My Blossom

Startup of the Month · January 2020

My Blossom

Why did you found your startup, which problem do you address and how do you solve it? 

A few years ago I tried to recover from a surgery and was looking for an app offering me Yoga and Meditation which could support my healing process. Back then you could find this type of content primarily on YouTube, there were already some meditation apps – but their content was all in English – and none of them were customizable based on my personal needs. At this point in time Ralph and I had already gained several years of experience in developing and managing digital products with a larger German media company. So we decided to test if a holistic self care app based on your personal healing needs would tackle potential users‘ interest.

Our first test campaign on Facebook and Instagram showed there was an overwhelmingly high interest, especially from female target groups, for such a holistic approach – and it showed that these target groups were also highly interested in healthy nutrition and mindfulness in general. This is why we developed our MVP as holistic self care app with +100 premium programs based on our users‘ emotions.

What is special about your business-model, what are you doing differently? 

Compared to competition, we offer the full range of self care: With My Blossom premium self care videos you can practice Yoga and Pilates, in different lengths and for different levels of experience, you can meditate indoor but also outdoor, you get a broad range of healthy recipies – and all of this based on how you feel today. Our built-in emotion tracker and mindfulness diary allows our users to capture their personal state of mind and positive moments on a daily basis and thereby helping them to become more relaxed and satisfied in their everyday lives.

Prospects can subscribe to My Blossom on an monthly and an annual basis with respective price discount. And our 7 day trial allows new users very conveniently to try My Blossom for free.

Ralph and I originally planned to launch My Blossom as freemium product, but changed into full premium shortly before launch. I am personally happy about this decision because our in-life conversion rates now clearly proofed we went down the right path.

My Blossom Founders: Julia and Marc Laukemann and their son Leander.

Which were the biggest challenges you needed to overcome in the beginning? 

After our first successful market test, with no MVP yet built, I tried to pitch to a couple of investors. Back then I was 6 months pregnant and still working full time. But with the birth of my son clearly visibly ahead of us, no investor believed we could do it.

This is when I decided to go for a full bootstrap: 3 months after my son was born, we started designing and coding our app, producing our content, building My Blossom brand and planning our Go-to-Market. 10 months later My Blossom app was ready for launch.

So building My Blossom with no funding, no team behind and a small baby I carried with me to every meeting, was definitely one of the biggest challenges. I’m proud today that we made it and I am extremely happy My Blossom could already help hundreds of users in finding more balance, energy and joy in their lives.

I wish there was a dedicated value score for a founder‘s resilience, endurance and dedication we as female, part time founders and mothers could refer to when pitching our start ups to investors. As former manager of quite diverse teams and mother I can definitely confirm that women who show this level of energy each and every day are literally able to „move mountains“ – and should be a valuable investment target!

What was the most valuable advice somebody gave to you during your foundation phase? 

Definitely in reviewing our first Go-to-Market assumptions. Unlike in a big corporate – which is what Ralph and I were used to – when you bootstrap your own start up, you don’t have a lot of budget to test pricing, subscription logics or campaigns. So we relied on a few very open minded and brilliant ex-founders who shared their knowledge and experience with us. This helped us in making the right decisions shortly before launch.  

What was your greatest success so far? 

Definitely in seeing our funnel work and product used. With only €20k Marketing budget we managed to reach more than 15.000 Downloads, 1.500 users subscribed to My Blossom and our content was used more than 20.000 times. We also generated some media coverage (Shape, Fit for Fun and Brigitte, to mention a few which are core in our target group) and influencers started talking about My Blossom. All of this gave me confidence in My Blossom potentially becoming something bigger than „just a self care app“, which our MVP is today.

I want My Blossom to be a fulfulling destination for everyone who seeks more balance and happiness in their lives. The idea behind My Blossom has changed my own life and I want to enable others to feel and live this happiness as well.

What are your milestones? 

Closing our seed round soon, improve our product & emotion tracking, scale our Marketing, build up a team, introduce My Blossom to at least more (European) markets, test our planned coaching platform with real users and launch it – and ultimately make more than 1 million users happier and healthier in the markets we operate in.

What is your biggest need/your next challenge? 

Getting enough funding to be able to reach our milestones. 

What are your learnings so far? 

In a positive way I am learning every day. We all acquired new skillsets, put even more our customers into the focus of all our decisions – but also learned that a successful MVP delivery, users loving your product, your conversion funnel working and solid 5 year plans does not automatically enable a Start up to get easier access to proper funding in Germany. I’m attending Y Combinator’s Start up School (Y Combinator being one of the most successful Start up Accelerators in the US) at the moment and it is very refreshing there to learn that simplifying your messages will help you maximize your opportunities for funding.

What would you recommend other founders? 

  • First: Go ahead and do it. It is the doing mode where you learn the most.
  • Second: Obstacles are always opportunities. They make your brain become more flexible in finding innovative solutions.
  • Last but not least: Build a diverse team with people complementing their skillsets and strengths but also people that share a core set of values.

If a team: where did you meet? 

Ralph and I met 10 years ago in a corporate office outside Munich, where Ralph applied for a job in my team which consisted of only 3 people back then and was facing a huge challenge: to deliver the first live sport streaming service to German mobile users, with a short time to market, a small budget and at a time almost nobody believed consumers would be willing to watch live matches on small screens. So the starting point of our relationship was quite similar to the journey we are going through with My Blossom now – with the difference that today we see a much faster consumer take up when it comes to digital self care products.

My Blossom at BayStartUp: Julia Laukemann and Ralph Karliczek.

Marc and I were originally friends, later became partners and co-founders and today we are not only husband & wife but also happy parents. We both have lived and are living quite stressful lives – which is why very early on in our relationship we encouraged each other to find balance through Yoga, Meditation and Mindfulness.

What went really wrong since you founded? 

There was no disaster from which we had to recover, but there were definitely a couple of decisions I would take differently today. When you operate with tiny budgets during bootstrap phase you tend to try and create everything on your own. This prolongs time to market and increases the risk of running into technical dead ends when you need flexibility for scaling your solution. Next time – if ever – I start a journey like this, I will make sure external funding gets anticipated to enable scaling at an earlier stage.

What was the roughest rejection you ever got in a pitch? 

Can I quote a sentence I heard several times? „Nice idea, let me discuss it with my wife.“ I was relieved to hear Jessica Alba heard this sentence also multiple times from investors before her start up – which is also targeting primarily female target groups – finally took off.

Where do you see your startup in 3 years? 

Rolled out in at least 7 more markets, with our self care approach complemented by our coaching platform – delivering both, comforting and value based happiness to hundred thousands of users. 

Do you still have a proper social live since the founding? 

I have had more social life as a founding mother than I would have had without my start up. I was blessed with a baby who was easy to carry around and sleep at the right time (e.g. during workshops and content shootings). And when cracking start up challenges fulfills you, you don’t experience this as stress and therefore remain a sociable person for your family and your friends.

Do you have a role model and if so, who is it? 

Funny enough they aren’t founders, they are politicians. It used to be Hillary Clinton when I was younger. I admire women who try to drive change from within the system and don’t pull back when they experience failure. Today it could be Ursula von der Leyen, if she succeeds in turning the EU into a fossil fuel free continent and opening up for new economic logics and disruptive innovation. 

If an Investor gave you 500.000 Euro, what would you do with the money? 

At My Blossom we have a very clear short, mid and long term roadmap. €500k would enable us to start delivering our 5 year minimum base plan for our self care product in DACH. We would split this investment into some budget to improve our back end and front end, the major part to scale (also allowing us to re-invest in Marketing) and a small part to hire a small team.

Let´s say, you are the Governing Mayor of Munich for one day, what would you change? 

If it is just for one day, I would invite the top managers of Munich’s big companies for a meet up with the most innovative start up founders – and discuss how we can help transition Munich into a more digital, more innovative city which champions a carbon neutral economy. 

Who would you like to have dinner with and why? 

Relating back to the role model I had for many years, Hillary Clinton: Already in high school I wrote my first thesis about her approach (as a first lady) to help change the health care system in the United States. I did have the chance to attend an event recently where she spoke to a smaller audience and her clear view on how our digital economy links with national and some dynamics of international politics keep on fascinating me. Getting the chance to have a true 1:1 with her would of course be a dream come true.

Who is the superbrain in your team and what is his/her superpower?

There isn’t one single super brain at My Blossom, it is the composition of our different skillsets, backgrounds and experiences which make us an unbeatable team. And by that I do not only mean the founders, but the entire virtual team we’ve built of designers, engineers,  content producers and Marketeers – who are all united when it comes to our mission of making people happier in their every day lives.