Quick-Fire Questions with
Victoria Duben, Founder of Viewst
Design tool for advertisers
Viewst is new to the startup scene and launched by Victoria Duben in 2019. Based in Russia, Ukraine and the United States, Viewst are aiming to transform graphic content production and give customers peace of mind that their creative project will be sure to go off without a hitch. With VIEWST, even users who have absolutely no design experience can create professionally designed ads of any kind from scratch.
Viewst’s priority is to give clients the power to optimise their efficiency and make their lives easier with its products.
Hi Victoria! What inspired you to start the business and how did you get started?
I was dreaming of becoming an entrepreneur whilst working in Investment Banking but I didn’t have a single idea how to start and what to create. One day I met Igor Barinov, my co-founder in the previous project. He was so inspired by the thing he was working on at the time. I couldn’t resist but to quit investment banking to join Igor and help him with operations and fundraising. That’s how it all started and it was the best thing that happened to me in my career!
I knew nothing about how to build a start-up and I didn’t even know the meaning of the word! But I was inspired with the fact that going forward I would be responsible for all the decisions I make, I would be doing what I really like and I would be able to invite like-minded people to join me in this adventure.
I truly love discovering new things and always keep learning. If this resonates with you, be sure that being a founder means reading a lot, learning a lot, experimenting a lot. And it is not about theoretical studies, it is about practical things. Don’t be afraid of failures, as in the worst case scenario, the experience you get will make you a top professional in case you decide to get back into the corporate world.
Can you tell us a little about the driving purpose for Viewst?
The hardest thing is to make something people really want and need. This is the fundamental challenge for all the founders. Some of us do things for ourselves and not to solve the real market pains.
When I started my first company – Profit Button, I knew nothing about which jobs had to be done, about the customer journey approach or customer development. Together with the team, we developed a new kind of rich media ads, floating ad units, and we were lucky enough to expand our business to three continents. Though we didn’t do deep market research and customer development, after nearly two years we realized that our idea wasn’t scalable…
After that, we conducted more than 70 interviews to figure out what the real market pain was indeed. It turned out to be production automation. Professional teams are looking for the tools to automate ads production workflow, while makers and founders need simple tools, like Canva, but for all kinds of display ads. That’s how we pivoted to Viewst – a design tool for advertisers.
We keep doing interviews every week, to see the market reaction and collect prompt feedback on new features we are constantly shipping. The exciting thing is that the feedback is very inspiring and is a driving force for the entire Viewst team.
If you could go back, what would you do differently?
Firstly, I would have definitely done my homework if I could go back to 3 years ago. I would have done a deep market research and would have joined many communities, where founders share their knowledge and experience.
Secondly, I would have applied to YC free online startup school to learn about the most important things on how to start a tech company/startup. On the other hand, all my mistakes and failures made me wiser and stronger. Sometimes I think that if I would have known how hard it is to be a founder of a startup, I would not have found enough courage to make the first step!
Advice to new startups?
I will probably be Captain Obvious if I say – do things that inspire you. This should make you stronger and give you the courage to make a new step forward every single morning during the hard times. Don’t be afraid to try things and of course, always follow your dreams.
Formula for success?
I moved to NYC when I started my first company. It was a real challenge – being alone far from home, not having the plan. I’ve read a lot of books about most successful founders like Phil Knight, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Brandon Webb and many others to find an answer to what to do.
Guess what? There’s no answers or secret sauce. We all live and create in different countries, cultures, circumstances, etc. Your path is very unique. As I said before, always follow your dreams and believe in yourself!
What’s the best advice you’ve recently received?
“Reinvent yourself if you want to. You don’t owe the old version of you anything.”
Where do you see Viewst in 2 – 3 years time?
Our ambition is to transform and revolutionize to some extent the graphic design process by introducing a neural network that would create effective, high quality and unique layouts automatically.
We are aiming to deliver simple and responsive service that helps founders and professional ads production teams and brings thousands of users to the platform.