Learn more about Qoorio, the social learning app that empowers entrepreneurial spirit. Visit their website: Qoorio.app