Interview with Maria Lazar, founder of Komorabi
Read how website developer Maria Lazar turned her talents to creating Komorabi, a platform that turns volunteering into play.
What’s your career background?
I have been making websites for small local businesses and startups since I was 14. This really inspired me to go into coding which I discovered I had a passion for. Finding out there were lots of women in coding also really inspired me to pursue it as a career.
I still love coding but I’ve found recently I am looking to do something more. I want to see the changes I make in the world more directly. And that’s why I founded Komorabi.
What is Komorabi?
Komorabi is a platform that turns volunteering into play. At the moment we are focussing on our events, creating immersive games that include small acts of volunteering as part of the game.
We are also working on a social platform to help encourage and inspire people to do more good in their local community. This is still in the making so keep your eyes peeled!
What has been your biggest challenge?
We think our idea is pretty unique, which makes marketing it a bit tricky sometimes. There are lots of immersive games companies on the market and lots of ‘good deed’ opportunities out there, it’s just a case of trying to show people, we do a bit of both.
It’s been a challenge but it also serves as a reminder that we are doing something new, which feels pretty cool!
What has been your proudest moment?
Definitely the first event. I have no ties with the theatre industry. I love and I have participated in tons of immersive games as it’s just pure fun but I wouldn’t have known where to start if it wasn’t for Laura Kurlansky, our game designer.
Pulling off a physical social event, getting people to come and seeing them have fun, being chased by actors, solving clues at the same time as getting some items to donate to the charity… It was surreal.
I have a confession to make: I am an introvert with a very technical background and while I did believe in what we were trying to make, I was putting myself down a lot regarding my ability to create a social event. So, seeing the transformation from a piece of paper to a live event played by real people. Let’s say I was skipping on the street on my way home.
What is the most rewarding thing about having your own business?
Firstly, we are a really small team and getting to work that closely with people is great. We have our roles but we all get involved with a bit of everything and I get to do things (like helping with the events) that are way out of my comfort zone.
Do you have any advice to others looking to start their own business?
I had postponed starting this business a couple of times due to fear of success / failure. I knew I had a couple of issues with self discipline as well. No matter how motivated I was after two to three weeks, my productivity just dropped.
I realised that I needed someone to work together on the idea and as I didn’t manage to find a cofounder I started to hire a freelancer who cared about what I was doing. Best decision ever.
For the fear part, I realised that if I could prove myself that I am smashing an impossible goal / guideline than I could use that as an example. I started running with the intention to run a half-marathon. To prove myself I could.
Problem: I hate, hate, hate running, or used to and I was so overweight that walking fast for five minutes was getting me out of breath. Changing the way I was thinking about running and turning it around to be something I enjoy was one of the best lessons I could ever learn.
I still get goosebumps when I look back to the moment I passed the finish line. I used that as an anchoring tool. I did “the impossible” and as such I can do everything I want. It did work for me starting the business.
You can read more about Komorabi on their website.