NY Startup Interview: Ilya Zeldin, Founder, 2gnōME

2gnōME (to know me) establishes precise measurement of an individual’s behavior, character, skills and competencies. Think Klout or Kred but for real-life values that actually matter. The company drives service adoption through B2B channel partners.  The following is an interview with Ilya Zeldin, Founder of 2gnōME.

Who Is Your Target Market and What Are You Attempting?

2gnōME offerings target 50 million youth and young professionals. For this demographic, our service avails self-awareness – in real life, through the eyes of trusted peers – to achieve a competitive edge with higher emotional intelligence and to advance careers.

What is your company/service?

2gnōME an entirely private, interactive and authentic way to understand how the way we see ourselves compares to the way other people actually see us. For ‘up-and-coming’ generation and professionals in the pursuit of self-realization, we created a safe place to reveal misconceptions about self in order to gauge personal and professional aptitude, predilection, prowess and fortitude.

What were you doing before?

Built two start-ups and run channel organizations in cloud computing for some of the largest names in the business.

Tell me how it all started, where did your vision/inspiration come from? (story of founder background, origin of the idea, etc):

About three years ago, I was walking home from a meeting which didn’t go so well, and I was replaying the conversion, going through a mental dialogue of “If I said this, he would’ve said that,” and so on. I was suddenly struck that given available access and technology, there has to be a way to understand how other people see us. Not in a stupid way like ‘am I fat?’ or ‘who likes these shoes?’ Rather, in a way that makes you smarter. 2gnōME is the manifestation of this brief moment.

Why does the world need your product? Why now?

We live in a pretty narcissistic society, and this is especially true for 50m people in the 18-35 demographic who consider pursuit of self-attainment and self-realization as important drivers in their lives and often a source of anxiety. Our approach is tackling a known fact: that when it comes to the image we project onto others, people are lousy self-evaluators. We think there is an opportunity to help them reach desired objective by learning how others actually see them through an authentic, easy and user-controlled format that enhances relationships and advances careers.

What keeps you motivated?

Love of my craft and exposure to amazing people.

What keeps you up at night?

Occasional crying from my 2.5-year old baby girl.

What would you consider to be a successful result for your company?

2gnoME’s success is measured by our ability to empower users to improve and grow by offering them ‘contours of reality.’ When people become better aware of themselves and others around them, and there is a way to act where it matters – this ‘result-action’ continuum creates positive social change, at the individual level.

What has been the most challenging aspect about building your startup so far? What has been the most rewarding?

Over the past 60 days, we are seeing that partners large and small want to pilot and implement our approach because they see value for their users, individual and corporate – that’s incredibly exciting and rewarding. The most challenging thing is to stay true to our execution plan rather than giving in to pitfalls of trying to be everything for everyone.

What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?

Bring only what you believe in and avoid the fashionable rush.

What do you do for fun when not working on your company?

I get inspired by my daughter’s pure energy and unabated curiosity. When she sleeps, I like to read and play backgammon.

What is your favorite drink? (this is a Demos and Drinks event…)

I enjoy a Jameson, preferably with Hefeweizen

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