Sevetri Wilson is the Founder and CEO of technology startup Resilia, founded in 2016. Headquartered in New Orleans with a second office in New York, Resilia is revolutionizing how nonprofits are created and maintained, and how enterprises (cities, private foundations, and corporations) scale impact.
Can you tell us, who is Sevetri Wilson?
Sevetri is a friend, daughter, sister, and confidant, oh… and boss. lol. Seriously, though I would consider myself an entrepreneur who is a builder by nature. I’m also a southern girl born and raised in Louisiana.
Growing up, did you always want to be in the tech industry and become an entrepreneur?
No, I became an entrepreneur at a very young age. First at 19 and then starting my own business at 22. Yet, when I was in school, I actually wanted to dive into journalism and history which I have degrees in both today.
Many people say if you can’t get a seat at the table create your own! You’ve done that and more, can you tell us a little about your experience succeeding in a male-dominated field?
Yes, I have created my own table, but I also want a seat at “their” table and have been able to sit at tables not often represented by the US. This is important because we need to know what’s happening inside of entities that impact our community too. It’s not enough to just create our own tables (though we must do that too) we must also demand a seat at tables that have influence and make decisions that impact us. Furthermore, I would say that my experience in male-dominated spaces hasn’t been as a challenge as being in white-dominated spaces. Here you have to continuously fight to not be marginalized.
With what you know, is there anything you would have changed while on your journey at age 22? Other than learning or gaining knowledge.
Over a decade has passed now so there’s a ton that has changed as I’m just not the same person I was at 22 when it comes to my understanding of how business works. I’m a naturally optimistic person and business has helped me become more of a realist. It also made me more resilient.
Can you tell us more about your book, Resilient: How to Overcome Anything and Build a Million Dollar Business with or without Capital?
Resilient is a collection of my personal journal entries coupled with a “how to guide” of sorts on how I bootstrapped my first company and then raised over $11M for my second company, Resilia. I believe that people will walk away from the book thinking if I did it then they can do it, too.
Without giving away too much, what are some of the pros and cons of having capital and not having capital?
Some of the pros of having capital are that you are able to have cash on hand to hire great talent, to be a bit “riskier” in your approach to trying new things, and generally, though not always, you are able to scale your company faster. The cons of having capital are that you are giving up a stake in your company, and thus some control, with every dollar that you take. You also have to formalize a board of directors, and those individuals “govern” your company. When you don’t raise the capital, you have more freedom to do what you want without outside influences like investors.
Do you believe that anyone can be successful with the proper guidance and education to creating a multi-million dollar business?
Yes, I do. I believe that some people just have that natural instinct, but everyone needs guidance and education because you don’t know what you don’t know. Yet, in business the sooner you figure it out the better your chances of success are.
You mention “bootstrapping”, can you explain what you mean? Bootstrapping is essentially building a business without outside capital.
This can be from your personal savings, or just investing your own resources into your business to grow it. I was successful in bootstrapping my first business, Solid Ground Innovations into a seven-figure company. With Resilia we didn’t go the bootstrapped route but instead, we raised capital because it’s hard to bootstrap software.
Do you also provide private coaching or is that something that you would consider if you don’t already?
Yes, I do provide private coaching via my website at sevetriwilson.com. I try to block out a few hours a month for it for entrepreneurs, founders, or individuals who are seeking guidance and/or want to discuss their business or idea.
What is it that you would like people to gain from your story and your book?
I would like for people to gain invaluable knowledge that can help them begin to really understand the different nuances that it takes to run a business and grow it successfully. The road is a rollercoaster, and that you have to build things you are passionate about. Furthermore, you have to be resilient and know that at any moment one chance encounter, one contract, one customer can change your life. You can’t quit too early, but you also need to put the right things and people in place so that you are successful because even if you’re a solo founder you still need the right people around you. Resilient is truly my startup journey up until this point and I hope people can glean insight and encouragement.
Do you have any events or appearances scheduled that you can share with us?
Yes, on April 4th I kick off the Resilient Virtual Book Tour which goes until May 8th. You can register at any time to join the tour. I’ll be having guests on such as Master P, Kat Cole, Rob Hill, Baron Davis, and more… so check it out here.
How can people connect with you and everything you have going on?
People can connect with me on social at @sevetriwilson or via my website.
All images by THEBROSFRESH