If you want the cut and dry of why the tech community loves Katy Lynch, see answer #10. Actually, that's why I love her, too.
I met Katy a little over a year ago and I was instantly inspired by her genuine support for my agency and her bubbly demeanor. She is an individual that truly supports her peers, for sure female entrepreneurs and the Chicago community in general, but what's more is that she is humble and approachable. Did I mention she is beautiful? Talk about a trifecta. Funny thing is, I don't think she even knows all of the above or that she's inspiring people left and right. Isn't that the most amazing combo in a wicked, smart woman? I think so which is why you should meet my friend...who I've been trying to pin down for a year to do this interview. This girl hustles! Meet Katy!
Tell us a little about Codeverse and the mission. How did you develop the idea further and what led you to pursue it?
Codeverse is the world’s first fully interactive coding school for kids aged 6-12, offering weeklong summer camps and monthly coding memberships. We are opening beautiful, fun, modern spaces where kids built apps and games. The first studio opens in Lincoln Park, at 819 W. Eastman Street, on July 15th!
Within the 3,600 sq ft space, kids use iPads to learn to code and also control and program dozens of high-tech objects within the space, including our 20 ft tv wall, robotic arms, drones, lights, disco balls, 3D printers, and music speakers within the space.
1. What was the moment you knew you wanted to be an entrepreneur let alone in the digital industry?
I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur when I was working at Where I’ve Been, Facebook’s largest travel application back in 2008. During my time there, I single-handedly managed all social media marketing efforts for the company. I quickly recognized that there was high demand, from startups, for social media services.
When WIB sold to Tripadvisor in 2010, I spun off and started my own social media marketing agency called SocialKaty. I ran the business for four years with fellow entrepreneur, Andrew Angelos, until I sold the business in 2014 to Manifest Digital.
2. What was the most difficult moment in launching your brand? How did you get through it?
Just getting started, to be honest.
Launching a business is a huge commitment, and there is a lot of uncertainty. But, that is part of what makes entrepreneurship so great. You learn so many valuable lessons about business as you build your brand. What matters most is that you work harder than you’ve ever worked in your life, and don’t give up!
3. How would you describe a typical day? What's your morning to evening routine?
I wake up every morning around 7am and read what’s happening in the Chicago tech community. My go-to websites are Chicago Tribune, Crain’s, Chicago Inno, Built In Chicago, and Chicago Women’s Magazine.
I spend most of my mornings and early afternoons in meetings with my team, or on calls with strategic partners (schools, non-profits) or our vendors.
I absolutely love attending events, mentoring entrepreneurs, or participating in speaking engagements around the city. I spend most of my evenings doing these things! When I’m not at an event, I am spending time with Craig, attending concerts, and keeping fit. (Soulcycle and Iron & Oar are my go-to workout spots!)
4. What’s one thing you learned about yourself in becoming an entrepreneur?
As an entrepreneur, you’ll receive more “no’s” than any other time in your life. You’ll make endless mistakes, and there will be so many times that you’ll want to give up.
I learned how important it is to pick myself up, time and time again, and keep pushing forward in the direction of reaching my goals.
5. What individuals, tastemakers, celebrities, entrepreneurs, public figures inspire you?
My mother is my biggest inspiration. Sadly, she passed away in 2011, but not a day goes by that I don’t think of her. She was always positive and delightful to be around. She always encouraged me, and my siblings, to pursue our passions.
Music greatly inspires me, too. My brother, Johnny, is a musician and runs an amazing record label called Lost Map in Scotland. He is so smart, creative, and driven, but he’s also humble and truly one of the funniest people I have ever met.
6. If you weren't in the tech industry...and could be anything else...what would it be?
Hah! No idea. I can’t imagine not being in tech.
7. What's on your Spotify?
Hot Chip, Cut Copy, Empire of the Sun, LCD Soundsystem, and Bjork.
8. What’s your vice? Everyone has one...wine, chocolate, This is Us?
Portillo’s fries. Enough said.
9. Wine or classic cocktail?
A big, fat glass of Malbec, please.
10. What’s the best career advice you ever received?
Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing. Focus on your own goals and your vision.
11. 5 must-have apps that you need in your life to function?
Slack, Spotify, Uber, Headspace, and Postmates.
12. Bonus question - What's next for Codeverse? Do you have something new in the works?
The first Codeverse studio opens in July, but we’re already working on three more in Chicago within the next 18 months. In the next 5 years, there will be a Codeverse studio in every major metropolitan area in the US. Our mission statement is to teach a billion kids to code, which we realize could take 30 years, so SaaS and online learning is a huge part of that mission!
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