In this special column called the “TLC x Fempreneurs Series”, we will be featuring inspiring Female Entrepreneurs (Fempreneurs) in short. You will be able to have a sneak peek at their mindsets and their daily habits.
Believe in the power of community. On some days when you feel big goals are impossible, or when you feel like giving up, you need to lean on your like-minded community. You can even “borrow” motivation, and in turn “return” with your own inspiring stories to pay it forward.
Meet Audrey Ottevanger (DataNoodle)
Tell us a little about yourself. What is your business/ brand about?
I graduated with a business degree and my first few roles were in marketing and business development but then I landed a sales role at PayPal. It was like being thrown into the deep end as I had no sales experience nor payments experience. But I really wanted to get into tech and this was back before “women in tech” was a thing so I was willing to take any role. I wanted to be a part of the tech that was going to revolutionize the way people paid. So I dived in, head first. I was treading water in my first 6 months.
After being in Fintech for almost 10 years, I have now started my own tech company, DataNoodle which is an e-commerce analytics platform. Our features include a competitor pricing tracking and monitoring software tool for businesses.
What got you started on your business?
I met my business partner (now CEO) when he was working at eBay and I was then at PayPal. His experience is in e-commerce product management and found the same issues teams faced with data throughout his career. He had an idea to build DataNoodle and I jumped in with him. This was 6 years ago when the idea was formulated, we then started working on the product with my 2nd business partner (now CTO) 3 years ago, and finally launched on 14 February in beta.
Before you started on your business, what did you do on a full-time basis?
I was in fintech and online payments for almost 10 years.
What were some difficulties you faced in your life and how did you overcome them?
I froze my eggs when I was 40 as was still single and wanted to give myself options. I implanted those embryos with my husband last year but it didn’t work out and had a miscarriage after 10 weeks. 1 month later I had a pre-cancer scare. It just felt like everything was tumbling down all at once.
I left corporate life to go full-time in this start-up. Due to a lack of funding, the product development was delayed to only launch this year. This has been an opportunity cost for me.
I also have an added challenge of my husband who has also started his own business in AgriTech. 2 start-ups, no income on both fronts, and savings depletion is a sure way to see stress levels sky rocket. However, we have a great relationship tool which is open communication between us. We discuss the challenges and also the milestone, our dreams, and our goals. We do regular emotional check-ins. We do not know if any of our businesses will be successful but knowing I have a supportive partner has helped me tremendously.
What excites you most about your industry?
DataNoodle is in a competitive industry says the VCs I have spoken to. Many big players out there and very fragmented. I take this with a pinch of salt. I truly believe we can disrupt the way e-commerce data is collected and used which will help the e-commerce business grow their revenue. When I joined PayPal, my passion was to help companies go online easier and to access buyers they would not have been able to without a payments platform. Now, that has evolved into understanding how difficult it is to make decisions on what is right for the business, and what levers to pull to grow and I believe DataNoodle will help with that in a more approachable and democratized way.
What is your vision / personal motto?
Be bold, strong, and courageous. At the same time, forgive yourself and always be grateful for where you are and what you have.
Do you have any words of advice for other ladies who are starting their business/ starting to pursue their dream?
It is probably one of the most challenging and rewarding things I’ve done in my life. Having a great idea is one thing but the ability to fund it and get the right resources to execute is another. This is a major consideration when developing a tech product along with getting the right business partners. Starting a business also means hustling every day which means working smart, doing the things that other people don’t want to do, and doing it with purpose and passion because you believe in it. Trust me, in the end, it’s the passion that will take you to the next level.
Self-motivation is the underlying foundation here. This journey has given me highs and lows and sometimes, all of it in one day. There are times, I want to give up on the business, and other days, I feel grateful for where we are. All this ‘inner chat’ keeps me grounded and is my motivation to put one foot in front of another to drive the business forward. I also think finding your balance between work, exercise, and family is incredibly important. For me, that means yoga, spin, dogs walks, wine, and finding time for my friends.
One of my favorite quotes: There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure – Paulo Caelho.
What have you learnt recently that you hope the other ladies can take back?
When I was looking through these questions, I went blank thinking that I’m not that spectacular. I do suffer from imposter syndrome, as many females do, thinking what I have accomplished is not good enough. A good friend reminded me of my achievements – I am a certified yoga teacher and have been teaching part-time for a while now and I have left the cushy environment of corporate life to start a business and not draw a salary for the last 2 years…just to name a few. It is clear that we women, may not be able to see our achievements so ask a good friend to name a few and I think many will be surprised at how amazing you are.
How do you think you can help ladies to feel confident and empowered?
Sharing my life stories, the ups and downs, the laughter and tears all have shaped me into whom I am today. I was also lucky to have wonderful mentors both male and female who have influenced me in many ways. I hope to be that to young aspiring females.
What is one thing you are grateful for?
I am grateful for the love in my life. To have lost it and to have had it.
What do you do in your free time as self-care? How do you unwind?
I exercise 5 times a week by either practicing yoga or going for a spin class for cardio. This helps me release and stay grounded. I’m also a feeder and love to cook for friends and host dinner parties. That’s not relaxing as cooking in a small kitchen for 8 people can be stressful but I do love doing it. That is my language of love.
Let us know more about what you do!
DataNoodle is an e-commerce business analytics platform that collaborates website, sales, campaign, social and competitor data, converting it into actionable insights for accurate business decisions. We take away the need for a team of business analysts where business intelligence is presented in an easy-to-understand manner to help make better business decisions. We are currently offering the product for FREE.
In my previous role in PayPal and Ecommpay, I have been featured in multiple publications like Fintech Times, Payments & Card Network, The Star Online, etc
Connect with DataNoodle!
Are you a Fempreneur too?
Connect with us – we’d love to feature you! Say hi to us at [email protected] or reach out to us via our social media.
Read TLC x Fempreneur Series:
- Margaret Wu, For Beloved One (Singapore)
- Nerissa Low, Liht Organics (Singapore)
- Maddy Barber, Madly Gems (Singapore)
- Dr. Menka Gupta, Nutra Nourish (Singapore)
- Lily Kew, Kew Organics (Singapore)
- Vikki Tear, SoyCraft (Singapore)
- Ezza Yusof, 2morrow Official (Malaysia)
- Julie Yim, Lilin+Co (Malaysia)
- Zairin Azman, UMMA (Malaysia)
- Liza Morales, Ecotecture Design Studio (Philippines)