1. How was Zankyou born?
Zankyou was founded in January 2008 on the side of a mountain in Switzerland.
My partner and friend had come to visit me in Switzerland (where I was living at the time) and we went mountain climbing. My friend had been in the process of arranging his own wedding and explained to me the challenges and stress the whole process was causing.
During the weekend, and deep in the mountains, we came up with the idea of a business that removed the headache from planning a wedding to allow couples to really focus on what was important to them… each other.
A few months later we founded Zankyou in Madrid and have been growing it ever since.
2. Why did you take the leap and chose to become a founder?
We needed more from our careers.
Originally, I started out as a consultant for a consulting firm that placed me on assignment all over the world, from Pakistan to Canada. Later, I changed company and settled down in Geneva in a corporate role, which was pleasant but perhaps was too pleasant! I would often visualise my future and never felt that it was exciting enough.
We craved a deeper level of satisfaction from our careers… we wanted adventure!
3. How did Valerian help you grow your business?
We started working with Valerian later in the lifecycle of our company. Over the years, we had tried many different types of financing… raising equity, long-term debt, short term debt and even public debt.
Valerian provides us with fast access to capital when we need it most. We have found it a very practical source of funding. Fast to get an advance and fast to reimburse it. It is very aligned with what we need and is also easy to manage by the team.
Another deciding factor was the seasonal nature of our business. When we know that demand is going to increase, Valerian is always in the background ready to help us grow. Valerian understands our business better than any bank and we really appreciate this personal touch.
4. If you had one piece of advice to give to other founders, what would it be?
It’s funny that you ask me this question because it’s not that easy to choose only one.
I would say that a good piece of advice is to avoid feeling or being alone. From my experience, many of the difficulties faced by a founder are not only practically challenging but also psychologically. It’s important to find support but it must be the right type of support.
In my case, I was fortunate enough to start out with a cofounder and I truly believe that our success comes from the fact that we are two. Every challenge is split up into two and every doubt can be shared.