#FemaleFounder Series: Giorgia Rossi of LookBooker

lookbookerfounder

Giorgia Rossi is the Co-Founder of LookBooker, a platform where people can book all their hair and beauty appointments online based on neighborhood and availability. Makes total sense to us! Born on a leap year in Sydney, Australia, Giorgia and her Co-Founder, Renee Robbie, dreamed up the idea for LookBooker while doing global management consulting on rural mining sites in the country. It didn’t take long for the pair to realize they’d be happier running their own business rather than stay in the corporate world. Interesting fact about the duo: Rossi works out of New York, whereas Robbie is based in Singapore! Read on for insight and advice from Rossi as a modern female founder…

Our Top 3 Questions with Giorgia Rossi

What was the best piece of advice you were ever given?

It was from my Co-Founder! We both knew we wanted to work together from almost the first time we met in our former jobs and we used to always talk about how we had a vision for an online marketplace for hair and beauty as big as OpenTable or Airbnb. However, we kept on convincing ourselves of experiences or skills we’d need, books we had to read, things we’d need to know or people we’d need in order to start our company. It took us a bit of time to take the jump and Renee’s advice was so simple yet powerful, “you’ll never have everything in place, it will never be the perfect time, you’ll never feel ‘ready’ so let’s just do it”. That combined with my Mum’s advice that, “experience is what you get when you’re not getting what you want.”

What was the most difficult challenge you faced?

It’s not necessarily our most difficult challenge, but certainly one of the most surprising challenges: what it’s like to be a woman in the very male dominated tech industry. I came from a corporate background, which had seen huge progress in terms of parental leave, flexibility, alternative promotion paths and the development of more infrastructure to make sure there were fewer barriers to making women successful. There are challenges associated with being a female founder that continue to surprise (and outrage!) me, particularly when it comes to securing the funding women need to grow and scale businesses. Hearing the experiences some women have had fundraising can be like listening to a series of horror stories.

Similar to LookBooker, we’ve seen so many of our female peers who are building businesses that they or their friends use. They make a lot of sense until you come to the point where you imagine pitching that sort of idea to an all male panel of VCs who may be less likely to be pained by the inconvenience of booking their bikini wax on the phone during office hours or in an open plan office. We are in a world where so few venture firms even have female representation among their partnership (<4% of senior VC partners are women) and the industry has been accustomed to what a ‘typical’ entrepreneur looks like. It’s easy to see why more than 95% of venture capital currently flows to male founded teams. These outcomes make it pretty scary to be a female founder at times, but being smart about it makes the situation less insurmountable!

Describe your first feeling of success.

When we first launched LookBooker we were adamant about it being a marketplace that could serve both men and women – we knew that men were inconvenienced by offline bookings and had their hair cut even more often than women and are chronically underserved by the hair and beauty industry. One day in our early weeks of launching I was on the subway in my LookBooker t-shirt and a guy came up to me and said, “do you work there?”. I told him about how we’d created the idea while working together in rural Australia (of course trying to convince him to get his hair cut) and he told me that he’d used it to book his hair appointment the week before. I couldn’t believe it (when you’re a severely under slept founder, you look at any customer as the greatest part of your day every single time) and then he told me that not only was it his first LookBooker booking but his first ever appointment – he’d always gone to a walk in barbershop. It’s the stories of customers who are actually engaging in and using your marketplace that make you feel like a success – even if the moment is fleeting.

FUN FACT: the only things Giorgia can cook are eggs!

Share your thoughts on our interview below!

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