Nailing the Hardware Space
Episode 57
June 8, 2021

Nailing the Hardware Space

with Pree Walia, Founder and CEO of Preemadonna

Pree Walia is the Founder and CEO of Preemadonna, a Silicon Valley based technology startup, building interactive hardware and software experiences for Gen Z. Their flagship product is the Nailbot, a patented, at-home manicure system that prints custom nail art instantly on your nails. In this episode, Pree shares with us her entrepreneurial journey from scooping ice cream at Baskin-Robbins, to working in politics, to working at startups focused on connected devices, to building a prototype of the Nailbot and beta testing it at house parties. She talks with us about how she pitched over a thousand investors to raise over five million dollars, why the power of show and tell helped to propel her business, and how she learned to start believing in herself.

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In This Episode You’ll Hear About:
  • How growing up in the south with a large family, and hard working parents taught her a lot about starting a business and working hard
  • Why Pree says that college taught her to think and how her studies and internships in law, politics, and storytelling led her non-traditionally down an entrepreneurial path
  • How her time working with Emily’s List after college taught her not just about political campaigns, but also how to fundraise, how to launch campaigns, how to market, and even how to deal with failure
  • How politics is actually what brought her out to Silicon Valley and where she learned her strengths and her passions and how they could come together in entrepreneurship
  • Why she went to business school and how she then got a job at a startup hardware company which taught her everything about building a hardware technology startup from the ground up
  • What led to the idea to starting Preemadonna and why she thought it was important to build a fun and smart experience for Gen Z, specifically
  • What brought her to China where she gained a lot of market research and a good prototype to start with
  • What Pree has learned about leadership and how she continues to pursue her passion to empower girls and women 
  • What fundraising has been like for Preemadonna and what lessons have already been learned through the process
  • What is next for Preemadonna and what advice Pree has for other founders and entrepreneurs
To Find Out More:

“College taught me how to think and how to construct arguments and in some ways to tell a story about those arguments, which actually leads us down the path to entrepreneurship in a nontraditional way.”

“I wouldn't say there was one aha moment where I was like, "I'm going to build this device to decorate my nails, and I'm going to start Preemadonna." I would say I started to see all of these interesting moments come together for me.”

“I like to say we're going to be an eight year overnight success story. I incorporated the company in 2013 in my apartment, in stealth, with no money, and I filed our first provisional patent in August of 2013.”

“If you can take it and still have a smile on your face, like the next day, you don't get bitter. No one wants to invest in a bitter entrepreneur.”

“I believe that Preemadonna is that company and is that entity that is going to really power creative expression through really fun, interactive hardware and software experiences that are really going to power this audience of Gen Z young women. And I have learned that, like, I am just a vehicle for that.”

“I think I was far more impatient in the beginning. But now having worked on this for so many years, you get more patient.”

“I pitched over a thousand people to date. Over a thousand investors, both angels, bigger funds, smaller funds. And we really kind of built a network of investors.”

“Our mission is to really power creativity. And we think the creativity market is actually a one hundred and thirty five billion dollar market that spans multiple categories.”

“The reason my company isn't named Nailbot is because we have a bigger vision. And our vision is how do we delight and really make our customers so joyful with really unique experiences? And the nail is really the gateway to the body. That's how I look at it.”

“I would say just start small, get something going. Hack a prototype. There's nothing more powerful than a show and tell.”

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