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Empowering Good Deeds: The Rise of Commu and the Entrepreneur Behind It

Karoliina Kauhanen - co-founder and CMO at Commu App

Introducing Karoliina Kauhanen. The Co-Foundress and CMO of Commu. A resilient founder who, after bravely overcoming personal struggles, epilepsy, losing ability to walk at the age of 16 and loneliness, launched Commu. This rapidly growing platform, boasting over 60,000 users and 15,000 completed good deed, serves as a critical beacon of hope. Born from a fervent desire to make asking for and providing help easier, Commu is swiftly becoming a cornerstone for fostering compassion and empathy in our digitally connected world. 

What are some of the key skills or qualities that you think are essential for success as an entrepreneur? And what initially sparked your entrepreneurial spirit and led you to pursue this venture?

Loneliness is the biggest social issue of our lifetime. I have survived extreme epilepsy and I had to learn how to walk again at the age of 16. I have experienced extreme loneliness and never wish the same for anyone. Therefore I decided to create Commu; to make asking for and providing help easier. Seeking help isn't easy, especially for young people facing loneliness and its mental health toll. Current social media and algorithms worsen the problem, costing European businesses 154 BILLION euros annually. Enter Commu, a Tinder-like platform for good deeds. Acts of kindness don't just help others—they also reduce anxiety and loneliness while boosting a sense of purpose.

How do you stay motivated and focused when faced with setbacks or challenges in your business? How do you overcome them? 

Together with my co-founders Sami and Ronnie, I've founded and developed Commu, which has become the largest platform for help in the Nordics within just a year. With over 60,000 users and 15,000 good deeds completed, we're now launching in Germany and LATAM, expanding our impact to developing nations. Commu has emerged as a United Nations peace and civil activism award-winning platform, earning Finland's national Digital Innovation of the Year award and triumphing in Scandinavia's largest innovation competition, Oslo Innovation Week 100pitches, securing 200,000NOK among 900 international contenders. Achieving these milestones demanded immense grit and perseverance, fueled by the dedication of my team and the lessons learned from my journey.

What have been some of the biggest lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur?

Never give up.

Can you share your experience navigating the fundraising landscape as a female founder?  Specifically, what unique challenges or obstacles did you encounter, and what strategies did you use to overcome them?

I've faced ridicule, received inappropriate messages, and encountered investors offering funding in exchange for going to their hotel room to “negotiate”. I've been mocked onstage and on television for being a woman entrepreneur. Once I was at a dinner at the Malmö Female Invest Summit, sitting with 3 male investors, when one started publicly pointing out my appearance saying that I would rather have hamburgers than the fancy meal we were having. 

There is no strategy to overcome this. Only to win.

Founders often face the challenge of prioritizing personal well-being amidst the startup grind. Can you share some specific strategies you've implemented to create a healthy work-life integration while managing the demanding schedule of a startup founder?

Lifting heavy and doing good for others through Commu.

How do you strategically stay informed about industry trends and upcoming technologies to ensure your business is prepared for the future?

I am lucky to be surrounded by people, investors, and my team who keep me up-to-date.

What are your long-term goals for your company, and how do you envision its future impact?

I envision a world where people recognize the importance of kindness and helping one another. Our technology can make this vision a reality, and I'm determined to create the ultimate platform for good deeds. We'll start in the Nordics, expand to LATAM, and beyond. Who knows where our journey will take us next? :)

Interview series by Riga TechGirls for TechChill 2024 

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