In today’s Her Business Story, we meet Anne-Laure who co-founded Lysa.
Tell us more about your business Lysa
Lysa is a smart nutrition coach. She adapts to your lifestyle, and helps you eat better and be healthier, without having to follow a restrictive diet or any meal plan. She’s both a nutritionist and a best friend, right in your pocket.
Is this your first company?
It’s my first company. I was previously working at Google, managing global marketing for our digital health products, including Google Fit and Android Wear. We’re a team of three people: Jay, our CTO, Katarina, our Head of Nutrition, and myself.
What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
Many of us have a complex relationship with food. My grandma is diabetic, my mom is pre-diabetic, and they have to follow a strict diet to manage their health. I’ve struggled myself with silly, restrictive and unnecessary diets. There’s so much pressure from society to look healthy, but very few people focus on how you feel and how healthy food fits into your daily life. I wanted to be one of those few people.
What has been your scariest moment as an entrepreneur?
My scariest moment was probably the day I announced to my team at Google I was leaving the company! There was no going back. It felt incredibly terrifying, exciting, and liberating, all at the same time. I know there are going to be many more scary moments down the road, but the feeling of excitement I have every morning when I wake up makes it all worth it.
What has been your proudest moment?
My proudest moment was when Jay, my incredibly talented technical co-founder, officially offered to join the team. I couldn’t believe my luck to have such an amazing partner embark on this adventure with me! A few of my friends then pointed out that I shouldn’t feel lucky. I should have felt proud, because he would have never joined if he was not convinced both by the product idea, and my ability to support him and the team. I now try to not think of events in terms of good luck, bad luck, or serendipity, and to appraise them in an honest way, so I can feel good about what I did well, or learn from my mistakes.
What does success mean to you?
The meaning of the word “success” has been distorted in the past few years. The original meaning is “positive outcome.” To me, success means having a positive impact, how big or how small. Success means that the world is a slightly better place because you’re in it. Success doesn’t have to be founding a multi-million dollars company. Any time you’re helping someone, making a friend smile, or contributing to a cause, you’re being a successful human being.
Has a mistake ever led you to success?
Right after I left Google, I was approached for a C-level role in a big company. I was in the middle of moving from a continent to another, planning a trip to Tanzania to climb Kilimanjaro (my idea of “taking a break between jobs”!), and my life was generally a mess at the time. The first couple of interviews went well, but I didn’t prepare for the last one, which went terribly wrong. I didn’t get the job, and I’m so grateful. The job was such a great career opportunity – in the traditional sense – that I might have accepted the offer, which would have distracted me from the very reason why I left Google: to start my own company.
Which women inspire you?
I’m grateful for my previous managers at Google, Amy Brown, Feng Xu, and Nishma Robb, who gave me the tools and the courage to always do what feels right, both in my personal and in my professional life. Other women I admire include my friend Joséphine Goube, the CEO of Techfugees, who’s helping displaced people through technology, and Michelle Hua and Marija Butkovic, two talented women who have built a strong and supportive community of women in the wearable industry.
What’s the best piece of business advice someone has ever given you?
Always be transparent. This applies to your colleagues, your users and customers, and yourself. Transparency is always the best policy. It will allow you to gather valuable feedback, to iterate faster, and to learn from your mistakes.