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Startup founders often have a tough time staying positive, as realistically, the odds are stacked against them. To counteract this, Renat Gabitov summons boundless enthusiasm by constantly pushing himself to learn and grow.

It is therefore fitting that education is at the heart of his startup Opti, an Edtech platform offering e-learning courses. I spoke with Renat to find out more about Opti.

startup of the week Opti

In just one sentence, what do you do?

Opti creates an optimal pathway to rapidly develop unique job skills through a personalized digital curriculum.

What makes you unique/ different / special

Education Technology is booming and funding in EdTech startups has increased by over 500% during the last 5 years. Many companies like Lynda and Khan Academy enable people with Internet access to learn from the top 1% educators in the world. However, one of the biggest struggles today in the online education market is at the engagement level, with course completion rates averaging under 8%.

Opti is a platform that recommends the most relevant online content based on people’s unique goals and learning styles. In doing so, we maximize student engagement levels. We see ourselves as the next Google for education, to give you personalized learning material. Our vision is to perfect education through a platform that integrates the world’s best content, creating the most efficient learning experience possible.

What do you love most about running a startup?

The number one thing I love about being an entrepreneur is the ability to concentrate 100% on your passion. All of us want to make an impact, yet often time we find ourselves working at a job we do not love. If fact, many startup founders create products and work in industries they are not passionate about, feeling unfulfilled.

Running a startup forces me to spend 60 plus hours a week on building my dream. Building a startup is super challenging, but doing what you love gives meaning, and happiness, to your life.

What is the hardest part or most surprising part of running a startup?

By far, the most challenging part, in my opinion, is the emotional factor. One day you feel like you are on top of the world building the next multi-billion dollar company, the next day everything crashes in on you, and you feel like nobody cares.

Most people just quit when they hear "no" too many times, or get rejected. I believe that entrepreneurs with high emotional intelligence are the ones who become successful founders. Persistence perhaps is more important than intelligence in building startups, and persistence requires emotional intelligence.

Do you have any success stories (big or small) you would like to share?

Another thing I absolutely love about being an entrepreneur is connecting with phenomenal people. Two month ago, Opti’s baller CEO, David Landau, and I hustled ourselves tickets to attend Extreme Tech Challenge, held on Richard Branson’s Necker Island. We kite surfed with  some of the world’s best entrepreneurs and had the times of our lives. This fun trip converted into a number of partnerships for Opti, making the trip even more exciting.

12778751_992150234163885_6213027501912525569_o Renat on Richard Branson's Necker Island. Wow!

How if in any way, has Foundersuite helped your company?

Foundersuite makes the painful fundraising process much easier. It's a one stop shop for communicating with investors. Investor CRM and Progress Tracker for investor reposts saves a lot of time. Before I had to dig out information from 10 different emails to report to every VC who wanted an update. Foundersuite helps me kick ass in building my company. I am able to focus on that, as opposed to communicating with investors the majority of the time. Also the Startup Docs are just amazing!

Finally what is your best tip, hack, or piece for entrepreneurs?

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” - Jim Rohn.

Surround yourself with absolute champions and you will become successful. Every time there is a challenge you are trying to solve, or a topic you want to learn, always ask yourself who is the best person in your network to help. After you connect with them, ask him/her to introduce you to the best people they know. You will learn the rest of the hacks, tips and advice from them.

We look forward to big things coming from Opti!

Topics: Necker Island, Startup of the Week, EdTech, Opti, Richard Branson, This Is What Startup Looks Like

Pip Brangam

Written by Pip Brangam

Passionate about writing, Pip heads up the blog and marketing copy. She loves to surf and hosting dinner parties for friends.