Alessandra Sollberger is the founder & CEO of Evermore Health, revolutionising the functional nutrition space with iconic products that leverage personalisation and transparency of the supply chain. After graduating from Oxford and working in startups, she spent time as an investor in private equity at Blackstone and in venture capital at Mosaic Ventures. Alessandra grew up speaking 6 languages and taught windsurf during high school, getting closer to the performance nutrition space.
What is your background? What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
I started my first business when I was 11 years old, re-selling books and toys for myself and other children in front of big exhibitions. Since then, I always enjoyed getting involved in side activities and thinking outside the box. It's actually during Oxford that I got exposed to early-stage ventures and technology innovation. Later on, working as an investor allowed me to observe the strong trends at play in our sector and to form a thesis around what is now Evermore.
What is your definition of entrepreneurship?
Challenging the status quo and believing in different, new and unconventional ways to create value in the world.
How and when did you know your idea was good enough to develop it?
My first startup experiences made me realise the importance of knowing yourself and understanding your "Why". Entrepreneurship is incredibly rewarding, but it's also tough and it takes all your drive and motivation to push through the challenging times you'll have to go through again and again. That's why really understanding what drives you is key. If you know that, you'll have enough motivation to push through.
What would you say are the top 3 skills that needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Why?
Persistence, resourcefulness and adaptability. You have to persist day in and day out, but you have to do it smartly. You also have to as resourceful as possible and work around scarcity. Lastly, you have to continuously adapt to all sorts of circumstances and changes.
What is your favourite part of being an entrepreneur?
The personal growth, which is a must. It's the ultimate expression of Darwin's thesis - to evolve, you have to adapt.
What individual, company or organization inspires you most? Why?
This is a cliché answer, but frankly Elon Musk is out to prove that anything is possible.
If you had 5 minutes with the above indiv/company/org, what would you want to ask or discuss?
How he manages his time, how he plans his execution strategies, how he motivates all his companies and how he communicates his vision to the world.
What would you say have been some of your mistakes, failures or lessons learned as an entrepreneur?
There are so many and they never stop. It's so important to continuously zoom out of what you're doing and look at the big picture. You need to focus on your critical path, i.e. the most important actions to get you to achieve results. Managing people is also key and finding the right talent can take longer than you have time for. You need to trouble-shoot all the time and keep on having an "action" oriented attitude.
How have you funded your ideas?
Private investors with great expertise across the areas that are relevant to our company.
What is good about being an entrepreneur in Oxfordshire? Bad?
Oxford gave me exposure to so many resources, talent and inspiration. It's also a good cocoon, as you've got all the space you need to focus on what matters. The ecosystem is improving every year, along with the enthusiasm for entrepreneurship. These are exciting times!
If a new entrepreneur or startup came to you looking for entrepreneurship resources, where would you send them?
Enterprising Oxford has amazing resources for an aspiring entrepreneur. Mixing that with a good amount of your own research and with some peers to bounce thoughts with will give you a great setup.
Any last words of advice?
Get to know yourself real well and be ready to hustle! Each day counts, so be brutally honest with yourself about what you did / didn't do well.