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The Founder Who Held 3,500 New-Borns: Natallia Miranchuk’s Story of Building Soula

The Founder Who Held 3,500 New-Borns: Natallia Miranchuk’s Story of Building Soula, TheRecursive.com
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According to the United Nations, about 385,000 babies are born each day. This means that around the same number of women are out there wondering how they should best take care of themselves and their new-born(s), during and after the pregnancy. 

Witnessing many such journeys and realizing that humans are not enough to help women through maternity, Natallia Miranchuk created a solution that brings technology into play, being able to be there for moms 24/7. 

In only one year and a half, Natallia and her team of 10 managed to impact the lives of many women, win many awards, including the Reflect X competition in Cyprus and raise €1M from angel investors. 

In this article, we sit down with Natallia Miranchuk to delve into the key moments that have propelled Soula, a virtual assistant for maternity, to its current standing. 

 

Supporting Women through Maternity

 

Working with projects for female wellbeing, Natallia has been around soon to be and new moms for more than 17 years now. “I held 3,500 babies in my hands. I started working as an assistant for a maternity photographer. To make sure the mom and the baby feels comfortable, I had to work as a doula for the family and support the mom with breastfeeding, sleeping and other tasks. Then I worked on big social projects together with the United Nations Population Fund and the World Health Organization,” she explains. 

Recognizing the limitations of traditional support systems for new mothers, Natallia realized the pressing need for a solution that could offer constant guidance and assistance.

“We saw that for new moms, it’s not enough to have their OB or doula. They need someone to answer their questions constantly. Women are twice as likely as men to suffer from burnout and depression because of combining maternity with a job. Seeing these facts, I started to put together the team and work on a solution that can provide the informational and psychological support women need through maternity.” 

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Almost two years since starting, Soula has 10 team members, including Andrei Kulik, one of the top 50 Google AI engineers as CTO , Natalia Vodianova, public figure and impact investor with 5 unicorns in her portfolio and Andrey Mikhaylyuk, ex-VP of Product at Flo Health, one of the fastest consumer apps built from Belarus, as a mentors. 

 

Choosing Cyprus to Call Home 

 

Originating from Belarus, Natallia Miranchuk moved to Cyprus attracted by the island’s tech landscape. 

“Before deciding to move to Cyprus, I wanted to check it out. I came to the island in October 2021 and I didn’t know the Reflect Festival was taking place at that time. I was so surprised the city was full of friendly people and events. I found a lot of contacts and opportunities at that point,” Miranchuk reckoned. 

Fast forward, Natallia packed her luggage and moved to Limassol, Cyprus. 

 

Winning the Reflect X Competition 

 

Last year, in October 2023, Soula won first place at Reflect X, the festival’s startup competition, taking place on the island. 

“I knew Dusan (ed.note: Dusan Duffek, one of Reflect X’s organizers) from the previous events and he encouraged me to apply. I filled up all the applications, we passed through the first selections and made it to the 10 finalists, out of 300 startups. Then we had to pitch on the stage. I remember I had a lot of good emotions,” she said. 

If you are a founder, for sure you can pinpoint some moments when your  startup caught a tailwind and moved forward. For Natallia and Soula, winning the Reflect X was one of these. 

“Being the winner brought us a lot of good things. Besides the actual prize, we opened discussions with investors and got feedback from them. Also, we were accepted in the Microsoft for Startups Hub, where only 2% of startups are, and were offered nice services who helped us develop the product.” 

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After this competition, Soula also won Best Female Led Startup in Malta and was recently accepted to a top accelerator. 

“Such competitions are really important for a startup. Here is where you receive a lot of feedback which you can take back to the team and help them see that their work really pays off,” Natallia emotionally adds. 

 

Pitching Perfect 

 

Pitch by pitch, Soula has raised €1M in total funding, mostly from angel investors. They are in talks with investors and will probably raise from a VC in the next months. 

“I think I pitched almost 450 times in these 2 years. Every time you learn something from the investors, but I think what was eye opening for me was that investors make decisions first by looking at MRR and user base and then at the technological side.” 

As Natallia admits, Cyprus has proven to be a fertile ground for growing Soula, with its vibrant tech community and abundance of opportunities.

“There are many investors and mentors here and the tech community is strong. For sure in the next few years also the startup ecosystem will develop.” 

To delve deeper into the vibrant ecosystem of investors and startups in Cyprus, mark your calendars for the Reflect Festival, taking place in Limassol on May 30-31.

If you are a founder keen on meeting investors outside of the CEE region, Reflect X is your place to be. Sign up before April 30 and jump on the opportunity to meet exclusive investors and C-level executives, plus have access to the best knowledge and significant discounts.

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https://therecursive.com/author/elenaghinita/

Elena is a Startup Community Editor at The Recursive. In other words, she keeps close to the startup ecosystem in CEE and makes their stories heard. She creates educational and informational content about innovation, funding and startup growth.