Today’s entrepreneur is Michelle Bacharach, CEO and co-founder of FindMine, an award-winning software platform that uses machine learning to scale product curation for the world’s leading retailers.
As a product and strategy expert, Bacharach has experience in growing companies by providing software, apps and websites to millions of people, putting together joint ventures and designing new products. She has an MBA from NYU Stern and a BA from UC Berkeley (Go Bears!) Where she wrote her thesis on managing innovation in multinational organizations.
She previously served as Director, Program Management at Univision.com and Entertainment at Univision Communications, Inc., where she was responsible for creating the digital roadmap for Univision’s cross-platform digital properties (including TV shows, tentpole events, Univision .com and the Univision app) to ensure KPIs, user experience and alignment with business strategy are being followed. She also carried out roadmaps with Agile & Scrum methods: This included writing user stories and acceptance criteria, maintaining the product backlog, managing overarching priorities and distributing the workload between 6 different sprint teams in order to implement the product vision. She managed the delivery of Univision’s first digital asset based on a responsive framework, which resulted in a three-digit growth in engagement from last year’s location for the same tentpole event, as well as sourcing, negotiating, and executing large-scale integrations with vendors.
Bacharach also worked at Univision as an associate in the CEO’s office. In this role, she worked directly with the C-Suite leadership to evaluate, plan, and execute strategic initiatives at the CEO and board level that would leverage Univision’s assets in broadcast, cable, local television, radio, and online / Mobile, including revising Univision’s digital content product strategy, structuring and evaluating a joint venture with El Rey, Robert Rodriguez’s new cable network, and formulating Univision’s long-term cross-platform English-language strategy.
She has also helped venture-backed startups, agencies and Fortune 1000 companies with their digital strategy and customer experience: she founded and led the customer innovation team at BigTent, Inc. (acquired by Care.com) and quantified the value of a Facebook like “for a billion dollar apparel brand at ReadySet Rocket.
Bacharach has also raised over $ 150,000 for her alma mater, UC Berkeley, and led a team of cold callers to a record $ 3 million year for the Cal Calling Center
Why did you choose to become an entrepreneur?
I had an idea that just wouldn’t let go. I had thought about it for almost 5 years when I decided to work on it in a more concerted way. I just haven’t seen anyone in years who have optimally solved the problem (and still have no one other than us!) And just decided it was time to do something about it.
What are your favorite startups?
VETTA capsules for sustainable clothing, Caraa for face masks, Docsend for work
Why did you start your company?
As a consumer, I found that most of the brands and retailers I’d bought from apparently assumed I knew what I was doing (I didn’t!). I investigated why that was and found that they were trying to give me expertise and coaching to be a better version of me to be successful with their products and projects etc, but the way they are Communicating their expertise is very tedious and manual. As with anything manual and time consuming, it doesn’t run as often as if it were automated. But automated solutions like personalization only show me more of what I’m probably already buying, so that the coaching / aspirational element was not there. I saw an opportunity to apply AI to the human creative process and replicate the content that the brand or retailer is already creating so we can do infinitely more and help them use dynamically changing catalog data to their advantage.
What is the most frustrating and rewarding thing about entrepreneurship / innovation?
The uncertainty is the most frustrating. I find it hard to celebrate our successes because you are always waiting for the other shoe to fall. The best thing for me is to see the solution which was just an idea used by millions of people around the world to make life easier for consumers, retailers and brands.
What’s the biggest mistake entrepreneurs / innovators make?
Not dealing with their own psychology. I’ve seen so many people burned out, mistreat their teams, put so much pressure on themselves that their personal lives collapsed, etc. It doesn’t have to be that way, but it takes a lot of investment in yourself to be aware of the effects combat the stress this career puts on you.
What are the three most important lessons you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?