We talked to Elena Köstler of Niluk.app about meaningful offline social contact, and she had the following to say:-
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Elena Köstler: Thank you, we are doing surprisingly well. Nobody got sick yet; we are very lucky.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Niluk.app.
Elena Köstler: I am a cognitive Neuropsychologist who suffered from social loneliness as a teenager. For more than 8 years. I know how bad that can feel. I kept myself asking: Why are there dozens of dating apps, but why is it so hard to find someone to go for a bike ride or to invite for a cup of coffee?
I got so fed up with browsing on social media platforms. I searched for a simple platform to invite others on your daily adventures. I couldn’t find any! I then decided to challenge my idea by crowdfunding it. Can I raise 25k Euros with just an idea? This „stress“ test gave me the confidence to keep on pushing. Now we are a small and very talented team working towards a web app going live soon.
How does Niluk.app innovate?
Elena Köstler: We are facilitating meaningful offline social contact with a social NETWORK (not media) platform. Our goal is to connect people offline, more meaningfully based on similar interests. No dating, no social media. Niluk.app will get people OFF the phone and will connect them offline in the real world based on similar interests and hobbies. The future aim is to use AI to connect similar people with similar interests & hobbies to guarantee friendship success or likelihood.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Elena Köstler: We took our app off the grid as soon as COVID-19 started to avoid people meeting in the real world. This was an intense move, but it felt right to protect people. This gave us the opportunity to do our homework concerning software development and UX/UI. As soon as we can meet again, the app will shine in a new light with an optimized UX.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Elena Köstler: Yes, as described above, we needed to decide whether the app will stay live or not. In retrospect, it was a good choice.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and Niluk.app in the future?
Elena Köstler: As soon as you realize that anxiety is normal, the stress decreases. It is OK to feel anxious, to not know how the future will look like. This is also the thrill that entrepreneurs love so much. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be entrepreneurs. Stress, on the other hand, is a different story. I am exercising a lot that helps to deal with stress. In the end, everything is relative; let’s not forget that.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Elena Köstler: There are countless competitors, and that is a big fortune. Imagine there would only be one car or jeans manufacturer? We would live in a one dimensional and boring world—the same accounts for apps and online platforms. We would like to claim our own niche and celebrate that with our community. Wo do not look back and focus on our game.
Your final thoughts?
Elena Köstler: Smile, be happy, to be healthy and active. Especially during COVID, we should realize that business is not the most important thing in the world. Our health and the planet is. Let’s not forget that. If you’re not healthy, so is your business and your team. Focus on your own mental and physical health as much as you can. Period. If you are not a „sustainable“ and healthy leader, you’ll see it in the health of your business.
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