Karen Moon

Company: Trendalytics Industry: Technology

Trendalytics is a visual analytics platform that marries the art and science of fashion and beauty. We measure how consumers resonate with merchandise trends by identifying and synthesizing product attributes across social chatter, search behavior and shared images to reveal the most relevant insights that are actionable for merchandising and marketing teams.

What was the biggest surprise as an entrepreneur?

The biggest surprise is how much administrative work there is to run a business! To be honest, I’m jealous of the teams with two business founders who have complementary skill sets (e.g., operations, sales, product management, finance). Fortunately, lack of engineering talent was never a problem for our team and that’s were we initially invested heavily as we made our first hires.

However, as a first time founder, it’s possible to do too much of the business side of things on your own. Looking back, it would have been great to have a business counterpart earlier who was as deeply invested to validate product-market fit, sales strategy, and figure out which service providers you should work with and everything else related to hiring, building and growing a business. Time is the most valuable resource. Making the right decisions faster and taking advantage of opportunities to move faster is priceless. There’s only 24 hours in a day.

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

You should not be an entrepreneur If you don’t have tremendous conviction, an undying passion and a deep expertise for the problem you are solving.  If you don’t have that secret sauce to rally employees, investors, partnerships and customers to join your vision… it’s probably not the right concept or time in the market… or someone will do it better. Once you are responsible for other stake holders you are committed. The passion you have for your vision needs to be great enough to get you through the lows. Everyone has lows at some point throughout their entrepreneurial journey and it’s all about finding clarity and opportunities even during the toughest times. I can’t imagine finding clarity and opportunities during these periods without conviction, passion and domain expertise.

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

I knew I was ready to be an entrepreneur when I was willing to 1) forgo salary to take a career risk 2) invest my personal capital in getting started and 3) convince my co-founder to quit his high trajectory path at Microsoft and move to NY. This is the shorter version of a much longer story… however, at each inflection point in my entrepreneurial journey, I had conviction around the market opportunity, customer validation and passion for what I was doing. Pursuing any other opportunity felt like settling. This is when I knew I wanted to build my company and rally others to join me in the journey.

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

Remember learning teams from the RC year at HBS?  Alums in the Alley is like “learning teams” for entrepreneurship.  HBS has an amazing network of alumni with relevant, shared experiences. I was blown away by the quality, authenticity and transparency of the conversations during the Rock100 Summit and local follow up events. HBS Alums in the Alley is a great way to continue the dialogue and learn from our peers who can help you navigate through the network to get support, avoid mistakes and strategically think through business challenges. I feel fortunate to be a part of this community and have access to a wealth of amazing mentors, partners, investors and potential hires.