Innovator Insights: Co-Founders of Monarq, Diana Murakhovskaya and Irene Ryabaya @socialmonarq
What happens when two professionals with 10 years of finance experience quit the bright lights of Wall Street, travel the world, mentor and start their own tech ventures? If you’re Diana Murakhovskaya and Irene Ryabaya you realize you can do more (because you’re get-sh*t-done types) and launch Monarq, a movement to connect women through awesome events like #SheHacksNYC and #MonarqMoguls Investor & Female Founders Dinners. Diana and Irene are also a member of Dreamers // Doers, a highly curated community of high-achieving trailblazing women who come together to support each other on their entrepreneurial paths. The community encompasses a diverse mix of female founders, women working at startups, and other female creators, change-makers, and influencers.
Me: Why are you an entrepreneur?
Diane and Irene: We love the fact that we can affect real change. In our opinion this ability to see holes in our world, needs going unfilled, problems going unsolved, and go “I am going to fix it!” is what defines an entrepreneur. We don’t sit on the sidelines and just complain that life sucks or something is difficult. Instead we jump in head first and do our part to make tomorrow better than today.
Me: What problem would you like solved?
Diane and Irene: We want to solve loneliness and isolation. In the world where every woman has Monarq on her phone she is never lonely. She is never bored on Saturday night or lonely in a new city or being hit on at a hotel bar at a conference because a new girlfriend is always at her fingertips. In the Monarq world each woman is empowered to try pursue her passions because she can always find a partner in crime or an experienced mentor who wants to share her knowledge in anything whether it’s learning to code, starting yoga or becoming a sommelier.
Me: Advice you’d wished you’d had or had followed?
Diane and Irene: Know enough to be dangerous in every aspect of your business but know when to hand the reigns over to an expert who is passionate about your mission. When we started Monarq we did a little bit of everything from accounting and development to design and social media. It was a fantastic learning experience, but it was not sustainable. As we grew, we met amazing people who wanted to share in the Monarq mission of connecting women and quickly we handed the tasks we were worst at over to the experts. Having done it all ourselves, it was easy to both appreciate their work and to communicate our needs clearly.
Me: What does success look like for you?
Diane and Irene: Creating a company and community from nothing, driven only by the desire to build something meaningful is what we consider success for 2015. We would consider it a triumph to grow the Monarq community exponentially and be able to positively affect the lives of millions of women around the world.
We’re also deeply proud of the the success of #SheHacksNYC (shehacksnyc.monarq.co), the all women hackathon we started this year. We’ve been able to make a real difference in the lives of women in tech in New York and are working to expand on its success and taking it to the national and global level. We want more women to have the opportunity to bring their ideas to life and work together to show the world what they can create in a very short time.
Me: Who are your heroes?
Diane and Irene: We try to stay away from the typical “idol/hero worship” that plagues our industry so our heroes are all the amazing women that we have met that are paving the way and sharing their stories, successes and struggles with us. We especially admire those early stage founders that are just taking that leap and going for it despite having been repeatedly told “NO”. Our heroes are this community of badass women has been incredibly supportive and has helped us every step of the way in our journey with Monarq.
Me: What is your best discovery?
Diane and Irene: Coming from the cutthroat world of finance and making the leap into the startup world was initially a scary proposition for us. So when we committed to building connections for women with Monarq we never expected to receive the amount of amazing support from a lot of great people. The other thing we discovered is that once you just start two things will happen: first you will start to see more holes in the world and come up with dozens of ideas for other businesses to work on and second you will start some of these on the side and they will become even bigger and more successful than the initial thing you set out to do. That commitment to your initial mission can create opportunities for connections and serendipity that take you to the next level.
Me: What would the title of your biography be?
Diane and Irene: Everyday is launch day.
Me: What is your biggest regret?
Diane and Irene: We do not dwell on mistakes and don’t think in terms of regrets. Founding a company and running a startup is an exceedingly difficult thing to do and is a very long game if done right. See every mistake for the learning opportunity it is and celebrate every victory, big or small with the people who helped you achieve it.
Me: Anything else we should know about?
Diane and Irene: Monarq is live and in the App store and we’d love for all the women out there to use it and tell us their thoughts. We’re also working on some exciting events in 2016 for women founders and techies that we will be revealing early next year.