Did you enjoy last week’s #WomenCrushWednesdays with Rajia Abdelaziz? So did we! Good news: we’ve got more where that came from (way more).
Up next? The inspiring Anne-Fleur Andrle! We can’t wait for you to meet her.
Describe your business. What is its main goal/function?
Anne-Fleur: Jack and Ferdi is the first-ever bleisure app ( business + leisure travel). It offers experiences to help business travelers uncover the cultural heritage of local communities while enabling them to have a positive impact for themselves, their families, and the communities they visit. We dedicate our efforts to making business travel healthier, truly rooted culturally, and more socially responsible. Our three universes include “explore”, “feel good”, and “work.”
In the “explore” section, we highlight truly authentic and local experiences (uniques places to see, typical dishes or drinks to discover, authentic souvenirs to bring back home and iconic views of the cities); in the “feel good” one, we offer what we call “sounds of the city” (i.e. curated local playlists) as well as walk and jog itineraries through iconic routes of the city.
Finally, in the “work” section, we provide you with pretty much anything you may need to conduct a successful business trip — which is after all the primary reason for business travel! So we offer cultural business etiquette do’s and don’ts, as well as recommend work and meeting spaces (from singular coffee shops to exciting co-working spaces). All of our suggestions are truly authentic and vetted by a network of ambassadors around the world.
We have 80 cities on 5 continents. Our users are able to fill out preferences and provide feedback on our suggestions for our algorithm to get smarter and tailor suggestions to needs, constraints and personality. On top of that, in our company’s DNA is the community give back component, and everything we do as a company as well as in the app relates to this ambition.
Why did you decide to become a female founder? What inspired you to start your business?
Anne-Fleur: If I am being very honest, I never considered that becoming a female founder was an end to anything, it was just the mean to make my dream happen. I created this business which ultimately made me a female founder.
I started working on Jack and Ferdi to fix my own problem! Becoming a female founder kind of happened as a result of the mission I gave myself, which was to fix the cultural gap in business travel. I am a driven individual, who can be quite stubborn. The plus of that trait of character is that I don’t easily take no for an answer. The down side is … actually that I don’t take no for an answer.
I don’t think I ever decided to become a female founder. The way I grew up, with three sisters and a brother, I was never told I was any different from my brother. Quite the contrary, actually. I never saw myself as different and so I never really anticipated to face any problems in founding a company because of my gender. What this means is that I never thought I had to adapt my dreams and ambitions to fit a specific model. Don’t censor your dreams!
What are the greatest challenges of founding your own business?
Anne-Fleur: Without a doubt, finding the right people to do it with! This is SO hard! I recently interviewed Beth Santos for our blog and when I asked her what advice she’d give her 20 year old self, one of the things she said was “hire slow, fire quickly”. As she was saying this, I thought to myself: I wish I had my older self murmured tips to my ears right now!
This is very true: your team is the core of your business. Take your time to find the right people to join your adventure but when things don’t go as planned, act fast! No matter what you do, even if your business is technology: if the core is “rotten”, your business will not do well. This can be performance-based as well as a variety of other things. I’ve had a hard time finding people who truly play as a team and I cherish the ones I found!
How have your experiences as a female founder shaped you?
Anne-Fleur: I think it made me a better person, because I have a clear vision of how I will make the world a better place. I believe in our great impact as a company to help local communities through our concrete actions and donations. I also believe in having a tremendous impact in business travelers’ life and health.
Founding a company both makes you strong and vulnerable, because you have to hustle constantly. Your business needs you and you live for it most of the time.
Finally, it gave me confidence. If you don’t trust your guts as a founder, it is very difficult to accomplish anything. Sometimes, the most educated decision will lead to something really bad while gut feeling rarely lies. It does not mean all your decisions should be based only on your gut feeling, but a healthy mix of education and intuition does not hurt.
Growing up, what were your goals in life? Did you ever imagine you’d create something like what you created?
Anne-Fleur: Growing up, I wanted to become a doctor! I am best when I interact with people and I love to fix problems, I really do. In general, I still do love fixing issues and looking after people, finding a way to help. In a sense, that’s what I do right now, except that I don’t fix one person’s problem but the problems of an entire community.
I know I always had ambition. Not to make crazy amounts of money or to be a CEO; no, I had the ambition to have a greater impact on our future. I am still working on it.
I certainly did not imagine I’d be living 3,400 miles from home (France), that I’d actually speak English fluently (I hated this language as a kid), and that after working for almost 10 years in bio-artificial organs engineering, I’d run a tech startup in the travel industry. I am proud and very happy with where I am today. I am working on what I believe it right and have a blast doing so.
What’s next for your business?
Anne-Fleur: A HUGE step is coming up… We are launching our app publicly mid-September. This Summer is already pretty intense as we are finishing our crowdfunding campaign on iFundWomen, we are working hard on integrating the latest features to release our newest app to our pool of beta users prior to launching on the market. Then, we will go for another round of funding!
What advice would you give to the next generation of women and girls looking to make an impact?
Anne-Fleur: Don’t ever censor your dreams. If you have dreams, go after them! That’s what dreams are for. Dreams don’t require magic, they require motivation, focus, and passion. You have it in you if it truly is a dream. No need to adapt your dream to make anyone happy. Go after your dreams and be bold doing so!
Special thanks to Anne-Fleur Andrle for opening up and sharing her story!
We hope you all find her as inspiring as we do. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter @jackandferdi.