Last year, I took my startup, Eislee, through the Social New Venture Challenge (SNVC )– a track of the New Venture Challenge with a focus on launching social enterprises. With the 2016 SNVC under way, I wanted to spotlight one of the amazing teams in this year’s competition.
The following is a guest blog post by Lavinia Popinceanu, a second year Booth student and founder/CEO of i4Spy…
Throughout the decade spent on the corporate side in business development and start-up investing, I felt that my journey would eventually lead down the entrepreneurship path. While I considered myself ready for the challenge, I did not want to force an idea out the door just for the sake of acting on this feeling. I knew that the right idea would come about at just the right time. As it turns out, a less than fortunate personal experience led me to gaining insight into an underserved market with a lot of potential for growth, and a strong social mission.
i4Spy is the cybersecurity solution that enables consumers to identify, neutralize and protect against cyber-stalking and espionage applications, allowing the user to regain or maintain control over her or his devices, ultimately enforcing privacy and security of data, communications and personal safety. Our solution, while initially aimed at helping vulnerable individuals such as women who are in or are ending abusive partnerships, is effectively applicable to the broader smartphone and web consumer market.
The biggest return on investment for me is the fact that I can create and shape everything in my immediate surroundings, be it the product itself, or the less tangible company culture we are shaping, hoping that it will carry over into making a significant impact on our customers and their lives.
The best part is that I can now choose which people I am interacting with. All of the insights and resources, whether on the business or venture side that we have had access to thus far, would have not been possible without the tremendous support i4Spy and I have received through Chicago Booth and the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship. We have wonderful advisors, both faculty and entrepreneurs, who have guided us along the way and who will be taking the journey with us for the long term. And isn’t that the most beautiful thing, to only surround yourself with the people that matter? It is very rare that one gets that kind of freedom otherwise. – Lavinia Popinceanu