Don’t be afraid to take that leap of faith – you are better than you think you are!”
Neha is the Co-Founder and CMO at Vertoe – a leading short term luggage storage solution leveraging shared economy with 50+ locations across Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. Vertoe helps solve the problem of lugging by helping tourists find nearby locations where they can store their bags safely.
Born and raised in India, Neha moved to New York City after getting married to her childhood sweetheart. She has a diverse experience of working across CPG, Retail, Publishing before she co-founded Vertoe. She is currently based in New York City and in her free time, Neha loves to read books, travel to places that are closer to nature, paint or simply cook.
Where did the idea for Vertoe come from?
My husband and I were in LA in the summer of 2015 and on our last day when we were super excited about exploring LA beaches, we found ourselves stuck with lugging problem that ruined our entire vacation day! And strangely enough there was no solution in the market and we decided that we did not want anyone else to go through this terrible experience. We researched and realized this is a real need experienced by many fellow travelers. That is how Vertoe was born!
Vertoe is a short term storage platform connecting local shops to utilize their unused space for storing extra bags with travelers stuck in the lugging problem. Our service is ideal if you are in or out of your Airbnb or hotel where you can’t store your bags, an event, shopping or simply enjoying a day out! The bags can be stored for a few hours to a few days or weeks. Vertoe is currently operational via 50+ locations across all tourist and transit spots in New York City.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
In a startup everyday is an adventure. It can keep you on your toes all the time. My core responsibilities revolve around handling marketing but as a co-founder, I have to wear multiple hats and help wherever I am needed.
Google calendar and my daily tracker – Those two things help me with productivity.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Once we ideate, we try to access the opportunity of the idea. If there is a potential, we try to run small tests in a lean way to build, measure and learn.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Sharing Economy! Thanks to the hyperconnectivity due to internet, people are able to connect and empower each other by providing value in a way like never before. Infact, Vertoe is riding on the same trend!
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Daily dose of yoga + meditation helps me power through difficult situations in a calm manner. Also, I love connecting with people be it customers or employees – for me they are the most valuable resource. I like to invest my time to talk to them about the challenges they face so we can constantly improve our offering.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t be afraid to take that leap of faith – you are better than you think you are!
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
This is tricky. I feel most people won’t believe that in a few years, entire transportation would be autonomous with no need for human driving. Although people get scared at the thought of giving control to a machine but companies like Google have already refined driverless technology where it’s much safer than a human driver in certain environments and it’s only a matter of time before this trend takes off.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Build, Measure, Learn, Repeat
Test in a lean way till you discover the optimal solution. And even then keep refining.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Be open to criticism and feedback.
We take customer feedback very seriously – for example, security was the number 1 concern for most of the customers. To resolve that we rolled out tamper proof security seals with a digital token system and it has been well received.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
In the initial months as a young entrepreneur, I would get caught up in ‘day to day’ execution without accessing the optimal solution since things move really fast in a startup.
I got into the habit of aligning my goals with the macro level company goals by analyzing my action items on a weekly basis (things move fast in a startup!)
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
A product to help with regulate the rising pollution levels in a country like India.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
There are some things money can’t buy. Recently my parents visited me to New York City and I arranged a boat cruise for my parents that costed me less than $100. My parents were very happy and proud. For me this was the best ‘less than’ $100 I spent.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Google Calendar. I have to hustle through the day given my role in Vertoe. Reminders on Google Calendar help me time my tasks with focus. I also like the fact that I can attach the relevant documents to each reminder so I don’t have to search my files on the drive everytime I start a new task.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Lean Startup – Build, Measure, Learn
Blurb of the book – “Rather than wasting time creating elaborate business plans, The Lean Startup offers entrepreneurs – in companies of all sizes – a way to test their vision continuously, to adapt and adjust before it’s too late.”
What is your favorite quote?
This quote is from my guru – ‘How deeply you touch another life is how rich your life is’.
- To bring ideas to life, simply ideate, build, measure, learn and repeat.
- Talk to your customers and be open to feedback in order to refine your offering. Being open to criticism can empower you in many ways.
- Adopt a way to track your work progress in alignment with the company goals. This will always keep you on track!
- Practise Yoga or Meditation. A calm mind can resolve many challenging situations.
- Sharing Economy as a trend really excites me! Thanks to the hyperconnectivity due to internet, people are able to connect and empower each other by providing value in a way like never before. Infact, Vertoe is riding on the same trend!
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Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.