From Corporate to Co-Founder of YulLfe

Jonathan Roomer talks about leaving corporate to co-founding YuLife, including how tough and fun it is to run a startup company. Read the full article here.

Jonathan Roomer - 8 November 2018

Life is all about risk, none more so than in the startup world. So, let’s start with a risk.

Here is the TL;DR version of this blog.

TL;DR: Most of what people tell you about startups being hard is true, but you have no idea how much fun it is!

Here is the SL;PR version (Slightly Longer; Please Read):

It has been nearly two years since I left the corporate world to begin life as a co-founder.

Photo by Mantas Hesthaven on Unsplash

I wanted to share with you, my dear reader (and not just my imaginary friends, and very real wife), my journey with yulife so far.

You can breathe a sigh of relief as there will be just one pitch for yulife and that comes right at the end...

I have learned a huge amount about the fundraising game, running lean, optimising funnels and all the other cool startup nomenclature. I can absolutely corroborate everything that you have read about startups being hard, pressurised and character building.

But, they don’t tell you how much fun it can be.

Here’s a quote, because I love quotes:

The historian will tell you what happened. The novelist will tell you what it felt like.

-E. L. Doctorow

For today, I imagine myself as that novelist (more like occasional blogger).

There are two parts to the fun: being in a startup generally, and yulife specifically.

Being in a startup is fun, you get to pitch crazy ideas — and to be taken seriously!

I love cold pitches with potential customers. There is no feeling better than seeing them move from sceptical to “this is cool” and asking to meet again!

Another source of fun comes from unity.

One of the biggest differences between my corporate experience and startups is unity. The corporate world is full of slogans like “one firm mindset” and “stronger together” etc... But, at the end of the day, you are just competing with those nearest to you for the next promotion.

This couldn’t be more different in a startup, where there is a great sense of purpose and yunity (see what I did there). And it is so much fun. It’s amazing to be able to share a common goal with so many people at work!

Beyond these, yulife is special to me. And it all comes down to (w)holes, and not the donkey types.

Every startup is on a mission and aims to change the world. yulife is no different.

Our mission is to empower people to live their best lives.

This brings me to the first whole — wholistic wellbeing. We have spent countless hours, days and nights discussing, debating and researching how best to encourage people to look after themselves. It turns out the answer is a game – because science.

The second whole is more personal. It’s about how yulife makes me feel. It is the first place that I have worked, where I can and do bring my full-self to work.

I get to use the Actuarial text books buried in my brain to re-invent insurance. I get to live my passion for startups. I get to play games on my phone and use what I have learned to help people. I get to write blogs with silly titles like: How Ben & Jerry’s Killed Life Insurance. I get to be me.

(that’s me (sorry love I had to share))

Fun aside, we are on a big mission (warning here comes that pitch I promised).

If you want to encourage people to walk more, you don’t give them a pedometer. You build Pokemon Go.

If you want to get young people into STEM, you don’t show them engineers’ salaries. You do this:

If you want people to live longer, healthier lives, you don’t give them a risk score for getting ill or dying. You build this:

Jonathan Roomer