On todays vlog I got to catch up with Danielle Bodinnar from Karista who are positioned as Australia’s most comprehensive navigational tool for all ageing, disabled and in-home services.

While I think she’s well on her way to being #1 in market what I found interesting about this chat was Danielle’s career change from multi-billion corporation to the startup world. Super proud having Danielle and her team @CreativeCubes.Co – keep watching her and the space.


Tobi Skovron: Hey, guys. Welcome back to the vlog. This morning, we’re shooting from a little bit more of a casual environment than the boardrooms, primarily because all the boardrooms have been taken up. I have an amazing guest here. Danielle from Karista.

Danielle: Correct.

Tobi Skovron: For those of you that are following along each day, we ran a pitch night here, and MYOB and the Start Up Vic, basically gave away eight businesses. It ended up being nine, because the competition was really good, at home, for 12 months here at CreativeCubes in Cremorne, and Danielle was I think one of, there was obviously nine standouts, but of those standouts, I remember being, very distinctly being, in the judges’ room, post-pitch.

Tobi Skovron: I was not familiar with what Karista does. I was, I don’t have a mother, or grandparents, that are in that, I actually don’t have grandparents, but I don’t have a mother that’s in that target demo.

Danielle: Yeah, yeah.

Tobi Skovron: But learning more about what you pitched, understanding a couple of our partners here, like Andy, absolutely has a need. For me, going into the room, having just been educated on what Karista is all about, you are an absolute standout. Not only did you win here, but you also won a couple of others, as well? Or, another?

Danielle: Yeah. Another, yeah. That’s a lot.

Tobi Skovron: How about we just bring the audience up to speed on what it is you do, and how you do it.

Danielle: Yeah. Yeah, sure. I might just start by saying thank you so much for the opportunity today. Yeah?

Tobi Skovron: Of course, sure.

Danielle: We have four spaces here, and you’ve been kind enough to let us have one, that sort of stuff, and it’s because we’re all across Australia, so thanks to you, MYOB, and Start Up Vic, ’cause it’s amazing. We’re all just so excited.

Tobi Skovron: Well, I’ve got to tell you, the energy that you bring makes this place what it is. Really, and truly.

Danielle: Oh, thank you.

Tobi Skovron: When you’re not here, obviously, there’s a buzz, and there’s a vibe really going on, but when you come in here, the big smile, and the happiness, it really does, it impacts positively across communities, as well. We are honoured to have you here.

Danielle: Well, thank you. Thank you, thank you so much. Yeah, a little bit about Karista. We’re a start-up company, and we’re launching a website that connects to elderly people, and people with disabilities to providers in Australia. We’re going to be launching nationally, over time.

Tobi Skovron: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Danielle: It’s for everyone that needs support in their home, basically. What it does is tap into the target audience’s need, to balance cost, okay, so it’s, the target audience is actually the caregiving relative, and that caregiving relative wants the very best care for their loved one at a price that they can afford.

Tobi Skovron: Sure. Let’s make the assumption that I am the customer, and my mom, God forbid, is in a position that she needs help. I go, “Actually, $100 is way out of budget for me.” I’m able to filter.

Danielle: Yeah. Yes.

Tobi Skovron: Find someone at the $60 mark, or whatever not real number, and engage that provider.

Danielle: Yeah. Yeah. I think, you’ll need a service in the area in which your mom lives in. It’s a very quick search. Much like a Trip Advisor search. Then, you’ll be provided information on peer reviews. Other like people like you are online, and that will give recommendations in the form of star ratings, and reviews.

Tobi Skovron: Sure, yeah.

Danielle: Information you can trust. It’s not providers talking about themselves. It’s other people recommending provider services. From that, you get a quality of care analysis.

Tobi Skovron: Sure. Yeah. Totally.

Danielle: Then, you’re able to filter on those, and look at which ones you want to get quotations from. You’ll be provided up to five quotes, and you select those. Then, over time, within 72 hours, you will see those quotes, and then, be directly connected to the provider. That’s the one in which we tap into care and cost on the platform. We’re going to make it available for every provider, to be on the platform. We’re not going to discriminate.

Tobi Skovron: Yeah. Yeah.

Danielle: It’s all about he provider accessing the tools to get reviews to…

Tobi Skovron: Drive their profile?

Danielle: Yeah, and drive their profile. It’s about reputation management. What we’re doing it is doing it in a really effective and efficient format. Not the excessive cost of traditional marketing. But really managing reputation online. Taking a word of mouth industry, and putting it online for people.

Tobi Skovron: I love that, because I think, so I love a couple of things about it. I love that it’s the consumer’s experience that’s sharing the positive, or negative. Which is huge.

Danielle: Yeah, yes.

Tobi Skovron: I lived in the States for eight and a half years, and Amazon first launched, and what was very clear to me, as a consumer, is I would go straight to the product, and then go straight to the reviews, and then try and understand whether or not it’s a, I often joke with my wife, is it a screen, does the issue exist between the screen and the back of the chair, by a person, or is the product or service unified?

Danielle: Yeah, no, true.

Tobi Skovron: I love that the consumer has all the power. Which keeps everyone honest.

Danielle: Yes. Yeah. Similarly, when I look at Trip Advisor, and right now, dream about holidays, I’ll go straight to the terrible reviews, right? What I want to find in those terrible reviews is the answer to why they’re terrible, or have a look at how the hotel, in this instance, responds. There’s a lot of data to suggest that responding to negative reviews actually improves your reputation, beyond all of those great reviews.

Tobi Skovron: I can see that. App store has that power.

Danielle: Yeah. Yeah.

Tobi Skovron: What I’ve seen happen is employees of companies trying to drive their ratings up.

Danielle: Oh, yes, oh, yes.

Tobi Skovron: And then, what I’ve also seen is, and I’ve been a victim of it, in true transparency, I’ve got to be careful about what I say, but I’ve been a victim of running a robot application before, and my competitors just hammering with negative reviews.

Danielle: Yeah. Oh, right.

Tobi Skovron: Then, not even participating in the transaction. I just have to download the app in order to say that I’ve purchased it. Not necessarily used it. We had huge, huge issues in the US, with that.

Danielle: Yeah. Interesting.

Tobi Skovron: With my dog walking business. In the end, the good people win. Right?

Danielle: Yeah, yeah, of course. Yes, they do.

Tobi Skovron: But I have been able to respond to those negative reviews in a very professional manner.

Danielle: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Tobi Skovron: The business didn’t suffer an ounce of pain. It was just emotional pain, ’cause you put your heart and soul into it.

Danielle: Fantastic. Yes. I know. I know.

Tobi Skovron: It’s very cool. What’s very interesting, as well, we have a very large audience across multiple disciplines. You actually, is this your first start-up?

Danielle: Yeah. Yes.

Tobi Skovron: You come from the corporate, big business world?

Danielle: Yes. Yeah, very much corporate experience.

Tobi Skovron: Okay. Can you share some of your loves, and some of your pain?

Danielle: Yeah, yeah, sure. I guess the love is the passion for the product, and you do go through some pretty rocky times, as you would know. At least pretty tough.

Tobi Skovron: Do I look worse for wear?

Danielle: No, you look all right, actually, I would say. But it can be really, really rough. But it’s that passion for your product, and knowing that you’re doing the right thing, and there’s something in it that keeps you going. You always have a mindset that you will never, ever give up. Even the rockiest times, we will never give up.

Tobi Skovron: Can I ask you, just on that, I was in big business for a total of about 18 months, and it wasn’t for me. But that was post-app, because I built a start-up, and exited.

Danielle: Yeah. Yeah.

Tobi Skovron: Joined a phenomenal company, like honestly some of the nicest, good-heated, genuine people that I’ve ever, but the business, the big business is not for me. I get out of bed every morning at 4:30. I go running through my head, and do a whole bunch of things before the kids wake up. But can I ask you, how is your head space now in the start-up, versus corporate, in terms of your energy and hunger to get to work?

Danielle: I’m working all the time. My head is spinning all of the time.

Tobi Skovron: Yeah. Sure.

Danielle: Good spinning. Exciting. A bit of nervous excitement, at times. Because it is so new. Alas, I worked for some fantastic companies as well, in both packaging and health care. Amazing companies that did so much for me, and put me in fantastic roles. Similarly, in this role, I’m creating something. I’m creating teams in a general management perspective. But here, there’s also that responsibility to our investors, which is different for me. I know the passion that they had for the product, because they’ve invested their own hard earned cash into the business. That really inspires me. The other point is that the team around this had had a lot of start-up experience, and I’m on this accelerated learning path.

Tobi Skovron: Yeah. Sure.

Danielle: Well beyond my general management experience in the corporate world. That’s got me really excited. The learning is outstanding. I’ve learned to raise capital. I’ve learned to put a company together. I’ve learned how shareholdings work. I’ve learned about digital businesses, and apps, and things like that. Things that I never learned in the corporate world, and never had the opportunity. I was guided and mentored, and whilst I still have that from the team that we have, that new particular app chain and filter, still, the learning is just very, very quick. Very, very fast, and huge.

Tobi Skovron: In the corporate world, I guess you’ve got a skill set, and you sort of dominate this skill set, and this area, and this discipline, and these responsibilities within that. In the start-up world, I feel like those disciplines are this wide.

Danielle: Yeah. Yeah.

Tobi Skovron: Do you ever think you’ll go back to corporate?

Danielle: Do I think I would go back to corporate? Probably not, I would say. Yeah, yeah. I’m hoping that, I mean, we’ll lunch with Karista, and this be, may lead to a long-term type scenario. Now, we’re looking at scaling the business, et cetera, so there’s a lot to come. But yeah, I don’t know that I’ll ever start a start-up again. But maybe it’s just a moment in time, because it has been so hectic. But I think that there will be things that will spin of of what we’re doing today that will have me really engaged, and really busy for the rest of my working years.

Tobi Skovron: Yeah. Good for you. On a personal level, I think I’m unemployable. I think that the skill, I’ve probably shot myself in the foot, then. I may need a job before things don’t work out.

Danielle: With lots of Atkinson’s. Yeah, yeah.

Tobi Skovron: Oh, I appreciate that. I’m fine, as in if this does fall over, I’m covered, on that. I just, But I just, I think from, and I had a recruiter in here eight weeks ago not for me. He was looking to position me way, way, way last March, before I was even looking at coming back to Australia. He was like, “Man, I’m,” he came in just to catch up, ’cause I hadn’t met him in person. Chris. He came in. He’s like, “Man, I’m sorry I wasn’t able to help you.” “It’s not you, buddy. It’s me.”

Danielle: Yeah. Yeah.

Tobi Skovron: “I don’t think I’m employable, and I’ll tell you why. It’s because I’m so across marketing, branding, building, employment, financials, legal, et cetera. Then, to put me in one little, ‘I just want you to focus on marketing,’ it’s not enough.” I’ve had too much. Anyway.

Danielle: Yeah, I agree. It’s across all disciplines, but there’s also depth, so you’re very high level. At the same time, you’ve got to dig down, and be very hands on.

Tobi Skovron: Yeah. Totally.

Danielle: It’s across everything. It’s wide, and it’s deep. That is the massive difference.

Tobi Skovron: Totally. Yeah.

Danielle: But it’s quick, and I like the quick, and I can see that in you, too. But yeah, so you have the ability to be quick. Whereas even in a lot of corporate businesses, and it’s fair, there’s a lot of, it’s a bigger business. The businesses that I worked for were billions of dollars.

Tobi Skovron: Sure. Sure.

Danielle: But in a start-up, you can be quick, and you can be energetic, and you can do an all-nighter and be satisfied with it, and still be interested in the morning.

Tobi Skovron: Just one?

Danielle: Every month, or something. But, yeah. Yeah, the quality, it’s completely different, and it is good to have a bit of a change. I just got to a point in my life where it was time to do something completely different. But I still talk to all of those people, in the companies I worked for before. We have an ongoing dialog. In fact, some of them are still mentoring me, today.

Tobi Skovron: It’s all about, I think of relationships. I’ve always, we had three values, at my first company, and this has transpired across other companies I’ve done, as well, but value number one was relationships. Value number two was relationships. Value number three was relationships. Really, it was the relationships that you were able to cultivate that open doors, or alternatively close the door for competitors to be able to enter that door. Hopefully, you’ve done enough. Your product, and your business, and your service have done enough to validate that door being shut to the outside world.

Danielle: Yes. Yeah, yeah.

Tobi Skovron: We could talk all day. I’m conscious that we may be boring you. Thank you so much for taking the time to come on the vlog.

Danielle: Thank you.

Tobi Skovron: We will spin this out and see if there’s anyone out there that’s interested in learning more. I’ll put all of your credentials, and your details, Linkedin, Facebooks, all your social pages together. Your website, so people can learn more. Thank you so much.

Danielle: Thank you.

Tobi Skovron: This is the awkward part of the segment. I’m not sure that Danielle knows this. I go around the back and turn off. You’ve just to stay here and look pretty. All right? Thanks, guys.

Author Tobi Skovron

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