Story and photos by Summer Wilson
A generation of women are upon us that are the new femme. They are leaders in companies or starting their own. Emotional geniuses with a fierce competitive side, yet they
wont loose their cool to win over a board room. They glide in graceful, secure and deadly. This is one side I imagine of Oona. The side I see is warm, genuine, and empathetic. She and Olly (the only dog who can keep up with this marathon runner) take me to the top of Runyon canyon in their Hollywood hood for a photo shoot laughing and playing like 5 year olds. She is a company founder, competitor, idea generator and one hell of a mentor. And even though I’d like to highlight more qualities she can give the world, I’ll intro into her revolution of how people like me will live forever more. Hint: Imagine a world where you can swipe your expenses directly from your bank account or cards into tax categories in the time it takes you to wait for a Latte.....
In your own words tell us what Anoo is.
Anoo is a mobile app and online platform that helps individuals really own their businesses daily – understand their income and expenses, see their tax predictions on a monthly basis, and share their insights with each other. Truly understanding our business finances, taxes, and how to grow are complex challenges. Right now, about two-thirds of us are scrambling for information from across the web and pairing it with PDF’ed statements from various bank accounts. No wonder we’re lost when it comes time to pay our taxes or think about whether we can afford to hire some help! We want to make it so easy to see and understand our finances that we can do it in a minute a day – on our phones – while we’re brushing our teeth.
How is it solving problems?
The whole premise behind Anoo is to do what accountants can’t and won’t do for their customers. While accountants can help clients navigate a wealth of complex financial and tax issues, they won’t predict where their clients might be in a year or two with their business based on today’s data – it’s too time-consuming for them. However, a computer algorithm can do this easily. Wealthfront and Betterment can do this with our investments, why not with our incomes?
Accountants also can’t compete with the knowledge of an entire community of your industry peers and what they know about growing a specific type of business. But a platform that aggregates that rich knowledge and provides protips from leading peers can – and it can strengthen and grow the net worth of those communities into the future.
I know this idea stemmed from personal experience. What countries did you work from?
I was a consultant based in the US, but working a significant amount of my time in Israel about two years ago. Since then I’ve consulted from my apartments in San Francisco and Los Angeles, as well as on the road throughout the United States, Turkey, Germany, England, Czechia, Croatia, Greece, and Italy. Wherever there’s a place to sit with my laptop and phone works for me!
"The traditional idea of vacation is changing. There is a group of us who make travel work and work while traveling."
How often are you traveling on the road AND working? You're adventuring all the time!
I think it averages out to about half of every month. I travel domestically and internationally a lot. This month I’ll be in Israel, Austria, Czechia, San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles. But next month I’ll probably be working between only Los Angeles and San Francisco.
This year is going to be big for you with this launch. What are a few primary focuses this first quarter for you?
I’m focused on raising our seed round of funding with investment partners who really believe in the power of solopreneurs. And after that, it’s all about execution. We’ll have a much more robust app ready right around this April tax season and want to keep building solutions we all need and will help us grow into successful businesses.
Where do you look for business idea motivation?
I spend so much of my time working at a screen that I focus on getting unplugged and just connecting with people. It’s incredible how much people will share with you about their lives and emotions if you just take the time to check in and listen, even for a moment. We all get tapped out with how much we have to do and the distractions around us, but my motivation comes from the moments where we all chose to see the best in each other – and hope to do more of exactly that. How remarkable would this world be if we were all a little less distracted by appearances, a little more secure in our finances and basic needs, and made a little more time for each other?
By the end of your first year you'll want to have accomplished.
When 2018 comes to a close, I’ll want to be surrounded by our growing Anoo team and a group of badass solopreneurs who are working with us on a regular basis to develop our service and help others across the country. The app will have gone through three different major developments, we’ll have at least a few communities across business types talking with each other about smart business decisions, and we’ll be working on helping you plan out 2019 business goals (and travels!).
You are a strong example of our future women (but you are you know!). You're emotionally and financially independent, warm, expressive yet radiate business mindset and creative passions. What advice can you pass along to women attempting to attain this kind of future? Balanced but bold.
Whoa, thank you! What a compliment. I would say I’m always learning more about myself and remaining open to criticisms and compassion for others has always helped. I’ve failed at a lot, especially in managing my time more effectively, in the past. But continuing to seek out lessons and people who I think are getting things right has helped me improve and be more honest with myself. I’m all about inserting myself in rooms full of people smarter and more passionate than me about a range of topics.
Any fears you experience while gearing up to launch a business you can express openly with the Battle Cry readers?
As an individual, I don’t identify with the word “fear”. However, there are a number of things that I keep top of mind or require me to run or meditate daily. I would say there’s a great deal of responsibility you feel to your customers and team. I spend a lot of time everyday thinking about whether we’re getting the product right for people who are going to use it. To deal, I spend a lot of time every single day talking with and handing my phone over to strangers to see what they think. I talk everyday with my team about where we are with different features and our assumptions about what people actually need. And we’re now talking with investors about their thoughts and questions about the future of work. Starting a business is all about balancing what you see as your path forward and what the outside world is showing you.
Most important item on your desk? (if you even have one)
Besides the usual laptop, phone, cords, headphones, planner and pens? I usually keep something close that reminds me why I’m developing Anoo and the impact I want to have. I often wear a bracelet or something that’s handmade by a small business or individual I’d like to someday help become even more successful. On my last trip, I wore a beautiful mint green and gold painted paper bracelet made by a woman in Uganda.
How much time is spent working per week?
I can’t even begin to calculate this. I’m not a workaholic, but thoughts and ideas relevant to my work are not just generate when I’m sitting with my laptop or phone. I may be reading a book, painting, running or you name it and an idea or solution will spark that then impacts my work.
If you didn't launch Anoo World, what else would you be doing?
I’d be continuing to work with incredibly inspiring startups that are changing the way we look at solving the world’s problems from medical care and transportation to blockchain applications and expanding social good. I’ve been very lucky to work with hundreds of brilliant people all over the globe. I’m motivated to keep empowering and broadening their impact, whether it’s through my own consulting or Anoo.
Answer truthfully - Who could run the longest? Oliver (Oona's beautiful Vizla) or you?
Oh! Hands down, Oliver can still outrun me by a few miles! He may be an 11 year old pup, but he’s been kept in top shape by our runs and being cared for by a tribe of friends we’re both lucky to have had over the years.
Thank you for joining the Finding Founders on the blog and I CAN'T WAIT TO USE YOUR APP.
Summer Wilson - Creative Director and Photographer of Battle Cry
Photo by John Thatcher