Evelyne White

Company: BookaLokal Industry: Technology

Bookalokal is a social dining platform that lets guests discover and book unique, curated dining experiences. Whether you want to book one spot at a table for 10, or book an entire venue for your own private dining experience, BookaLokal connects guests to quality culinary experiences in over 45 countries.

What was the biggest surprise as an entrepreneur?

Just how long everything takes! I remember thinking I’d give myself 4-6 months to see if my idea had legs. Turns out that wasn’t enough time to find a cofounder, develop our minimum viable product and test the concept. Then came fundraising and hiring the right team to execute the idea. It takes an incredible amount of patience and endurance to be an entrepreneur. Very few companies become successful overnight though we often hear about those rare cases and don’t realize just how much time it takes to build a business from scratch.

What is a sign that you should not be an entrepreneur?

If you enjoy predictability and security, this career probably isn’t for you. In my 2 years as an entrepreneur, no day has been the same. Daily responsibilities change regularly, and your mission often evolves too. In terms of security, it’s hard to ever see more than 3-6 months ahead. You have to maintain a long-term vision while knowing everything depends on short-term performance. If the thought of that makes you uneasy but you still want to get into the startup scene, consider joining a later stage startup rather than starting your own.

How did you know you were ready to be an entrepreneur?

I had an idea I couldn’t stop thinking about, and one that seemed to be the right idea at the right time. I was also at a point in my career where I had accumulated enough experience and credibility (6 years in banking/private equity & my MBA) to be taken seriously by investors. While some entrepreneurs launch into their first tech venture straight out of college, or skip college altogether, unless you’re a developer with a crazy idea, that can be hard.

Why should people pay attention to HBS Alums in the Alley?

We have so much to learn from each other and so much to contribute. By engaging with HBS, I’ve developed a strong network of my best investors, advisors and peer mentors.