Gen Z Leader: Lili Montes from Limon

8 min readApr 29, 2022


👋 Tell us a bit about yourself: how did you get started?

My entrepreneurial journey began when I was twelve years old, so I now have officially spent half of my life as a founder! At the time, I was a math tutor and babysitter and with all of the new responsibilities, found it difficult to keep track of my keys and cell phone. I gathered a few household gadgets to create my first invention, that is now called Catchy Kahootz, a cell phone charm to click on and off your keys.

At first I didn’t think much of it, but then hard times hit my family during the Great Recession and we lost our home. During this financial crisis, my parents could no longer afford for me to play my two favorite sports, soccer and volleyball. Determined to make it happen, I asked, “What if I make the money myself?” My parents agreed to let me give it a try. I noticed that people kept complimenting me and asking about the gadget for my keys and cell phone, so I thought this could be a great product to sell. Over the next few months I sold Catchy Kahootz at local boutiques and booths all around my suburban hometown of Livermore, California, and was finally able to pay my parents so that I could play both sports! This experience sparked my entrepreneurial spirit and I pursued Catchy Kahootz further and sold it around local boutiques and booths around town.

My business was beginning to gain traction, so much to the point where Shark Tank had asked me to audition! This was a pivotal moment because the audition process showed me how much I still needed to learn about being an entrepreneur if I wanted to scale my business to the next level. I realized that there was so much more to learn if I wanted to pursue this goal, so I decided to put Catchy Kahootz on hold, learn how to run a business in college, and then either pick up Catchy Kahootz again or start something new. Today I can proudly say that I did exactly what I set out to do. I attended UC Santa Barbara as a first-generation college graduate, and now I am pursuing my latest venture, Limon, and preparing for our day trip app to launch this summer!

👋 Our community is curious about all that you do: what do you do in your current role? What’s it like working at Limon? Walk us through a day in your life!

As the Co-Founder and CEO of Limon, an early-stage, pre-launch startup, no two days are the same and I wear many hats. A day in the life is best described as whatever our current goals as a startup are, so lately I have been focusing on pitching to potential investors, supporting our development team to prepare for our launch, and managing the marketing team as we have been building a community of day trippers on social media, blogs, and our email newsletters. With that being said, here is what a typical day looks like.

I wake up around 5:30 AM, make breakfast, watch the sunrise, and enjoy a cup of coffee. Then I workout almost every morning because the endorphins make me feel energized throughout the entire day. Next, I get ready for work! I have created a remote team since day one, but am also in the Wayfinder Incubator at UC Irvine, so I can go into an in-person workspace whenever I want. I decide to spend the first half of the day working from home. Before I work, I meditate for ten minutes to give myself the mental clarity I need before speeding into the fast-paced work day.

I begin working around 9:30 AM and start with emails. Since I have been pitching to many potential investors lately, my inbox has been full! Then I dive into managing our Content Marketing Intern team! Their work is asynchronous but I frequently check in with them to make sure everything is running smoothly, create the content calendar, and brainstorm marketing campaigns.

After this, I usually take a lunch break, and head to the Wayfinder Incubator around noon. Now it’s time to go into one of the reserved conference rooms, set up Zoom on the big screen, and present our pitch deck. Once we pitch (and hopefully secure the investment!) I head into the shared workspace and do the paperwork and email correspondence of pitching. The number of pitches varies from day to day.

There are usually several other meetings throughout the day as well. Sometimes it’s getting guidance from our Advisory Board, other times it may be meeting with other startup founders, or our own team members, like our Development or Content Marketing teams.

That usually wraps up the day! These past couple of weeks fundraising have been a mixture of hard work and long hours combined with lots of career fulfillment from getting to do what I love and blend my passions together in pursuit of creating an impact in the travel industry. This past year I have been building the foundation of a scalable startup but I am so ready for this next stage of putting my ideas into action and launching the app. It feels like we are at the beginning of a rollercoaster where we keep inching up and up, but now we’re at the tipping point and I’m ready for the thrill of the ride!

👋 How does your brand connect with their audience?

Limon is a community-driven day trip app, so we have been designing this experience from day one in preparation for our launch. Right now, we have been connecting with our audience through social media. We highlight the day trips of those in our community and encourage them to share their experiences, give them travel tips, and curate day trip itineraries that they can share and put their own twist on it. The next phase will be once our app launches this summer. We want to bridge the gap between our digital community and in person community.

👋 What is something you love about what you do? Any favorite projects you’ve worked on?

I love that Limon combines all of my past projects and passions into one startup! After pursuing Catchy Kahootz, I gained an interest in studio broadcasting and became an anchor for my high school’s news show. I also created my own segment on the show, called Hot Spot, where I would show everyone the best places to explore around Livermore. I was tired of hearing everyone complain about how there was nothing to do around Livermore, when in reality, there was so much to explore if they just looked around them! As high school came to a close, I thought it was fun while it lasted but didn’t think the idea would resurface again.

Once I began college at UC Santa Barbara, I got back into entrepreneurship immediately, and joined the co-ed entrepreneurship fraternity, Sigma Eta Pi. There was only around ten members at the time, so I had the opportunity to play a huge role in the organization, launching and scaling it similarly to how one would with a startup. I had an amazing experience there as External Vice President and founding our chapter’s alumni network, and it gave me the skillsets and network I needed to pursue my own startup.

Halfway through my time at UC Santa Barbara, I missed the Hot Spot videos I created and decided to make a YouTube channel for fun and revive my Hot Spot series around Santa Barbara since it was a much more exciting places filled with endless destinations to explore nestled between a picturesque coastline and lush mountains. That is when I enlisted the help of my brother and now Co-Founder, Ramon Montes.

At this point I was becoming business-minded, and if there was one thing I knew about startups is that your first idea is going to evolve into something else. With that being said, we decided to take that startup idea into UC Santa Barbara’s New Venture Competition in 2020 and after a few pivots, we became a road trip app.

After graduating from UCSB during the height of the pandemic, we noticed that the travel industry was transforming. The lines between work, life, and leisure are beginning to blur, and that’s when we saw an opportunity in the untapped day trip market and are now creating Limon.

Limon combines my passion for exploring the hidden gems all around you, creating a startup, and content creation, and I am am enjoying every minute of my entrepreneurial journey.

👋 If you could tell gen z one thing about making career moves, what would it be?

Make sacrifices while we are young so that you can take huge risks. If you knew that you would become wildly successful, what risks would you take? What would you sacrifice in order to make it happen? Your daily habits compound day in and day out to create your reality. If you envision yourself where you would like to be, you can reverse engineer what you would do to get there.

There are countless resources, mentorship opportunities, and free education available and I guarantee that everyone can identify one step that can take today, no matter how small, to get closer to their goal. One step will lead to the next, which will allow you to continue to expand your network and knowledge, and if you stick with this consistently, you will soon be on your way to doing what you set out to do.

👋 What is a superpower you know we have as a generation?

We are the first generation that is pioneering what it looks like to build a fully remote workforce from the ground up. We have an opportunity to change the way how we communicate, what skillsets we define to be important in this new era, and where we would like to see remote work evolve over the coming years.

👋 Here at Pineapple, we’re firm believers that we’re more than our work: we’d love to know one fun thing that gets you through the week?

Spending time by the ocean gets me through the week! Getting out into the sunshine, relaxing by the ocean waves with friends, or playing beach volleyball on the sand keeps me in the happiest state!

👋 Is there anything you’re manifesting this year?

Being fulfilled in all aspects of my life! It is so valuable to make sure you strike a balance in your social life, career path, and physical health. I make it a point to foster my friendships while also working on my career, making my mental health a priority, cooking nutritious food, and exercising frequently!

👋 Where can others find you?

@lili_montes @limondaytrips
TikTok: @lili_montes @limondaytrips
Twitter: @lili_montes_ @limondaytrips




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