Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Basil Eleftheriades, Co-Founder and CEO of Autum Dating, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Hey reader, glad you found our Go Solo! My name's Basil, co-founder of Autum. Let me walk you through a visual story of the problem our team is tackling. You go to a restaurant, you're starving, and you pick up the menu. All of a sudden, your mind is racing. SO MANY choices. Is it going to be fish tacos? No, no... you ate those a few days ago… Are you going with the burger? What you're feeling at that very moment is called choice paralysis. It happens when the brain's given too many options at the same time. That's EXACTLY how the online dating scene is right now.
People struggle to settle and choose a partner because the next best thing is "just a swipe away." At Autum, we're taking a scientific approach to solving choice paralysis. The Autum app lets you swipe on as many profiles as you want, BUT you can only match with three people at a time, so you need to consider the people you match with. Once you've reached three matches, the swipe deck locks, and you need to end one of your three conversations to keep swiping. This removes choice paralysis and increases the chance of finding a suitable partner you are happy with, according to countless scientific studies on this topic.
Our app is made for the millions of people who are tired of all the bullsh*t that comes with online dating. We hope Autum will help bring more people together because bringing people together is powerful!
Tell us about yourself
I come from a research background in Electrical Engineering. I pursued postgraduate studies because solving scientific problems is fun! There are so many different ways to approach a problem in science. Making a startup is kind of similar it lets you solve a problem with a creative approach. It's exciting to figure out how things work and to crack puzzles. My team and I started working on Autum once we talked to hundreds of university students and found that nobody actually valued their matches on these dating apps. People just matched with others and had no intention to talk to them. It takes so much processing power to get to know all these different people and make a decision that the brain's answer is simple- don't deal with it.
I am motivated because I like helping people be happy, and it's fun making a company with my team. We all believe in creating meaningful connections for people in a way that cuts out the bullsh*t of online dating and gets people to meet up in person, rather than bombarding them with infinite possibilities, leading to dating burnout.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
It would definitely be the community we are growing with Autum. We were able to bring out over 800 people to our Autum events! It's so cool seeing a bunch of people coming out who are using the app and getting to meet them in person. I've met so many amazing human beings who are really excited about our fresh approach to online dating. It's always a pleasure when people ask us if they can become a brand ambassador for Autum or want to get involved!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things about being a business owner is convincing yourself that you are making the best choices for the company. There is also the challenge of striking a work-life balance: Sometimes, my team and I can't stop thinking about the company and what we have to do next, so finding that balance of turning off our brains can also be hard.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Solve a problem you personally experience.
- Gauge the market–how many other people feel your pain?
- Network–find someone in your industry who believes in you & your team and can help guide you.
I think these three tips are a solid starting point for anyone who is thinking of pursuing entrepreneurship. Always be open to networking and listening to everyone's opinions.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Balancing full-time jobs and Autum while spread across three different cities has not been easy for our team, but each member bringing such a unique skill set to the table is a key part of our success. I want to give everyone a shoutout for all their hard work! Jody Tompkins, Cleo Tellier, and Jason Rivers are my fellow co-founders who have supported Autum since day one and have helped bring it to life. Thank you to all the mentors and advisors for guiding us. Lastly, our most recent addition to the team is Stacey Speranza, who brings a fresh new perspective to our group as a university student with experience as an entrepreneur herself in The Business Casual Podcast.
Now that you've learned a bit more about us, we would LOVE to learn more about you, either at our next party OR on our app! Happy swiping ;)
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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