2017 SVP Startup Profile: Gentle
April Chen ’19: Co-founder (also SVP designer-in-residence!)
Michelle Yu, Wellesley College ’19: Co-founder
Cards are mainly written on and sent during the holiday season, or for someone’s birthday. However, these small gestures of love are often neglected when people are in most need of encouragement, whether it be after a failure, rejection or disappointment. That is why Gentle exists to bridge the gap between empathy and action by providing a meaningful way for people to reach out to those who are hurting. Through Gentle, anyone can send an interactive card with a colorable cover that has words to meditate upon and a unique exercise inside to kindle hope in the person on the receiving end.
What is the story behind your startup?
So often, I let the awkwardness or fear of saying something wrong stop me from reaching out to others who are going through difficult times, let alone buy a sympathy card with flowery words and a lame cover. Over the past year, as I walked with friends in low moments and navigated personal grief and loss, this idea slowly molded and took form.
What’s been a big milestone/accomplishment you’ve made since Summer Venture Program started?
We sorted out all the details, social media sites, website and partnerships in order to be ready to use Kickstarter as a platform to launch and receive initial orders for our products. Our campaign goes live on July 17th!
What’s been a big obstacle/surprise that you faced?
One surprise that we faced is how unprepared we were to answer the question of, “What is your vision for the venture?” We had vague ideas but no concrete action plan, since we got caught up in planning our crowdfunding campaign, and had not given as much thought to beyond that. So we had to stop and consider what our answer was.
Any tips for aspiring entrepreneurs that you want to share?
Find and cultivate a community willing to support you through both failures and successes.
Meet Gentle at the Summer Venture Showcase on Thursday July 27. Register now! >>