It’s been a long day. Your lunch break was practically nonexistent. Dinner was a Big Mac inhaled on the way to your child’s soccer practice. You pull into your driveway, walk into your home…and a calming lavender scent wafts around you.
Of course, that’s no surprise–you’d selected Lavender on your phone before you left the soccer field.
If a friend of mine has his way, this will become reality. Bruno Lima, COO of the startup Pura Scents, was kind enough to answer some questions for me about the startup, how his life experiences have shaped his business approach, and entrepreneurship in general. Below are the Q&A. I’ve marked comments that intrigued or surprised me in Bold.
Q. Explain Pura Scents in 30 seconds (or 30 words).
A. The world’s first smart fragrance dispenser. You can control the scent in the home with your phone. Not only can you turn it on or off, you can also create a schedule that it’ll follow. If you leave the home it turns off so you don’t waste any money.
Q. What (or who) first inspired the “Pura Scents” idea?
A. My business partner’s mother-in-law wanted the house to smell better and wanted to be able to have more control of it. We pivoted tons of times and got to where we are today.
Q. What is your role in Pura Scents?
A. COO & Co-Founder
Q. I’ve seen your FB posts and Pura’s FB page–how else have you incorporated social media? What’s worked best?
A. Yes, use all sorts of social media. FB is best to reach friends, but Instagram reaches a wider audience.
Q. You have a bilingual background: how did this change your marketing efforts?
A. Part of our company’s mission is to give back. Part of everything made we give back to help build schools in Brazil [Bruno’s home]. We chose this because of my background, also the other Co-Founder served a mission there.
Q. Do you have plans to sell Pura Scents internationally, specifically, in your home country of Brazil?
A. We plan on going international later, but we are focusing primarily on the United States for now.
Q. What are the unexpected challenges you’ve seen during the startup process?
A. Turning down investments. We thought it’d be extremely hard to find investors, however it’s been harder to know that it’s best to wait and not take investments. Especially when the money they are offering is more than you’ve ever made.
Q. As an LDS (“Mormon”) member, how have your spiritual beliefs shaped the way you’ve approached your startup?
A. We pray about a lot of choices we need to make. If we don’t feel right about something we don’t linger with it. We trust that since our motives are right, and we are willing to work hard and ask God for help we can receive it.
Q. You served a mission for the LDS church in California. How did that experience shape you? What effect has it had on you as an entrepreneur?
A. [I] lost most of my fear of talking to strangers. I can approach incredibly important people and talk about our company without fainting. That’s how we landed a phone interview with Google Ventures. We were in a busy convention in SF and the president of GV was there. He was being escorted in to speak I ran up to him and stopped him before he entered, talked about us and the company [and] then gave him a card, we later emailed back and forth and they set up a phone call for us.
Q. What advice would you have for other entrepreneurs? Other LDS entrepreneurs?
A. Choose a business partner who you would trust with all your money, bank info, family secrets, etc. That choice can be more important than what you choose to do. I’ve been lucky to have a co-founder who has the skills I lack, and works harder than anyone I’ve ever known.
Q. In hindsight, what do you wish you’d done differently during the initial startup process?
A. Not kept my product a secret from everyone, afraid someone might steal it. If someone is good enough to start a business they have their own ideas, don’t worry about them taking yours. Also when you open up about it many doors open that you would have never guessed were even there.
Q. Are you currently looking to hire? If so, what’s the best way for those interested to contact you?
A. Yes, we’re about to need to really expand, plus we’ve set a great amount of equity for hirers. We need All Developers (app, software, hardware). and really we pretty much need everything. We have a great team, but everyone does everything now, we need anyone who is very good at least something. If we find that thing valuable we need them.
Thanks again, Bruno!
If you can’t wait for a “smart” scent dispenser, Pura Scents will be launching a KickStarter campaign July 1st. You can help the world smell good!
Think Pura Scents sounds like an interesting startup to work with/for? Connect with Bruno at LinkedIn, or comment below and I’ll pass the word along.