February 26, 2024

Where is Family Tech headed? - Zoya Lehrer | BCL #310

The year, 1992; the scene, June in Brooklyn; the means, $20 in our pocket. A single mom and a scrappy kid learn English, find ways to survive and eventually thrive during what were our humble beginnings.

Following in her mother’s IT footsteps, Zoya Lehrer, Co-Founder & CEO of Orgo, had the privilege of leading complex teams through divestiture, M&A, integration, and IPO initiatives. She have built, operated and scaled digital products within Financial Services, FinTech and SaaS, until taking a recent leap as an Entrepeneur.

Joined by a seasoned team of 6 professionals, they have bootstrapped, juggled families and full time jobs, to proudly bring Orgo to market in under 12 months!

Proud parents of 3 athletic daughters and 2 dogs, she and her husband love to ski and wakeboard in their non-existent free time.

Zoya: 60 million kidsin the U.S alone participate in some level of extracurricular activities.

There's a generation that's pretty much over scheduled. But atthe same time it stresses them out, so you have to just figure what's the rightbalance for what your kid can take on as that workload.

They need to own their time. They need to understand that mom'snot always going to be around.

what's really unique about our product is that we ourselves canbe the users of it.

It's very much focused on obviously all things that aretechnological solutions for either the household or the parents. It's anextension of what our parental experience means.

Julian: Firstquestion, I always like to jump in with something hot. If somebody were to playyou in a movie, who would it be?

Zoya: Okay, I justgot this yesterday. There's a two fold answer. When I was younger J Lo was onebecause I would wear my hair like super sleek and I'm from Brooklyn so closeenough to, uh, Jenny from The Block.

And then yesterday I got Julia Roberts, which I didn't knowwhere that came from, but I will take any, any proximity to either of them is ahigh compliment.

Julian: Now I thoughtthis was a unique question, but now I have to ask, what was the game you wereplaying and what was the scenario where they asked this question?

Zoya: Oh, I was in afacial yesterday. That's real life. And she was like from the other angle, youknow, upside down. And I was like, oh. Again, thank you. But no.

Julian: Zoya, Thereason I ask you that is, of course, with your background, it's been sointeresting to hear your story. Of course, you know, for those who don't knowthe audience, coming to New York, 1992, your mom's in IT. Drop us back in thattime when, first of all, the fact that your mother was in IT as a profession isfairly, you know, like, pretty nuanced in that day and age, but also, what wasthe impact of her in that profession that it had on you as you two were comingto the country and really just trying to figure things out?

Zoya: Yeah, I mean,let's go all the way back. So I came to the States, specifically to Brooklyn.When I was 9 years old, I was turning 10 that year, and we came from theUkraine, from a city called Kursyn. You may have been hearing a little bitabout them on the news, unfortunately in the last, you know, year and a half ortwo.

Um, so we came here in 1992, and it was just my mom and I, itwas just the two of us, a single mom. When I tell you that we had $20 in ourpocket, like that, I am not lying about a story. There was a $20 bill, that'swhat it was. We stopped over, I think it was like the Frankfurt. Airportbecause we flew from St.

Petersburg to you know to Germany and then ultimately JFK Iremember there was a kiosk in which there was a little stuffed elephant and Iasked my mom I really love this stuffed elephant. She's like So we physicallycannot break this $20 bill because that's our ride from JFK Airport to ourapartment.

Like, we cannot buy the stuffy. So to this day, I'm like, Ireally love that stuffy. But it was symbolic of like, the thing that we neededto do and that, you know, what we came here for.

Julian: Yeah, how wasthat transition like? Because it's not like, you know, nowadays where I can Youknow, view an apartment virtually via FaceTime.

How was that transition finding a place to be and just being atYouTube? Did you have any family or anyone here? No,

Zoya: we have a veryclose family friend that just Help to secure a place for us to land from anapartment perspective, but that was really it. And so we left my grandparents,you know, my father really behind as well, just the two of us.

And so my mom went to work right away. Like we landed thatweekend, whenever it was, and she went to work in the city. She was a computerprogrammer, developer at the time. And so she kind of had that job wind up,thankfully. And I was like nine years old in Brooklyn by myself, and I wouldwalk around the corner, right in front, I would go to the public library there,and I would spend my entire day there.

At the library, learning English, and I would have my RussianEnglish, you know, dictionary. I would have my Disney books, and I would sitthere, and I just would like flip pages and study words to be ready for schoolin September. Like, days of the week, numbers, letters, all the things. And sothat was my summer, but luckily the beach was right there, and it was justlike, she'd come home at 5.

30, 6 o'clock, we'd go to the beach, and that was our summer.Like, just kind of getting ready for a new life.

Julian: And,obviously, nowadays Even in the recent past it was, you know, so popular tostudy engineering, computers, especially software. Now it's almost likeridiculous if you don't know something. But at that time, what was the benefitor what did you think that translated to your career growth, um, eventually?

Because, you know, you've kind of married this beautiful, youknow, finance analyst but also technology. Did that impact your trajectory as aperson?

Zoya: Yeah, for sure.I mean, my mom, as I mentioned, was in technology at a timeline. Not many were,um, but because she had this career path that allowed for her to come into anew country and have a transferable skill set that she was able to deploy in aplace where otherwise she would probably have to have had other types of jobsas many of our, you know, friends and peers had at the time, so she was able todeploy her profession.

Um, so that was really inspiring to me and I was just aroundtechnology always and that was my major. I went to college for it, but I doremember there was one moment where I was like, mom, I really love psychology.Like I love organizational psych, I love behavioral psych, and I started totake a bunch of courses in college and she was like, how are you going to makemoney with that?

Like she didn't even understand that that was a potentialcareer path and I remember being impassioned by it, but I just was like slappedon the wrist being like, no, no. Don't look away, look straight, kind of keepon path, and so of course they stayed and probably would not have looked back,but I do remember that moment being like, is there a world outside oftechnology?

But no, I didn't pursue anything.

Julian: Yeah.

Early in your career, it seemed like it was still a kind of apseudo technology role, but it started to bleed more into an organizationalanalytics and really kind of from, from more of a, you know, I guess, bird'seye view perspective, more of a strategy role, and what kind of graduated thattransition Did you fall in love with something else along the way that kind ofbled your interest into a different, kind of a different path, but you know,adjacent to what you were set out to do?

Zoya: For sure. Um,so at the time that I went to school, which was year 2000, you know, the greatyear to ever graduated from high school was the year 2000, um, sidebar. We wereat a party at my house for New Year's Eve, and we were all waiting to see whatwould happen when the year 2000 would turn, right, the 00, the Y2K, you mayhave heard of this.

So my mom, for her workplace at the time she was with MetLife,she was working on software that would be ready for Y2K, as every othertechnology and every other business was as well. So we all kind of were at myhouse and we're waiting for like the, you know, the, the countdown, and thenjust kind of like close your eyes real quick and we're like, did anythinghappen?

Is everything still working? And we're just sitting down andwe're like.

Julian: What was itagain? It was like, um, it was like a timing sequence or what was the

Zoya: It was 0 0, theending two numbers, and everything was fine prior to it. It was 99, 98, like79, everything was fine. And then it was 0 0, so there was a lot of implicationto algorithms and things at the time that really kind of had to prepare forwhat happened.

You get zero, zero. So pretty much every company was, you know,spending lots and lots of time and money trying to be ready for that. Anyway,sidebar, um, but yeah, college. So, uh, my path was computer science, as Imentioned. And so when I started in the computer science degree, I just waslike, gosh, there's gotta be something else out there in terms of the industry.

Like, not every single person who's in IT is sitting there andcoding all day. There's, there's like many other disciplines surrounding likethe broader industry. And so a lot of, I'm so lucky I've, I've, I'm covered asa, an experimental program that my, um, university Rutgers was running at thetime called Information Technology and Informatics, which again recognized thediversity of that evolving field.

And so I was lucky enough to get into that program, kind of. Wewere starting off with grassroots, we were feeding into the curriculum, Iremember kind of like, we were shaping the coursework as we were going along.That was the way that I kind of fell into it, is to say, you know, here's thisdiverse IT path.

And then as I started to climb up the ranks, and financialservices was where I started as well as banking, then you get into managementand you do less coding, you do obviously more strategy and more oversight. thatbecame M& A mergers and acquisitions as we started to kind of, you know.Um, work within, um, you know, various portfolios that we were purchasing andintegrating those technologies and so forth and it kind of went from there.

Julian: Yeah.Obviously I want to get into, you know, Orgo and the company and, um, but justout of pure curiosity, within those big organizations when they're goingthrough these different strategy sessions, how do they go about the acquisitionprocess or go to market strategy being that they have so many resources todeploy?

I'm on the other side of the spectrum and now you are now whereeverything's bootstrapped. If I had more, I would do more. How do you go fromthe reverse and kind of actually deploy capital the right way?

Zoya: Yeah, I loved,I was part of, um, two, but one that was most memorable at a time that it was,it was such foundational experience, but also the people that I was goingthrough that process with were, were kind of, I hate to say family, but I waswithin that particular team and that organization the longest in my career.

And so that was the time when we were building. MetLife had abank. Few people know this, MetLife Bank was kind of like an offshoot of theinsurance portfolio and then the regulation was very friendly at the time forinsurance companies to spin up a bank and so we did. And so I was part of likethe smaller kind of founding team that was initially plucked from the broaderenterprise organization and came together to go ahead and build out that bankin the portfolio over time.

It was deposits mostly, and then we had reverse mortgage,forward mortgage divisions and so forth and a bunch of other assets. And so thetime came when the regulation changed. And so it was no longer, you know, uh,advantageous to have a bank essentially part of the portfolio, so we had todivest many of those assets, including the deposits portfolio that we'd spentall of those years as a team.

Building over time. So it's kind of this full circle, right?Growing it, operationalizing it, integrating it, and then ultimately figuringout a way to divest it. And so I was leading the divestiture of that effortfrom an IT perspective along with, you know, many other of my peers. And so wecame to the other side was GE.

At first it was GE Capital, then it was GE Capital Retail Bank.We swung that portfolio over, we integrated it, and then we wound up beingemployees on the GE side. And then we IPO'd, ultimately stemming from thatportfolio into what you know today as Synchrony Financial. So it was kind oflike this full swing, it was quite a few years.

During that time I had my, uh, second daughter and so it wasjust like this very memorable, tumultuous, exciting time, you know, talkingwith the M& A team and figuring out what's our strategy, thinking aboutPortfolio, the people, the process, the tech and how we're basically going toclose the deal. So that was an exciting time.

Julian: In a companylike that, how do you stay close to a product? Being that, you know, it's alarge organization, a lot of moving pieces. It's not as intimate, you know, as,as say a founder experience, but, you know, you still have this teamcamaraderie. How do you stay close to, the product or the outcome?

Is that, cultural thing internally? What are the things thatactually help the employees actually feel, the impact of their work?

Zoya: Yeah, that's agreat question because it really is difficult to stay connected, especiallywhen you are so far removed from the end consumer. You're ultimately allworking collectively toward A collective outcome for the benefit of theconsumer, for the benefit of the business, but because it's broken down in somany different parts and pieces, and of course organizations are complex atthat size, it is very difficult to fully appreciate and become impassioned.

Buy that process end to end and that's the outcome as well,which is why the shift, you know, to this this entrepreneurial founder spaceWas a homecoming for me because when we were small and I was part of smallerteams that passion was close to heart and then Through the years becoming partof bigger organizations taking on bigger roles.

You lose that kind of connection from it So now I'm coming backfull circle self selected to of course because I was yeah, I just lovedfeeling, you know excited about Something that I can directly affect every day.

Julian: Yeah, yeah.

You mentioned that story about your mom going off to work,you're nine years old, you're going to the library.

I don't know how

Zoya: Daifus didn'tcome for us. Like, I was by myself on the streets of Rome. Really? Oh yeah,because I mean, she went to work and we didn't have any So I was physically inthe library by myself, but I digress, so, you know.

Julian: I was gonnasay, no, you're, you're walking, you're nine years old, you know, you're doingthis day to day.

Today, that sounds like, obviously for a lot of parents, kindof a nightmare scenario because back then I'm sure there was no direct line ofcommunication. There's no cell phone, there's no find my kid, find my phone,find my earpod, you know, there's none of that information. And describe kindof like The pressures that parents today are feeling now that there's a wholedifferent environment.

There's a lot more to consider Maybe there isn't maybe there'sa lot more light. How's the parental experience from your mom's generation?Different from now in terms of how much you have to really think about whenyour kids in a environment Yeah,

Zoya: I mean listen,I can personally I don't even have to surmise I can personally speak from myown three daughters It comes back full circle, right, with all the daughtersthat I have.

I have a 13, I have a 9, and a 6 year old. So really, that 9year old is precisely in that space and time of the parallel that you're tryingto draw. And it's a completely different world, of course. Like, the Latchkeygeneration is gone. Myself, I would include being a part of that. I rememberjust going off 40 blocks away, 30 blocks away to meet up with friends, and mymom just not ever knowing.

Where I was, I would rollerblade through, you know, for anybodywho's listening who's from Brooklyn or in the area like Bensonhurst, Bayridge,86th Street, 3rd Avenue, some, I hope somebody's nodding their heads, like youjust would just rollerblade and, and kind of like stay in the bus lane to staysafe. So no, there was no connectivity and there's no connection or, orcommunication at that point.

Here, overly communicating, right? Like overly connected. We,we fear the second that they leave the house, we have to track them. So. I, asa mom, you know, as a parent, kind of fall victim to that normalcy that we'veall come to grow and hate at this point, but at the same time, there's a lot ofindependence that I try to develop in them in various ways.

So yeah, I try to strike that balance. It's hard. It'sdifferent.

Julian: Yeah, andthere's so many different platforms to be connected with as well. And where doyou see a lot of parents kind of, not necessarily the pain point, but how doyou ease the concern with the technology that you're building.

Zoya: Yeah, we'llgive a little context as to what Orgo really is, is on a mission to hopefullyimprove, but I will say that through sports, which all three of my kidsparticipate very actively, and we do a ton of extracurricular activities, we doyouth sports, including, um, they're on the competitive swim teams, they dotravel soccer, travel lacrosse, you name it.

Of course, you know, we do some musical instruments as well tobalance everything out, but that kind of What aids the independents becausethere's carpools, there's times that they're not with us, they have to bemindful of schedules, they have to manage time, they have to be responsible fortheir belongings and kind of be committed to the obligations that they have aspart of the schedule, so that as a parent by extension We, you know, set intheir, in, in their kind of normalcies that this is the life that we lead.

This is the pace that we're all kind of keeping up with. By theway, I'm not alone in doing that. Everybody pretty much in, in suburbancommunities, plus or minus, and of course inner cities as well, experience thatnorm these days. And so that's why That's one part of the way that they feelindependent, um, but yeah, it's, it's, it's hard for sure to keep up with itall and of course you're fighting with the 13 year old to put down the phoneand the nine year old's asking for it and the six year old is like make up fromSephora and you're just like, what is this world come to?

I cannot, I can't, I can't say no that many times in a day.It's too much.

Julian: Yeah. I know.Well, I was going to ask too. I mean, there's obviously just a huge genderdifference with childbearing. How does that impact the fact that you have threedaughters? Do you ever think about like, oh, what if I had three sons and wouldthis have led to Orgo and this product?

You know, thinking about safety at such a extreme level.

Zoya: Yeah, I alwaysthought I was going to have boys because I'm such a guy's girl. Um, I wasathletic growing up. My, my childhood as we talked about was, you know, alittle bit, um, Um, I would say like it lost its continuity because nine yearsold is a pivotal age, right?

Like nine years old, you have friends, you have an identity,you have ideas, you have a past, you have a future. And so that was kind ofreset at a time where I had to kind of, you know, move and do all those thingsall over again. By the way, I've moved probably about 11 to 13 times in mylife, like nine different schools.

I'm fine. Um, but so my kids, uh, have the betterment obviouslyof, of being in a place where we're stable and we're living in the same place.They've got the same friends for, for a long, long time. But nonetheless, Ijust felt like I would always have boys because I would be climbing trees andjumping off rooftops and like doing stupid shit.

But no, with each girl that came, I was like, okay, well. Nowwe, now we have a different challenge here. And so my, my, uh, grandma is oneof three sisters. It kind of came full circle when I now am also the continuityof that legacy, if you will. So we come from a strong line of women. And sothat's the challenge that I've kind of embraced and taken on through the yearsis to say, my responsibility as, as a woman, as a parent, as a mom, In thisworld is to produce three strong women in my own liking, in my mom's liking, inmy grandma's, and so forth.

And that's kind of how we've looked at it. But, we raise boys,girls. I don't know if that is something that means something to someone else.Uh, for me that means we don't treat our girls differently than we would boys.Yes, they're participating in different activities and so forth, but we haveexpectations of them all the same.

They have to be strong, they have to stand up for themselves,they have to be independent, they have to be outspoken. Physical, you know, allof the things. And so that's kind of how we started to navigate, but the harderyears are still to come. So check in with me in like a year when I have a 14year old, then I'll, I'll probably sing a different tune.

Julian: Yeah. Yeah.I, uh, and, and, you know, in addition to that, you know, are there just, withthere's so much growing external concerns, you know, we hear so much news andwe're bombarded by so much from a parent's perspective, I feel like that's.Elevated because now it's not necessarily, you know, I can protect myself, butthere's so much less, uh, control over somebody else's life as, you know, yourchild grows and begins to see the world.

You know, when you think about building for parents, how muchof just a psychology of what they're concerned about is built into the designof the product?

Zoya: Yeah, I thinkthat's a really great point because especially within the fam tech space, whichwe find ourselves now becoming a part of. It's a category that is.

It's very much focused on obviously all things that aretechnological solutions for either the household or the parents. It's anextension of what our parental experience means. There's a lot ofresponsibility in that. So when we think about the ecosystem, like right now,we've got this great debate, you know, from a product perspective, how are wegoing to monetize?

Is it going to be subscription based? Is it going to be, youknow, ad based? Is there going to be some freemium, you know, of course, hybridmodel of the both. And today we still skew on the side of. Subscription simplybecause it then is a closed loop. There is no perception of outside, uh,interactions that are potentially distracting, such as ads.

I'm not saying we'll never do that, and if anything that wewill, it'll be accretive to the parental experience. It'll be an extension ofsomething that we believe would be of value as part of the journey that they'realready on, or as part of the activity that they're already doing, or the sportthat they're involved with, and so forth.

So this notion of safety, I think, is there's a norm in FamTechthat Uh, safety is important. We obviously have to be super, super secure interms of our, our software and so forth, the infrastructure because, you know,we live in a world where we must, and if we're dealing with our most preciousassets as our children, you know, are in our household is, that's kind of theresponsibility that we bear.

Julian: Yeah, andwhat's the new, you know, how do you get to the customer that you're, you know,going after being that, you know, families, they have so many differentprofessions, so many different ages, so many different geolocations, you know,when you set out to build Orgo, you know, where did you start finding yourcustomer?

Where did you go to, to start collecting information andfeedback and start really building your MVP?

Zoya: Yeah, alsoreally great question because I think what's really unique about our product isthat we ourselves can be the users of it. So unlike, you know, in the B2B spaceor other SaaS kind of, uh, uh, endeavors where it's like you really need yourfirst few clients to really shape and mold the product and the vision, weourselves are Are designing the experience for ourselves because it is directlystemming from pain points that I have lived with for a majority of years of,of, you know, managing our household and logistics surrounding youth sports andextracurricular activities and all the runaround.

So the pain point is direct and it's personally felt. In fact,it was a binding factor of myself and the co founders when we first started totalk about the opportunity. And we said, you feel the pain point too. And sothat relationship to the problem statement is a problem founder fit that Ithink is so unique to what it is that we're designing.

So firstly, it came from within. It was a point of view that weasserted as co founders, myself as somebody, you know, in working with our UXdesigner to say, here's what I would like my personal experience to look andfeel like for the problem that I have been experiencing in the past X years.Once we kind of got that process initially down on paper, and of course, youknow, Figma is wonderful for that.

It's a great tool for us to ideate around. We started tointroduce and request external sets of eyes. So it's the friends and family,that's how we're so lucky to say, I'm not the only one who's experiencing thisproblem. I need something better than what I have today from a logisticsmanagement standpoint.

The calendar sucks. Hey, about you too? Okay, cool. Come overhere. See, you know, take a look at what we kind of have, you know, in mind.And then our, our vision started to become a bit more anchored to our point ofview. Um, last October we launched Alpha, two friends and family cohort ofabout 20 to 30 users from the community.

So we had a downloadable, executable mobile app that wasresident on their phones that they lived with for two to three weeks with thethen functionality that was kind of the baseline value proposition, if youwill. And they lived with it every day and we collected real time feedback fromthem. User interviews, side by side observations, and then they had a way forus to You know, communicate with us directly and relay that feedback.

So that was early stage that really kind of solidified thatanchoring point of view. And then we continue to build on from there.

Julian: And what wasthe, when you're thinking about, growing the audience from there, how do youkind of guide that, in terms of like, is it word of mouth?

Is it referrals? Do you go with an actual go to market strategyand start advertising? How do you stay core to the mission with, having theresponsibility as a company to start growing, scaling, and become profitable?

Zoya: For sure. Sowe're literally a couple of weeks out from launching our beta, which is thenext iteration from an infrastructure perspective.

Certainly functionality. Um, absolutely. The stack, the stackhas evolved. We've hardened our, our back end, our front end is, is smoother,sexier, and so forth. So that is kind of what we've dubbed as our beta. So manyprobably would have called beta what we did alpha, two friends and family, butVernacular.

Uh, so now we have about 350 customers that we have secured aspart of our, uh, wait list. And that was just through organic means. It wasjust a little bit of social media. It was, you know, personal posts that I haddone as an extension of my network, both on LinkedIn, as well as Facebook andothers. And we just said, Hey, if this is something that resonates with you andyou feel this pain point every day, come check us out.

You'll be the first to kind of shape and mold. Our journey fromhere. So that's a couple of weeks out. But in terms of what happens there, Imean, you can imagine, right? It's, it's your TikTok, it's your Instagram, it'syour socials. You've got to meet them where they are. There's mommy groups thatI'm a part of.

There are community conversations that are happeningsurrounding, you know, this problem that I'll be plugging into. So that's allvery much ahead, and that is aligned with our B2C strategy. Uh, there's adifferent B2B strategy thereafter, but, but it all kind of starts at this, youknow, grassroots. Kind of ground level.

Julian: Yeah. Howoften do the logistics of getting your kids places impact them doingactivities?

Zoya: Okay. I'm gonnashow you something, and I swear to God I did not have this ready, but it's easyto collect because I want you to appreciate like, what does Saturday look like?No, this is a Friday. I don't know if you could see this.

Okay. Yeah. That's a day. That is a day that needs to bereconciled, uh, deciphered with a Rosetta Stone of, of who needs to be what,where, and how, and when, because, you know, you're not. Teleporting unicorns.We can't be at, you know, the same place at the same time. Um, so, thelogistics really determine who goes where and how and by whom and when, andit's a full time job.

Anybody will tell you, like, your phone's gonna be ringing offthe hook just trying to get text messages in your WhatsApp groups, in yourCardpool text groups, and Team Snap is bombarding you. We love them. But at thesame time, there's just a lot of information that's coming down from everysingle channel that needs to be actioned.

On the part of the parent, by extension of which is the kidthat has to get to that place and also be ready for that. Um, and I think thatthere's a generation that's pretty much over scheduled. And so it's, it's animbalance of you want to do good, you want them to participate in things, youwant them to be responsible and further their skill set, their athleticism,their musicality, their arts and whatnot.

But at the same time, like, it stresses them out, so you haveto just figure, like, what's the right balance for what your kid can kind oftake on as that workload. And not to mention school, of course, and social, andeverything else that, you know, they're contending with.

Julian: Yeah, I mean,yeah, I come from, I'm one of six, I'm the oldest, I get, I got left behind afew times.

Oh, all the time, right?

Zoya: Wrong list,like, oh, I'm in the wrong field, sorry, I picked up the wrong kid, like,sorry. Sounds like you can relate, but on the

Julian: other side.Yeah, well I was curious, you know, what are, obviously there's, you know,group chats, and there's, you know, Telegram if you want to get really securewith it.

Uh, there's WhatsApp group if you come from more of aninternational family. What are parents using now to just coordinate all this?Because I'm assuming, I mean, at least with my experience, it was not just Mymom, it might have been my dad picking me up, it might have been a friend, itmight have been an uncle, it might have been a village of people.

Yeah, what were people using before?

Zoya: Um, so I, Ican't speak to before because again, I too, unlike you, I actually never hadthat experience because if I had sports, if I had activities, I would likefigure out to get myself there. Like my mom was working. So this was not myexperience personally, but today it's all the things that you've described.

So WhatsApp is not even being used internationally for us. It'sjust a way to manage groups. It's a, it's a WhatsApp group for kindergartenmoms, for third grade moms, for seventh grade moms, then, or So it's, it's justthis functional grouping that allows people's brains to be bifurcated of like,okay, what am I even talking about?

And who is this group of people that are obviouslycommunicating and trying to share information? So that is definitely one in avery active channel at that. So it's just constant, bing, bing, bing, bing allday long. Text threads, of course, we're trying to name the text threadsaccordingly. This is the carpool for that, or this is, and it's, it's justeverywhere.

And there's emails, of course, coming from all the coaches andfrom all the different management apps. And so again, this reconciliation ofultimately that information and that data that lives desperately in all thosechannels, what's, what's kind of the funnel? Well, we as people are the funneland it's manually intensive day in and day out to reconcile and receive thatdata, process it.

And actually operationalize it if we have to, like, have to gettechnical, and show up at the right place at the right time with the actualpeople that are supposed to be there. Like, that's our task. And it's, it'sdaily, and it's a lot.

Julian: Yeah. It'sinteresting because, you know, I feel like It's underrated the amount of effortI think it takes to coordinate and also just like raise a family.

I think about just like how much effort my parents had to putin.

And this whole category of famtech is obviously newer. I thinkback in like early 2000s there was this video phone that my grandparents couldcall through. It never worked, um, and then outside of that, there wasn'treally ways to connect within families.

When did this fam tech industry really start to pick up andwhere do you see it really integrating? Is it mainly in the, you know, thefamily logistics space? Is it all across the board? You know, when did itreally, you know, come about and where is it, you know, evolved to now? Whatare the different products being created?

Zoya: Yeah, I mean,I'm new to it myself as well, to be honest with you, like, as high tech of ahousehold as we think that we are, my husband's pretty technical, I obviouslyam as well, we didn't really invite technology into our family, per se, in veryintentional ways, we had our Google Calendar and our Apple Calendar, and we'rejust trying to kind of Right on the whiteboard and communicate amongstourselves with all the things that we've just described, the text messages andso forth.

So I can't say that we're overly Sophisticated that way, but Ido know that there's a ton of newer products that have hit the market that arespecifically servicing the household from that household management point ofview. Recognizing that the roles now, of course, are balanced. That there isthis village, there is this need to communicate, kids are involved.

Like, one of the great benefits of Orgo that we've envisionedis that your kid will have this loaded on their phone in a way that may be 10and above. Because they need to own their time. They need to understand thatmom's not always going to be around or whomever's in the household to be like,time to start getting ready, time to leave the house, like someone's alwaysyelling at them and directing them very explicitly.

Whereas executive skills would say, these are the skills thatwill set you up for life. You need to understand how to anticipate time, manageto task. Plan for that, you know, in advance and proactively and so forth, sothat's kind of our, our, our point of view on it, but again, there's a lot oftechnology that will now place additional devices into your household that canbe shared and communicated amongst the members.

There's no shortage of those that hang on your wall or they'resitting on your They're, uh, you know, hooked into Alexa or whatever. So we'reintegrating that more and more. Um, we just kind of take a different point ofview on it to say, those are all great in house products that manage thehousehold in ways like groceries and recipes and tool management.

Like that's outside of scope for us.

We're very focused on what happens when you leave the home andthat's when the logistics kick in. Because when you leave the house, our pointof view or our thesis is that the calendar breaks down. Like, 12 1 on mycalendar that sits on my phone where, you know, my soccer game is 12 1 as anexample.

I like to coin it to say, it's never 12 1. Like, 12 1 is never12 1. It's, you gotta be there 30 minutes earlier, you have to drive 45 minutesaway to a field you've never heard of, you have to start yelling at your kids15 minutes ahead of time to start getting their blue uniform together. Then youhave to drive back on the tail end of that trip.

So, the whole end to end process really entails Close to threehours in that example, versus the one singular hour that lives erroneously onthe calendar itself. So it's the very definition of logistics, getting theright people to the right places on time, that we're trying to tackle.Specifically, fully recognizing and appreciating that there's other householdtype tasks and items that perhaps other companies are more focused on and areimpassioned by than we are.

Julian: Yeah, and youknow, it's something I don't think we often think about, but what's like theTAM for your product? What's, what's the addressable market that you're goingafter? How many families with, you know, I would say probably two or more kidswhen it becomes difficult?

Zoya: Well, 60million kids in the U.S alone participate in some level of extracurricularactivities, and that is not That is not even like a far fetched number, thatprobably is some, I've actually done some research on this. It's, it's reallydifficult to kind of, you know, identify exactly what that number is becauseit's such a norm and expectation.

Colleges expect it. Your service hours, your social lifedepends on it. It's just so much ingrained in how we experience, you know, theworld today is that we want to be involved in things outside of just theimmediate study. So it's, it's quite large. And we like to think, you know,the, the, probably the sweet spot from an age group perspective where logisticsreally kick in, simply stemming from my own experience, but I would say itreally begins to, to be felt six years old on.

Six to 17, before they kind of start driving themselves around,six to 16 is where, you know, it's a long time where you're just running aroundand you are kind of living for these things. You're living by your calendar.You got to get to places. You're just governed by, you know, these commitments.

Julian: Yeah, youtalked a big announcement, I think, recently, you're putting in some AI intothe, technology.

Obviously that's always super popular nowadays to discuss that,but But it's fun to have it where you're like,

Zoya: well of coursewe're doing AI,

Julian: of course.Well I'm just saying, from, you know, from a building standpoint, what is theoffload in terms of, from a human perspective, but building a product likethis, and how does it allow you to really maintain, you know, a bootstrap teamto actually You know, hit the results.

Back, back then, it's like, okay, I need to build more. I gotto raise a bunch of money to hire a bunch of talented people. You don't really,you don't need that as much for the average product, I would say. What has AIreally allowed your company to do, and you as a founder, that you appreciatenow? You know, in reflection to what was actually available prior.

Zoya: Absolutely. Uh,it was a matter of timing and, and the timing could not have been morefortuitous. I remember where I was exactly in the conversation that we werehaving with the team. We had a ton of learnings coming out of the alpha phase,I mentioned the friends and family back in October. And there were some commonobservations about, you know, some potential, um, pitfalls to come in terms of,you know, the data input or the data entry into the ecosystem being likecreation of the events.

And a lot of folks were asking for the integration to be hadwith. The existing Google Calendar and so forth. So we were kind of debatinghow we were going to tackle that. And then Dev Days came out. And then, youknow, all the AI, you know, the Chat GPT updates were kind of being shared. Andso we were receiving this information real time going like, hold on guys.

We can literally double down on developing an Orgo GPT. Andthen figuring out how to tackle the very problem that we just learned aboutfrom our existing user base, the very few that we had at the time, but we knewthat it could be, you know, a problem at scale, and let's see how we can kindof marry up the two.

I will say, though, that we've been very tempered in our focuswithin AI, because ultimately, that is the goal that is very much on thetrajectory, and The roadmap, but it will not be part of the initial betalaunch. Why? Is because we still are at that basic value proposition phase,where before we overlay any additional bells and whistles and complexities andall the things that are super great about AI, we first want to ensure thatthey're acclimated to the ecosystem and the environment, the usability is onpoint, the value is being had, and then we can further, you know, kind ofoperationalize.

Those additional AI features, uh, as a fast follower. Butremember, we have to be very careful in the B2C space of how we introduce AIinto the home. I can't lead with this into a B2B market or SaaS or coming to aroom like, you know, many other founders can and say, We are AI first. We areAI led. We say we will have AI boosted capabilities that will further yourexperience in a way that should not feel abrasive in any way.

It's not official. So we kind of have to, you know, balancethat very carefully.

Julian: Yeah. Yeah.

What do you see today as your biggest risk to the company?

Zoya: We just had apretty rough conversation last night, rough in terms of, you know, some maturetalk, some real talk, uh, amongst the founders. And so we still stand beforesome core functionality, uh, defects that we really need to address.

I mean, like, again, we're kind of at the stage where we'relaunching this baby. We really want to make sure that it's received and it'ssafe. Stable and quality first. Quality driven is, you know, our first andforemost principle there. And so, does it mean that there's a couple of tradeoffs in the additional features that we wanted to also include as part of beta?

Yeah, probably those trade offs are It's like tail as old astime, right? It's like we're strapped for time. That's a constraint. We stillwant to launch. We want to make sure there's quality. So we were just kind ofdiscussing through that. And then once the cat is out in just a few weeks, uh,what we're going to be doing is building a community around this initial cohortof like the 350.

We call it the mighty 300, you know, for life. The 300 movie.Yeah, I saw it. We're like, we're heading into battle, like, no casualties, Ipromise. Like, poor, poor timing for those kind of jokes. But, uh, we willnurture this community in a way that we will learn from them. We hope, youknow, we will ask for their patience and certainly understanding as we kind oftest and learn alongside with them.

But, that's 100 percent focused right now is what happens whenwe cross that threshold and what lies on the other side.

Julian: Yeah, andwhat do you see as a long term vision? Is it built into schools? Is it builtinto, you know, uh, certain organizations, sports organizations? Where do yousee Orgo becoming, you know, not, not just at right now, kind of easingfamilies minds, but how is it integrated into the whole experience?

What do you see?

Zoya: Yeah, I'm superpumped, super pumped about what happens after B2C. Like, it's definitely a B2Cto me. Kind of play that we, we recognize the power and the importance ofnurturing the consumer experience. And that is where it begins and that's whereit needs to kind of continue along those lines.

And it's a very different go to market strategy obviously forsecuring those users and making sure that that continues to grow. The biggerplay thereafter, or rather one that's concurrent, is what I've always deemed tobe the marrying of Orgo's promise into the upstream. Where the data actuallylives and it stems from.

So I, as a parent, instill that kind of sports example. I don'tget to set what field I'm going to and what time I have to arrive. That isdictated to me by those organizations. Those organizations are managedelsewhere and certainly outside of us. We are parent aligned, we are parentled. Um, they are team oriented.

So today the way that that works is that there'll be an emailor there'll be various updates that are sent asynchronously. To the parent, theparent has to execute on what is being asked of them to do as we are in manyother areas in our life. And so bridging the gap between the two technically,integrating, you know, or go further upstream, closer to where the data and theinformation actually resides is very much a vision of ours that we will belooking to explore actively starting probably, you know, Q3, Q2 of this year.

Julian: Yeah, youwent the better route for sure, rather than going organizations first becausethe parents have all the power. We all know that. I mean, that's it.

Zoya: Make it orbreak it, which is why it's so important for us to be like, do you like it? Isthis valuable? Is this something that you can integrate daily into your life?

Because if they, if we build it and they don't come, there isno conversation with B2B. There is no value to pass down, you know, into thisend to end continuum.

Julian: Yeah, yeah.Coming into this section, I love it because I call it my Founder FAQ, so I'mgoing to hit you with some rapid fire questions and we'll see what we're goingto get.

All right. First question, I always like to ask is, um, day today, what's hard about your job?

Zoya: Um, the factthat we're time constrained, we are bootstrapped, it's sweat equity, it'sunborrowed time, the team is not together. I've got a whiteboard here, We workasynchronously, you know, for the most part we've got stand ups, but time is aconstraint and if I can change one thing that would be that and hopefully intime, you know, with funding and maturity we can.

Julian: Yeah. Whenyou think about, you know, what you brought over from, you know, being incorporate for so long, becoming a founder, what are some of the, you know, isit structure, is it principles, discipline, mission, values? What did you bringover that you've seen as actually fairly valuable for building your company?

Zoya: Yeah, most ofus have come from the corporate world with extensive experience as a result ofthat, so there is maturity in terms of respect for process, a discipline ofcontrol, making sure that if resources are finite, as clear that they are, thatwe still can execute, that we have priorities, that we make difficult decisionsand trade offs around, if we're going to deliver on something, we will, ifwe're going to say we're going to meet, we will, if we're going to, you know,obviously test, we do, and so that's kind of this, this Respect this mutualrespect.

Um, that comes, I think along with, with certain number ofyears being spent in whatever industry and when, you know, high functioningprofessionals come together, that's just like a, a standard, uh, of operationsthat we kind of all share as a team. And I'm super fortunate to have had thatbecause without that, that's where all of the unpredictability, right.

A lot of volatility, uh, volatility starts to be experiencedamongst the, uh, team members.

Julian: Yeah. I'mcurious to describe, to learn more .

Because I'm not describe your experience as a female founder,And also someone who's not in college coming out of college, you have a familyThere's a lot more at stake and I think about stakes as something fairlyImpactful for decisions there's a lot more at stake for you to go on thisjourney and be a founder Describe that experience and with raising money, withtalking to other founders.

How's it been in your experience to be a female founder who'sbuilding a new product, looking for capital, going through this wholeexperience?

Zoya: Yeah, um,things I can't do. I can't do an accelerator. I cannot sit Monday throughSaturday, you know, six to nine every day with like a group of wonderful peopleand call them my core group.

Um, I would love to, instead I've had, you know, 20 years of adifferent set of experiences, which I do find to be quite extensible into whatwe're doing now. So that aside, I truly have not experienced personally yet anyother limitation. Uh, I've read a bunch. I certainly can imagine and do believethat many of those obstacles are very much out there from a female perspective,just as a, you know, fundraising environment overall continues to be achallenge.

It is one of the biggest reasons that we were very intentionalabout becoming bootstrapped in a way that we've continued to obviously operateand demonstrate that we can be. That may be finite of a journey, but up untilthis point from a product development point of view, that's one less thing thatwe were requesting from a pre seed round.

We did our own pre seed, both from a sweat equity perspective,developing the product, demonstrating that we can execute. I hope with thatthen in market and in mind, When we do come to a table, VC, Angel, whatevercomes next, we do have the power of that story to both tell and show. And so itremains to be seen at what point and how my experience will be, you know, atthat stage.

But to date, networking is king. I'm on calls all day long,whether synergies, relationships, learning from people. For example, like mystrength is not in go to market strategy or marketing. Is that a core part ofour business to come in the way that we'll monetize? Absolutely. That'ssomething that I will learn from others.

That's something that I will source in terms of expertise from,you know, other folks that I'll surround myself by. So it's, it's just beingsuper intentional, getting out there. I'm in the city a lot. Um, injectingmyself into the entrepreneurial kind of startup world, which I've found to likelove and become really impassioned by, finding female circles to be a part of,shout out to Entreprenista League, they've been wonderful, wonderful female andVC and angel, you know, females that are in the New York area, it's justthere's no better place to be.

Julian: If youweren't working on this, what would you be doing?

Zoya: Chief DigitalOfficer somewhere at some bank.

Julian: Yeah,

Zoya: building mobileapps and online banking experiences for, for customers. I mean, this issomething that I've kind of done, um, in the latter stage of my career and Iprobably would have continued to do that.

Julian: mobile appsis something, um, I don't personally have, um, experience with but I'm alwaysso fascinated because of their just ability to go viral. You hit a certainamount of, they call it the virality coefficient. I'm not sure if you heard it,I was researching it the other day. And it's just about how many of yourcustomers are going to refer X amount of, you know, new customers to you.

Anything above one is good, obviously. One person, one person.For those who aren't familiar with apps, you know, how do you actually hit thatvirality coefficient? What goes into having people like your product so much?That they're going to invite other people. Is it just the experience? Is it thepricing model, the paywall?

Is it something else? What goes into actually creating a viralproduct from a mobile perspective?

Zoya: Yeah, so manythings, and it just always depends, right? It could be a game, like you'll hearabout, I'm hearing, but like from my, my teenager, she and her friends, I'mdriving these like swim carpools or whatever in their car, in the car with mefor a few minutes.

And they're like playing these games and they're so hooked intoit, they're addicted, like they're so addicted to it. And then I'm looking atthe interface and I was like, good lord, this is crap. So it's not sometimesabout the interface sometimes, it's about the feeling. There's like a funnysong that they have in there and they want to hear that song again.

And the only way that they hear the song is when they reachthis level and do this other level of stupidity or whatever to get there. Soyou just like never know what is that hook, you know, the power of the habit.Something that becomes this kind of, this connection that you have. Uh,sometimes, too, it's a matter of curiosity.

So you gotta be careful about what metric you're looking at interms of, like, what's viral. A lot of people can download it because they'recurious or they're hooked, but are they really using it? Is it sticky? Are theycoming in day in and day out? Are they, in fact, referring, you know, others toit? Are they incentivized to refer?

Are they gamified to? There's so many different psychologicalAnd so when we thought about how to make some of those principles apply to Orgois that we've proven, at least through the initial data set, and of coursewe'll see how that works at scale, but we have a 5, alright fine, 3x to 5xmultiplier inherently built in within Orgo in that if you, Julian, come intoOrgo.

The ecosystem yourself, it's really invaluable. You want tobring in your entire village. You want to bring in your partner, your kids,your mother in law, your nanny, your sitter, somebody who is just part of youreveryday life in a way that you would want to communicate in a very integratedmanner with.

And so that inherently then becomes like, well, my mom didn'task to be on it, but here I am the user of it in the way that I can reap valuefrom it most immediately, as well as pass that value on to her. Next thing youknow, she's getting the invite from me. And so, you know, she's gonna go aheadand download it and join my crew.

We call that your crew. So, it's one invitation that starts togarner, you know, this multiplier effect. And so, that's another thing thatwe'll be testing in market to see the power of that multiplying assumption.

Julian: Yeah, I loveit. I love the labels. The crew. It's good. It's good. It's, uh, it goes under,uh, rated just like throwing in natural vernacular to processes.

Zoya: I'm beingconversational. I have to tell you the thing that I'm most excited about havinggone through this whole process relative to, you know, the contrast of, ofbuilding quote unquote or overseeing mobile apps under the banking umbrella is,I can be as conversational in our tone as we want to be. We can be as real andtransparent.

I don't have branding corporate guidelines to stay with. Idon't have like regs to, you know, constrained by. So that's been the mostfreeing aspect of it all is that I can just be a human. talking to you, anotherhuman, and make sure that we're on the same page and I use words that make usget there on that same page.

And then we relate accordingly. So we'll, we'll see if our copydelivers on that, but that's kind of how we've been trying to tackle it as likeeveryday, everyday people. Yeah.

Julian: I always liketo ask for recs on books, anything that really has lasted the test of time foryou and your career, whether it's early or something recent, what has reallyhelped?

Whether it's as a founder or just staying, you know, sane as aperson, you kind of get through your day to day. What books can you bestow uponus?

Zoya: Oh my god, I'mthe worst reader. I have not read a book prior to this whole journey. Not even.I don't even have the commute anymore. I used to at least like drive onhighways, you know, for two hours a day each way when I was commuting to thecity.

But no, um, so I did a lot of reading. And, and I ensured thatthe, the books that I had chosen were commes with the phase and the point ofthe journey that I was at. So the earliest ones, I think that kind of shapedthe overall big umbrella, big picture understanding, of course was, you know,the hard thing about hard things.

Uh, of course that's currently on loans to the team. Sootherwise what you would see is a book with like lots of stickies all overbecause I felt like everything was quotable. Everything was shareable,everything was so relevant. So that was superb. Um, but the one that's a littlebit of like speaks to who I am as a person is Courage to be disliked.

Also with some stickies. This one's phenomenal. Oh, you got towrite this down. You got to look into it. It was so, I've never felt seen, likemore seen by, by this book. And I'm like, Oh, you shouldn't care about whatpeople think. Like, wow. Yes. I've always felt that. Thank you for letting meknow. Yeah. So it kind of is super applicable to life, to parenting, tobusiness.

And so this was a very surprising read that started to anchordown some of these concepts and of course all the other business stuff, thebusiness books that everyone else reads.

Julian: Yeah. I likeit. The AI tells me it is rich in wisdom that guides readers through conceptsof self forgiveness, self care, and mind decluttering.

Those are the three things.

Zoya: I'm tellingyou, but it's not, it is so Oh,

Julian: it's theeight things that are most important to me.

Zoya: Yeah, there yougo. Give it a read. Let me know what you think.

Julian: Yeah, I, um,it reminds me, I read, uh, Subtle Art On Not Giving A Fuck, and that was just areally good book overall. This

Zoya: is a nicer wayof putting it.

Julian: Well, I lovethe wisdom behind, um, like the, I'm big on mental strategies, you know.Whether you're a warrior and you're big into that kind of stuff, or inbusiness. I don't know if you've ever read Thick Faced Blackheart by a reallyfamous, um, She was a Chinese businesswoman, well, Chinese American. She has areally interesting background because her whole historical past was impacted bygovernment, economy, and everything that was going on in her country at thattime and came to America, but it was a brilliant story about resilience andpositioning your process and how you interpret information to be really strongand resolute.

And it's by a woman who went through just like, during thattime, really Toxic, you know, business environment, and obviously it's changed,but there's still a lot of that, I think, still, um, structurally, that we needto get rid of, but it was really powerful to hear, uh, her learnings and wherethey came from.

Zoya: I'd have tolook into that. No, that's very applicative for sure.

Julian: Yeah, I'msure we could have gone probably two, three hours on this episode, butunfortunately I have to come to a close. Is there any question I didn't ask youthat I should have? Anything at all?

Zoya: what's, what's,what do I do outside of all the things that we discussed?

Like what's a hot topic? Yeah,

Julian: yeah, whenyou have your time, finally, what do you like to do?

Zoya: Oh, the verylittle of it. Um, let's see what we slot in there. So, all things water,seemingly. So, love, wakeboarding. Boating, being on the water, doing anything.I grew up, you know, in the Ukraine on the water. My dad had a boat and so wekind of just did that, um, all the time and got caught in a terrible storm inthe Black Sea, but that's for another episode.

And so, uh, skiing, of course, is another form of a watersport, if you will. So skiing is a good one, wakeboarding, all this stuff.

Julian: You're kindof an adrenaline jockey. I can, I can kind of feel that.

Zoya: Oh my god, wedid walking with lions in Africa, elephant back safaris, at night time beinghunted by lions. I mean, we'll talk.

There's, there's more stuff there.

Julian: Well, yaoe,it's been such a pleasure. I'm sure we could fill up episodes after episodeswith content, but really excited for what you're building. This whole fam techkind of, I guess, I don't know if it's a revolution, but renaissance into whatmakes families cohesive and how to organize them better, especially as theworld gets more complex.

It'll be fascinating to see, and of course, best of luck. Lastlittle bit is Where can we find you and be a fan of you? Give us your plugs,your LinkedIn's, Instagram's, uh, wherever you're at, where can our audiencefollow you and be a fan of you?

Zoya: Yeah, maybeI'll be brave enough to do TikTok, so find me there under Orgo, but uh, for nowit's just our marketing website, sign up for beta, www. orgohq. com. Find me onLinkedIn, Zoya Lehrer.

Julian: Zoya, thankyou so much for joining the show today, I hope you had a good time.

Zoya: Wonderful time,appreciate it.

Julian: Of course.

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