Yupp is a non-anonymous live feed of what interesting people are saying around you. The HIGHLINE portfolio company was founded by Neven Zeremski, a serial entrepreneur and summa cum laude graduate from the Schulich School of Business at York University. Neven began his career in finance as a fixed income trader at CIBC World Markets. He then went on to found several companies, including Petaboo, a social e-commerce company focused on the pet industry, which was acquired less than a year after launching.
Q&A With Neven Zeremski
What’s the most exciting part about building Yupp?
The most exciting part is seeing people sign up and interact with what you’ve built. It makes you feel like you made a difference, you created something, you took nothing and turned it to something that hopefully makes an impact and people use.
If you could go back knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?
If we could go back now, I would have taken a different approach to building products, especially for mobile. While MVPs have been touted and supported for a long time, I don’t find the same principle true for mobile, especially iOS. People are used to these magical apps that are no short of art, so if you put something out there that isn’t fancy but just does the job, it won’t resonate well with the users. For that reason, most apps we built took 3-4 months to perfect all the animations, transitions, features, etc.
Unfortunately, until you launch and get a decent sample size of users you don’t know what users will actually like or find useful. So if I could go back, I would start with an MPP — a minimum perfect product — meaning you build something tiny, something extremely basic but perfect, launch it and see if it’s something people actually want to use. Case in point, the app Yo.
Startup life can come with highs and lows. How do you motivate yourself in tough times?
Startup life can be lonely, stressful, gruelling but also extremely rewarding. I think the best way to motivate yourself in hard times is to focus on today and plan for tomorrow, but don’t worry about tomorrow. Knowing you do your best and move at least one step forward each day should keep you from stressing out and burning out.
What other companies or founders inspire you?
I think Elon Musk has to be my most inspirational founder. Not only has he built several billion dollar companies (including Tesla) but what inspires me most is his inclination to take risks. Both Tesla and SpaceX were on the verge of collapse and he was basically bankrupt himself, but he managed to pull through and create some of the most revolutionary companies of the 21st century.
How would you describe the LA startup ecosystem? Why did you choose to move there?
The startup eco-system is booming in LA. Given the success of companies like Snapchat, The Honest Co, and Dollar Shave Club, Silicon Beach is the #2 place in the world for building startups. The cost of doing business is cheaper, the lifestyle is better, which makes recruiting easier, and we have some of the top technical schools in the country within a 30 mile radius. Not to mention it’s the media centre of the world: what takes off here resonates throughout the world.