Welcome to our Women in Tech series! Today, we have the immense pleasure of highlighting Nathalie Rafeh, a powerhouse of innovation and determination. Nathalie is the brain behind Splashup, a groundbreaking platform aimed at revolutionising e-commerce and growth management.
Her journey is not just unique but also incredibly inspiring. From grappling with the challenges of the digital landscape, to her hands-on struggle with the limitations of existing advertising channels, her experiences have shaped and fuelled her drive to create something revolutionary.
In our conversation, Nathalie shares her journey, from the inception of Splashup to its winning moment at Xccelerate21, and her perspective on the vital role of women in tech entrepreneurship. We delve into her approach to overcoming challenges, the importance of mentorship, and the crucial skills needed by women to thrive in the tech industry.
Hey Nathalie, thanks for joining us today. As a female founder and CEO in the tech industry, can you talk about some of the unique challenges and opportunities you’ve encountered along your entrepreneurial journey?
While being a female founder and CEO may bring unique perspectives and experiences, I believe that the challenges and opportunities I faced are not exclusive to any particular gender. I think at the end of the day, it comes down to your ideas, product and how you find the right people to understand what you’re trying to achieve.
What was your inspiration behind founding Splashup, and how did your previous experiences in e-commerce and growth management influence its creation?
As a founder of my own brand I struggled first hand with the rising costs and lower effectiveness of Meta and Google, while most businesses rely on them as their channel, I also struggled to find other solutions for SMBs to reach customers other than paid advertising.
Social media partnerships were a great source of growth, however they took a long time to get off the ground and resulted in spikes here and there. I wanted to take the idea of partnerships like these, and leveraging similar brands and audiences and make it more accessible, trackable and sustainable over a long period of time without relying on meta and google ecosystems.
You won Xccelerate21, a renowned innovation competition in the tech space. What impact did this recognition have on you, particularly as a woman in the tech industry?
Winning Xccelerate21 was a significant milestone for me and for Splashup. The recognition and validation from essentially Australia’s 2nd largest business (Commonwealth Bank) helped build credibility and trust for our platform. As a woman in the tech industry, It inspired me to push even harder and motivated me to continue breaking barriers and driving innovation.
Mentorship plays a crucial role in personal and professional development. Could you discuss any women mentors or role models who have significantly influenced your tech journey?
Women mentorship has indeed played a crucial role in my journey. I’ve been fortunate to have several mentors such as Kelli Hayes, who’s own achievements and determination have inspired me to keep working towards my vision.
What advice would you give to other women who are aspiring to become tech entrepreneurs, especially those looking to leverage AI in their ventures?
Embrace your uniqueness, and be confident in your abilities. Don’t let biases or preconceived notions hold you back. Surround yourself with strong people, seek out mentorship, and build a network of like-minded individuals and just go for it. It’s easy to be swayed by distracting thoughts of not being good enough.
It’s especially easy when you are in environments where you’re the only woman, or even young woman – Additionally, continue to educate yourself about the latest trends and advancements in technology, specifically in AI. Lastly, be resilient and don’t be afraid to take risks. It’s meant to be hard I guess if it’s easy everyone would do it? Trust your instincts and persevere even when faced with challenges, another door will open.
Can you share your perspective on the importance of female participation in tech entrepreneurship and the potential impact on the global tech industry?
Female participation in tech entrepreneurship is crucial. Diverse perspectives and experiences are vital for driving innovation and solving complex problems. Women bring unique insights, creativity, and approaches to the table.
By increasing female participation in the tech industry, we can unlock a wealth of untapped potential and drive positive change. It will lead to better products and services, improved decision-making processes, and a more balanced and equitable tech industry.
As a woman at the helm of an AI-driven platform, what do you believe are the crucial skills for women entering and thriving in the tech industry?
Ultimately, a tech business is just a ‘business’ solving a real problem that exists in the world, leveraging technology as the best solution to solve that problem. I think the crucial skills for anyone starting a business and thriving in an industry that’s constantly evolving are curiosity, adaptability and collaboration.
These skills will help find opportunities, navigate change and work with the people to bring new solutions to life. I strongly encourage anyone that is keen to break into tech to explore and familiarise themselves with new technologies and trends, understanding how new technologies can help solve their challenges or drive innovation.
Lastly, could you discuss any future plans for Splashup and how you see women playing a role in shaping its growth and success?
We’re building a network of fast growing eCommerce brands who collectively, drive growth for one another. Our focus is creating the best experience for their customers, enabling smarter, more personalised recommendations that add value to their lives and in turn create more value for the brands on our network. Creating a team where women have equal opportunities is crucial to better achieving our goals, and I’m actively seeking out women-led brands and organisations to create a more supportive ecosystem.