Faces of Entrepreneurship: Rachel Lyubovitzky, Setuply

2023-10-11T12:36:53-07:00 October 11th, 2023|Business Planning/Strategy, Developing a Product/Service|

Rachel Lyubovitzky is the CEO, co-founder, and Chairwoman of Setuply. Lyubovitzky is an accomplished serial entrepreneur, senior executive, published author, and investor passionate about innovation, effective strategy, and successful execution. She founded four B2B technology companies with her partners, powered by a mission to leverage technology to make people’s lives easier and more fulfilling. The latest venture, Setuply, aims to modernize the customer onboarding experience for companies, empowering clients to experience the benefits of digital adoption faster. Lyubovitzky graduated from the Wharton Executive MBA program and earned her Master of Arts degree in Computer Science from Brandeis University. She is an avid traveler and has visited over sixty countries.


What does “entrepreneurship” mean to you?
Rachel Lyubovitzky: Entrepreneurship is about building things and making tomorrow different and better than today or yesterday. It’s also about continuously challenging yourself and those around you committed to the cause to grow and to learn. It’s impossible to build without changing yourself in the process.

Tell us about your first experience with entrepreneurship.
RL: My entrepreneurial journey started in 2003 when I co-founded Searchfeed.com, one of the first ten pay-per-click search engines.

After departing in 2006 to begin working on what would be my next venture, KnowledgeSum, I walked away with three lessons that have since guided my entrepreneurial journey:
– Entrepreneurship is a marathon sport – manage your strengths and resources wisely for a long haul
– Partners are great to help weather the tougher moments and share the moments of joy together
– Use every experience on your journey to learn and connect

What is your company’s origin story? What is the biggest reason you started your business? What did those early days look like and teach you?
RL: Setuply was founded to address the (still) manual process of B2B onboarding. Despite being in a digital-first era, solution providers still rely on spreadsheets and manual methodologies to tackle onboarding projects that sometimes take months and even years to complete. Because of this, many providers experience high drop-off rates, lost revenue, and wasted resources. By introducing AI/ML to automate the onboarding process, we’re on a mission to address these deficiencies and help eliminate the tedious tasks that cost needless time and money.

In my experience, the early days of startups are often the most difficult. Yet, these times prove to be the most memorable. From working extremely closely with the founding team to watching our ‘baby’ go from seed-stage startup to trusted solution, those earlier days are the most cherished.

It’s fun to start with a clean slate again – it’s exciting to revisit the last journey of what worked and what we would like to do differently. It’s also a great opportunity to introduce some of the latest methodologies and technologies that are available. For example, ChatGPT is an active sidekick in every department of the company, helping us grow faster and smarter. That said, we look forward to the growing comradery and collaboration as our team, client, and supporter ecosystem grows.

What do you wish you knew when you started? Is there anything you would do differently?
RL: Having successfully founded and exited three ventures, my co-founders and I are all too familiar with the hustle and bustle of creating a startup. But having already focused on this space in the past, my domain expertise has alleviated some of the pressures of startup life. That is, we’ve walked away from our last venture, EverythingBenefits, with the lessons and resources requisite to standing out in the B2B onboarding space.

What does “success” look like for you? We’d love to hear your biggest, boldest dream. What do you think will help you achieve it?
RL: In my eyes, success is seeing through whatever you’re working on – whether that’s a personal project or career goal. I view success as taking a company from point A (conception) to point B (exit).

Bringing in financial partners from prior ventures opened up many additional avenues for ideas, perspectives, new connections, and more. We look forward to following a similar path with Setuply and finding new areas and opportunities to leverage our innovations.

What is your superpower as an entrepreneur? What is your proudest and darkest moment so far? Share a key high and a key low from your journey if you can.
RL: As a serial entrepreneur, my superpower is balancing different areas of the growing business. Founding an early-stage startup requires juggling many tasks – from serving as your own Head of HR, Marketing, and other departments, you must be a jack-of-all-trades until you have enough capital to expand.

Traveling is my biggest hobby, but it also plays a critical role in entrepreneurship. It allows me to step away from my daily routine and provides many different ideas, perspectives, and new connections. Seeing different cultures, trying different foods, and seeing how people approach things differently provides much inspiration. Additionally, the desire to spend more time on the road forces me to be more efficient with my time and make the most of every day.

What are your personal driving principles, your top values?
RL: Never stop learning – entrepreneurship is about building new things, and it’s impossible without growing and changing yourself.

Be open to other ideas – hearing different perspectives provides validation and challenges one’s assumptions.

Accountability and transparency – I am accountable to our team, partners, investors, and clients. They put trust in our vision and vision, and it’s my responsibility to deliver results.

How have your personal principles and values shaped your company’s values and principles? Give us some examples.
RL: Our employees are continually learning – whether it’s by enrolling in formal academic institutions to further their knowledge or by taking classes and participating in other opportunities to grow. We support that through tuition reimbursement programs.

What’s it like to work alone or with your partners?
RL: It’s always a pleasure working closely with partners. I’ve known Co-Founders Daniil (Setuply’s CTO) and Dmitry (Setuply’s CISO) for several decades, and through our work across past ventures, we’ve generated a combined value of $12B in exits. When you have a trusted team and operate in a space you’re passionate about, work doesn’t have to feel like work.

Do you have a mentor? Tell us about what makes them valuable to you and your business?
RL: I have many mentors and continue finding new ones. They help provide guidance and perspective on the various areas of my leadership – from operating vision and emotional intelligence to strategy and finding a better work-life balance and more. Many of my mentors came from my alma mater, Wharton University. Others are wonderful people I met on my journeys, and last but not least – my co-founders play that role as well.

What role does mentorship play in your world (as a mentor or mentee)?
RL: Having mentors is very important in the entrepreneurial journey. From gaining valuable perspective from the multiple facets of leadership to sharing valuable experiences and helping others. Being a mentor is just as valuable as having one. In addition to giving back, sharing your experiences helps you gain further insights into them.

Have you raised outside capital so far?
RL: Yes, we’ve raised $3.5M from various angel and institutional investors. As an earlier-stage company, our capital has been exclusively raised through our seed round. We’ve been fundraising since we were founded in 2022, and we look forward to engaging with additional investors in the future.

Where do you meet investors?
RL: Everywhere! From old jobs to trade shows, and everything in between, life will always present opportunities to meet and connect with potential investors. The difficult part is realizing which unlikely scenarios will present a potential partnership, or discovering the investor that will provide the most value to your company.

How has your network helped you raise capital?
RL: My network has raised our capital! We’ve raised capital exclusively from angel and institutional investors that we’ve had outstanding relationships with.

Many entrepreneurs continue to perfect their daily routines to support their work and greater vision; would you mind sharing your morning routine or a regular ritual that grounds your work each day?
RL: I usually start the day at 5:30am at the gym or going on a run, followed by a healthy breakfast. Getting that “out-of-the-way” helps ensure I’m ready to start the day.

What are you reading or have read?
RL: In addition to reading a new business book each month, I like reading science fiction, fantasy, and historical fiction. Most recently, I enjoyed The Song of Achilles and Circe by Madeline Miller. These books offer a fantastic perspective on the familiar Greek myths and share insights into the human psyche and decision-making that parallel the real world.

Where do you go for inspiration?
RL: We recently hosted a product team collaboration workshop in the country of Georgia. Doing some fun, collaborative work in the office, and having shared experiences – including the city quest, master classes, and hiking together – taught me a lot about our team and gave me an appreciation for the shared journey. We also greatly enjoyed Georgia’s rich history and its residents’ incredible hospitality.

Do you have a favorite quote, mantra, or words of wisdom to get through the tough days?
RL: If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.

What is a problem that keeps you up at night?
RL: No problem, per se, but ensuring we’re doing our best to drive our vision forward and support our team, clients, and others on our journey.

How do you think about helping others through your work?
RL: Jerry the Sloth is our mascot, and he serves as a daily reminder of the importance of conservation and the need to better protect our environment for future generations.

What advice do you have for fellow (and aspiring) entrepreneurs building and leading teams?
RL: Trust yourself and your team. It’s impossible to get through the early stages of your startup without a level of confidence that compliments your greatest aspiration.

Connect. Founding and operating a startup is difficult without adequate access to capital – retaining a solid network of fellow entrepreneurs and investors can make this easier.

Know your worth. At any stage of your company, there will always be those who are convinced of your failure. Honesty and continuous self-reflection are of utmost importance as an entrepreneur, but be wary of getting caught up in the cynicism of those who doubt you.

What kind of an entrepreneur do you want to be known as – as in, what do you want your legacy to be?
RL: By jumping into this space, we’ve sought to address the pain points of the most undervalued and underappreciated workers: human resource specialists, and customer service representatives by demonstrating their worth and boosting efficiency. I want to be remembered as someone who solved a challenge that no one else could tackle, and someone who changed – for the better – how business is conducted.

Do you have someone you’d like to nominate to be profiled in our Faces of Entrepreneurship series? Please let us know by emailing media@thecenter.nasdaq.org or submitting your nomination using this form.

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