Lucy Gadkari - CEO of MooDoo

Lucy is the CEO and co-founder of moodoo (Moodooapp Ltd.), an app that lets you know which of your friends are nearby and what they’re in the mood to do, creating opportunities to meet up that you otherwise wouldn’t know existed.  She studied Modern Languages at University of Oxford.

Q: What is your background?  Why are you doing this?
A: After graduating from St. Hugh’s in 2011, I moved to Mumbai with my now-husband. I then worked for 3 years in advertising and brand strategy at M&C Saatchi and FITCH. For the past year or so I have been working full-time on my startup, moodoo!

moodoo kicked off because we kept encountering the same problem: it’s such a hassle to coordinate social plans with friends! Currently there is no way to understand which of your friends are free and what they're in the mood to do without individually contacting them all. And the actual organisation process still relies on tediously messaging back and forth; something that hasn't changed since SMS! moodoo, on the other hand, takes you from mood-to-meet in 4 taps.

Beyond the practical usefulness of moodoo, we’re also really excited about what the app stands for. Unlike other social apps out there that focus on virtual experiences, we want to help friends do more together in the real world. We also want to counteract London’s obsession with planning ahead. We’re all guilty of becoming trapped in our schedules and calendars, to the point that we forget to be spontaneous. We want to break through this habit and help people make the most of their free time!

Q: What is your definition of entrepreneurship?
A: Beyond the practical definition of setting up a business, I think “entrepreneurship” is also a mind-set. It stands for motivation, passion and a readiness to hustle all the way!

Q: What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
A: I didn’t actively decide one day to become an entrepreneur: it all began very organically when we discovered the idea for moodoo. I then validated the need, met my Co-Founder Vaibhav and the adventure began there! My husband, Arjun, has probably influenced my enthusiasm for entrepreneurship though! He has been running a gourmet food startup in India for the past 5 years and loves it.  

Q: So what would you say are the top 3 skills that needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Why?
A: Level-headedness. There will be several setbacks and bumps in the road and you can’t let them stress you out. Keep calm and carry on.  Multitasking. The hardest but best thing about being an entrepreneur is that you have to deal with everything, from product design to investment strategy, marketing to HR. All at the same time!  People skills. I’ve found that conversations with industry experts, fellow entrepreneurs or even like-minded individuals to be invaluable for the development of moodoo! You never know where the next opportunity might come from.

Q: What is your favourite part of being an entrepreneur?
A:  The variety of incredible people I meet and the diversity of my day-to-day!

Q: What individual, company or organization inspires you most? Why?
A:  It would have to be Tom’s. It’s no longer a new concept, but they pioneered the way for sustainable businesses that can give back so much to society. At some point, I’d love moodoo to give back too.
In terms of business individuals, it has to be Sheryl Sandberg. She’s a superwoman, who’s bringing about a lot of positive change for women in the workplace.”

Q: If you could have 5 minutes with the above indiv/company/org, what would you want to ask or discuss?
A: “Sheryl, how do you balance your work and social life when you want to give both 110%?”

Q: What has been your most satisfying or successful moment in business?
A: The moment we received seed money from the Said Business School Seed Fund was a very satisfying moment for us. It provided us not just with a much-needed financial injection, but also with the validation and support of a brilliant group of people. More recently, our launch across Mumbai and London has been a fantastic high point!

Q: What would you say have been some of your mistakes, failures or lessons learned as an entrepreneur?
A:  I’m sure there have been many of them. But if I were to start moodoo again from scratch, I’d build the app on a prototype platform, like Marvel, and get buy-in based on that (both from test users and potentially even angel investors) before writing a single line of code. It would have saved a lot of time!

Q: What is good about being an entrepreneur in Oxfordshire?  Bad?
A:  I work out of Mumbai and London, but the Oxford Launchpad and the Oxford Seed Fund has been very helpful in terms of providing connections to other entrepreneurs and offering great advice. I suggest though that Oxford can’t substitute time spent in the London startup ecosystem: the diversity of events, workshops and startups in London is unparalleled (in Europe at least!).

Q: If a new entrepreneur or startup came to you looking for entrepreneurship information or resources in Oxfordshire, where would you send them?
A:  The Oxford Launchpad

Q: Any last words of advice?
“Some things will always be out of your control – focus on the things that you can control, and don’t get stressed about the things you can’t.”