Meet the Female Founders of Tech: Beatrice Fischel-Bock, CEO & Co-Founder of Hutch, 2018’s Forbes 30 Under 30
“Your environment has a significant impact on you as a person. Our key focus is creating a product that allows anyone to have the power and ability to create the perfect space for them to thrive.”
I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Beatrice Fischel-Bock, CEO & Co-Founder of Hutch, a home decor app and web platform that allows you to take a photo of your room, virtually redecorate it and shop the look — all for free and in stunning 3D. Her mantra, fail fast, fix fast and learn fast, is one that has carried her through the trenches of the startup world. She recently closed a Series A funding round for $10 million from real estate platform Zillow. Beatrice was also just named 2018’s Forbes 30 Under 30 for Retail & E-Commerce.
Yitzi: Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I launched Hutch (formerly known as ZOOM Interiors and Homee) in 2012 during my final year at George Washington University after coming to the realization that interior design was an untapped resource in the technology sector. I soon began virtually designing my friend’s apartments — earning $1 million in revenue, while still in school.
Shortly following graduation, I appeared on Shark Tank to pitch the concept and piqued the interest of Tinder Founder Sean Rad, who helped raise $2.2 million in pre-seed funding. Immediately following that round, we raised an additional $5 million of funding in a seed round led by Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund. We recently closed a Series A funding round for $10 million from real estate platform Zillow.
Hutch is a home decor app and web platform that allows you to take a photo of your room, virtually redecorate it and shop the look — all for free and in stunning 3D.
Kick off the design process by submitting an image of your own room, or skip this step and choose one of our custom templates. You’ll receive a 3D rendering of the room as a blank slate, ready to fill with your new design. Get inspired by exploring our curated filters, swap out items by browsing our range of products and shop your final selections — all through Hutch.
Yitzi: Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?
The day of our Shark Tank episode, we were preparing for a crazy weekend. The show airs on a Friday night so we had decided to gear up for a non-stop weekend of working and no sleep. We brought food, pillows and blankets to the office to ensure we would be ready for whatever was coming our way after 8 million viewers watched us. The episode aired and our website crashed. That turned out to be the only crazy thing that happened the entire weekend. We did receive an increase in traffic during the following weeks; however, that weekend ended up being no different from any other.
We’ve since learned this lesson over and over again. Occasional buzz-worthy moments don’t change your business. Building a valuable product that people need and love is the only thing that counts.
Yitzi: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
We are a very unique team of people working on this specific problem. It’s an unusual group of co-founders with backgrounds in tech, product, and interior design. The more minds you have working on something, the more you can discover from every angle.
Yitzi: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
Absolutely. We all need help along the way and I think admitting that to yourself and accepting it as a very positive and critical step. Sometimes our egos think we can do it all alone. My mentor is Sean Rad, founder of Tinder. It is invaluable to get help and advice from someone who has seen it all before and has built a strong network around himself. I would be remiss not to touch on women helping women. I think men need to mentor women to let them into the boys club and in turn women mentor other women.
Yitzi: How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Your environment has a significant impact on you as a person. At Hutch, our key focus is creating a product that allows anyone to have the power and ability to create the perfect space for them to thrive.
Yitzi: What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I launched my Start-Up” and why.
1. The team is everything. Having the right people solving your problem is a game changer.
- Story: One of my favorite quotes: “Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success.” — Henry Ford
2. Nothing will ever be perfect.
- Story: We learned early on that it is better to get something in front of your user and get feedback versus waiting until it’s “perfect.” Spending valuable time and resources making something perfect might not be right thing in the long run. This is very much in line with The Lean Startup approach, which I just reread, sparking so much new inspiration!
3. It’s not glamorous.
- Story: If you judge a startup on what you see on social media or on the news it looks fun and exciting. You see ping pong tables, dogs, money, and more. What’s going on behind the scenes is very different. It’s a lot of stress, problem solving, and duct taping together.
4. VCs are nice.
- Story: I was very intimidated the first time I met with a venture capitalist. I had heard endless horror stories about investor meetings. I’m not saying all VCs are great — I’ve definitely met a few unsavoury ones. However, for the most part they are interested and interesting. I use every meeting as an opportunity to learn something from them. It’s not only about my pitch.
5. Remember to take care of yourself.
- Story: Startups are notoriously hard and exhausting. You’re constantly pushing yourself to do more. Unfortunately, you end up learning the hard way what burning out looks like. In order to do right by your business, you have to do right by your self.
Yitzi: Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this.:-)
Sheryl Sandberg! She’s an incredible hero to women and the tech community alike.