I caught up with Tina Yildirim, one of the founders of InvivoPlay, a life coaching tool that helps you tackle your problems and “put a smile on your face”.
Tell us about yourself and your background
I have worked as an entrepreneur my entire life and I cannot picture myself doing anything else. I have a master’s degree in strategic marketing and a bachelor’s degree in business, but most importantly, so far I have founded and led two companies in two totally different industries and two different geographical markets. My first company was an artist management company; we discovered talented musicians and made them famous. That company got founded when I was only 22 and I led it for 5,5 years while I was still going to school at the same time.
After moving to Sweden a bit more than three years ago, I decided to put my effort into a business idea that can positively affect our society and it is easily scalable. This is how InvivoPlay, a website and an application where people can meet certified life coaches and improve their lives, was created. Although it is a young business, we have already had some amazing successes (6 awards, celebrity partnerships, etc.).
Furthermore, I am involved in a successful IT investment company Softvision Ventures that has really great portfolio companies, such as tretton37 and Foo Café. I am responsible for business development and I am planning to put more and more focus on this role in the future because I know how hard are the beginnings and I want to help early stage entrepreneurs by sharing my experience and international network.
Because I like to keep busy, I am also an ambassador for female entrepreneurship in Sweden, a member of Svenska Uppfinnareföreningen, and a SKAPA national jury member.
What is the problem that Invivoplay solves?
InvivoPlay asks you: ”Is there anything in your life that you would like to change?” It can be that you want to have a better relationship with your partner, spend money more wisely, have a more successful career, finally stick to your working out routine, or discover your life purpose. InvivoPlay can help you with every aspect of your life. Life coaches, happiness experts and psychologists from all over the world create different real-life challenges/tasks to help our users reach their potential. Imagine a challenge as a carefully planned path that takes you from the point where you are today to your goal.
Having this roadmap helps users feel in control, stick to the plan, stay motivated, and really accomplish their goal.
Can you explain more on how science of positive psychology has been part of developing this product?
I think Dr. Rachel Maddux, psychologist and University lecturer at Lund University, gives the best answer to this question:“ InvivoPlay captures everything Positive Psychology is about: living in the present moment, engaging in activities, creating positive emotions, and fostering meaningful social connections.”
What has been the reactions so far from your audience and users?
Reactions from our two main audiences are great. Users are for example saying things as:
- “I suddenly realized there are things in my life to be grateful for and not everything is as bad as I thought…”
- “I got the needed energy to refresh my life and to deal with feelings and sadness from my husband’s illness.”
At the end of every completed challenge, we ask our users if InvivoPlay helped them improve their life, and we have more than 87% positive ratings which gives us a sufficient proof that the concept works as promised.
The second important stakeholders are psychologists, life coaches and happiness experts. We have more than 24 international partners from all over the world (US, UK, Canada, Australia, India, Egypt, Slovenia, Germany, Spain, etc.) and we are also official UN’s happiness ambassadors. We just love our partners and we work great together. One of our partners even surprised us recently and mentioned us on a book cover in Germany.
How are you going to monetize the product?
The idea is to offer more and more premium challenges to users, but we are also making some initial revenue by offering additional features to life coaches and companies.
Congratulations on being selected on Internetworld’s list of the hottest digital entrepreneurs! What does that mean for the team and the product?
Thank you, this is absolutely a huge honor. Three years ago when I moved to Sweden I would not even dare to dream about achieving something like this in such a short time. Everyone in my team, especially my cofounders Miha Pulko and Maja Dahlin Lundbergh, are very proud and this is absolutely the best recognition we could get that our hard work hasn’t gotten unnoticed, which is always really nice and motivational to see.
What is your best advice to live a happier life?
There are some things you can do to boost your happiness, such as using your strengths, spending time with your friends and family, being grateful, doing things for the first time, etc.
Everyone can learn and integrate those small things into their everyday life and on the long run they make a huge difference.
However, we have to know that happiness can represent different things to different people, so there is absolutely no universal answer to this question.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
I always say that entrepreneurs struggle with only two things; time and money. You always have to invest one to gain the other, while there is no guarantee that you will actually gain anything. This is the biggest challenge also for us.