Lauren Wester is building tech to keep people safe
Here's what she's learned along the way
Lauren Wester is the founder of Lavngarde, a tech startup making it safer to meet people online. The company helps you validate an individual’s identity, provides a basic criminal history, and allows you to record the location (and time) where you plan to meet up with your new connection.
Whether you are booking your next vacation on AirBnB, finding a new roommate, or selling items on Facebook Marketplace, Lavngarde has your safety covered.
We asked Lauren about her entrepreneurial journey, and here's what she had to say
What aspect of becoming an entrepreneur do you like the most?
As an entrepreneur, you take your idea and bring it to life. You see how your idea interacts with the world and how it may impact the lives of individuals. That’s the most rewarding aspect of building a business. Another aspect that I really like is being able to provide jobs, opportunities, and income to the amazing individuals that help you build the business.
What are some important habits that have contributed to your success?
Honestly, I have an internal fire in my soul that helps me be successful. It’s the gift of endless determination in the face of being rejected or underestimated. Habits that I have cultivated in my life other than determination are simply working hard and surrounding myself with supportive people. I feel very lucky to have supportive mentors, friends, family, and other founders in my circle to support my entrepreneurial journey.
What’s the achievement that means the most to you?
It sounds strange, but personal growth is the achievement that means the most to me. Entrepreneurship compels you to endure large amounts of personal growth in a short period of time. In a startup, you build everything from scratch, have to take initiative, and be open to making lots of mistakes. Every phase of the business requires a new level of stepping outside of your comfort zone. The steps you take on this journey makes you become a better person in many ways. The world benefits when people become stronger, more capable, and confident individuals.
What motivates you to keep going when you face burnout?
Burnout is a common feeling in my life right now. There are only two thoughts that keep me going. The first is simple: just give the business one more day. If I can keep the business going one more day, today was a success. The other thought that comes to mind is the people in my personal life that have been impacted by interpersonal violence, sexual assault, rape, and other traumatizing situations. If my work keeps one person out of an unsafe situation, the ROI on my investment is priceless.
What makes you most optimistic about your industry?
Lavngarde is only the beginning of safety tech that is being built in the tech startup space. In the past couple of years, there has been a huge increase in the number of safety tech companies trying to solve real world safety problems. The fact that people care about building businesses in this space to help people is probably what makes me the most positive about the future of the industry.
What advice do you have for someone starting their career journey?
When starting your career, be open to new opportunities and explore different types of jobs. Sometimes the career you thought you wanted doesn’t end up being the one that makes you happy. It’s a perfectly normal thing and sometimes it leads you to a great opportunity. My advice, particularly for women and non-binary persons, is to learn about the economy and finance. Negotiate your first salary, take advantage of your employer’s benefits like matching your 401K, and invest in real assets that will grow over time. If you start this young, you’ll be set up well to take care of yourself when you’re ready to retire or even start a business later in life.
What is the most important risk you took in your career and why?
Tech startups have a 90% failure rate. As an entrepreneur, I didn’t even realize I was working on a startup until about six months into the process. All I knew was that I wanted to help people and tech is a powerful way to cultivate societal change. This risk is the biggest one of my life, but it is also the one I would regret at the end of my life if I didn’t give it my best shot.
About Lauren Wester
Lauren Wester is a certified corporate security and cyber security professional backed by six years of real industry experience. She founded Lavngarde in 2021, a tech startup that helps make online to offline transactions with other people safer. Her passion for entrepreneurship has quickly grown to build salable security solutions, specifically focusing on safety challenges facing women and minority communities.