Lessons Learned: Woome CEO Stephen Stokols talks about passion and thick skin
Stephen Stokols, founder and CEO of speed-dating Web site Woome.com, learned a few things while running his first startup, JustWhatIWant.com, which was sold "profitably" at the height of the dotcom bubble in 2000.
"Don't ignore the macro conditions," says Stokols, who also helped revamp the search portal AltaVista before it was sold.
Based on the number of Vator.tv viewers who have checked out the one-on-one interview Stokols did with Vator.tv's Bambi Francisco, Woome may have struck a nerve with consumers who are looking for love but don't want to spend a lot of time doing it.
Another piece of advice? "Keep the passion," Stokols says, because it can provide the energy needed to overcome obstacles.
He's also a believer in "thick skin," which can help entrepreneurs take rejection and criticism and use it constructively, rather than "getting too defensive," he says.
For more on the company, which is backed by Atomico Investments, the financing vehicle of Skype founder Niklas Zennstrom, you can see Stokol's video pitch here.
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WooMe is an online speed dating platorm that leverages cutting edge in-browser voip and video technology to enable users to meet new people in a fast, fun and free fashion. Meet five people in five minutes in live topical speed sessions such as "Vator.tv lovers in Los Angeles."
WooMe brings the speed dating craze online and extends it to let users meet new people live in fast, fun and free speed sessions. There are no long forms or lengthy profile descriptions, simply find a session that interests you and meet 5 people in 5 minutes. Or, create your own sessions based on your interests, such as "TechCrunch Readers in San Fran". Invite friends or strangers to play with you and immediately decide if you are woo'd by someone. WooMe's in-browser video and voice capability delivers a live interactive experience where users play for fun, to hook up, or just meet new people around shared interests. There are no tedious profiles, no software to download, and best of all it's free.
Backed by Niklas Zennström's (Skype Founder) Atomico Investments, the original investors in Skype (Mangrove Capital), and Klaus Hommels (Europe's Investor of the Year, 2006), WooMe is catapulting the $1 billion+ speed dating market into the online world. With WooMe, meeting people online is transformed into a live interactive experience that makes sifting through contrived profiles a thing of the past.
Founded in 2006, WooMe's management team has experience in bringing innovative web applications to market for companies including: AltaVista, CMGI, BT, Accenture, Qwest, Shopzilla, Trilogy. Stephen Stokols, Co-Founder/CEO, successfully sold an internet start-up and went on to become BT's youngest VP, growing their eCommerce revenues over 300% to over $1bn in his first 12 months. George Berkowski, Co-Founder/Product Director, brings extensive technical and marketing experience in the online space and in outer space (he played a role in sending the first tourist to the Space Station).