The company that would become Vastari was registered at Companies House three years ago.

It feels like just yesterday that I thought of the idea on a park bench while
speaking to my other half during my lunch break from Trinity House. Little
did I know that something I was working on and researching during evenings and weekends in 2012 would turn into a company backed by Microsoft Ventures, hiring a representative in China in 2014 and invited to speak and exhibit at the world’s biggest art fair in 2015. It has been an amazing journey.

We are blessed to be where we are at Vastari, and I remind myself of it every single day. But when you are a start-up, you can’t ever take anything for granted, and there are new struggles around every corner. This post may seem rather negative, but I think there are a lot of people who believe the start-up hype. The reality involves much less glamour and requires a lot of Blood, Sweat and Tears.


1. Blood –

The relationships you build as a company will be the family
you rely on.

Working in the art world, there’s a lot of blue blood around. That’s not
what I’m talking about when I say you rely on the family you cultivate.

For example, many people warn entrepreneurs about how an
investment round is like a marriage, you have to choose your investors
wisely and ensure that you have the same vision for the company.
I couldn’t agree more, but I think that this ‘family’ commitment is also
relevant for your team, your partners and your advisors as much as
your investors.

As you work, day in day out, through the ups and downs, on a vision
that many people expect to fail, you need the people around you who
will support you. Not dissimilar to a network of arteries, pumping to
the heart of the project. You have to have the right people to pump in
the oxygen, day in and day out, but also filtering through to retain what
is most important.


2. Sweat –

Hard work is an understatement.

Think you can have a holiday? Think again. Even my most committed
attempts to disconnect (being on a sailing boat without wifi for a week)
still ended up being about Vastari.

My family talks about it, my boyfriend talks about it, and someone even
texted my phone during the aforementioned boat trip to pass on a
message I didn’t read in my email.

The struggle is ever-present and the work is never-ending. You get used
to it after a while, but it never gets easy.


3. Tears –

Where the startup gods close a door, they open a window.
Sometimes I think that the startups that succeed are the ones who are
persistent enough.

Tears of exasperation are to be expected when you care for something
with so much passion. One of the hardest things to do in these
situations is to zoom out. When it seems like there is no solution to
your problem, and you might as well call it quits, if you hold on for a
few more minutes, you might just see that the startup gods have
opened a window for you.