We are delighted to announce this week’s Inspirational Woman in Business: Founder and CEO of Koru Kids, Rachel Carrell. Koru Kids is a childcare technology platform which connects families with nannies and childcare services and just last year, Rachel inspired many of us in raising £3.5m whilst being heavily pregnant. She won the Best Business Woman in Technology award in 2017, and continues to champion women in business, as well as being an angel investor in a number of exciting start-ups.
1. Best piece of advice you’ve been given?
A piece of advice I loved, and find myself repeating to others, is: ‘Don’t lose twice’. What it means is, if something goes against you, don’t get sucked into a negative vibe that means you continue to lose when you don’t need to. Like if someone pushes you rudely on your way to a meeting, don’t get so annoyed and distracted that you lose the ten minutes of prep time you need to get in the right headspace for the meeting. Or if someone wastes 30 minutes of your time keeping you waiting, don’t be so grumpy when they finally turn up that you then don’t achieve whatever you came to do. Or if you are forced to concede something in a negotiation, don’t do it with bad grace. Lose once, not twice. Start-ups face so many setbacks and false starts, you can’t fixate on things that go wrong. It’s saying, ‘get over it’, basically.
2. Worst piece of advice you’ve been given?
Right at the very start of Koru Kids, someone experienced in start-ups told me very seriously that I should start off by making a chat bot, as if the main problem to solve in childcare was that it was annoying to type in a form. Unfortunately, the problems in childcare are far deeper and more complicated than this, and we did not make a chat bot.
3. What would you tell your younger self?
Study computer science at university. I actually did start off at university studying computer science, doing one paper extramurally when I was in high school, but for some reason, even though I really enjoyed it, I went on to do an arts degree.
4. What excites you most about the future of your industry?
I am so excited about the potential of tech to transform the way parents experience childcare. Childcare is in the dark ages in terms of how families access it. It’s incredibly expensive, it’s very hard to find good quality, it’s not resilient – you’re one phone call away from disaster. We’re trying to change all that. A proper managed system, built on modern technology, can totally change the lives of families.
5. Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand