A personal interview with Venus Liles, founder and CEO of qcard.
Q: Can you tell me about yourself?
A: My background professionally is in business law where I have been practicing for over 10 years. I started out at a law firm and then transitioned to in–house counsel at SAS where I still serve as an attorney. I started my own law practice, Liles Law, as a side hustle several years ago where I help other startups in the Triangle protect themselves and their businesses as they move forward with their dreams. As far as hobbies, I have two little kids, so a lot of my hobbies are their hobbies but when I have the time I enjoy watching soccer and practicing yoga.
Q: What’s your 30 Second Pitch?
A: qcard allows you to attach a video to any object. Think “video sticky notes” or Post-it meets Snapchat. Right now a lot of the video content lives virtually on social media (like TikTok or Instagram) or in connection with advertising campaigns. This takes the value of video content and brings it down to the physical realm. In the gift–giving context, you can attach it to a bottle of wine or bouquet of flowers. Alternatively, it can be used for instructional purposes, in the break room or for employee resources that are more easily communicated via video. It can also be an incredible marketing tool for businesses to incorporate video into their physical product packaging and promotional materials.
Q: What inspired this idea?
A: It was a pandemic idea born out of the desire to connect with others when we couldn’t be together physically. Initially, the emphasis was on gift–giving and trying to bridge the gap between greeting cards and being there in person. I began thinking that there had to be something in that in-between space and how video often helps us bridge that gap. I wanted to figure out a way to trigger the video message at the exact point of time when it would be most meaningful, synchronous with the receipt and opening of the gift. That led to what qcards are today.
Q: What’s your favorite part?
A: I love focusing on the intersection of creativity and connection. I had this idea purely in my head for months, and then when I tested out the prototype the first time, that initial burst of creativity transformed into something that could actually help connect people to one another through video. And the more people who are now using it, the more connections are created. And then more use cases pop up, so it’s this constant loop of creativity and connection – and that is so thrilling for me to be a part of.
Q: Who is your mentor?
My mom has always inspired me. She was such a loving mother and equally career-driven (an electrical engineer when there weren’t many women in that field). She has always told me that I can do whatever I want to do and don’t necessarily need to wait for others to pave the way. She is my biggest cheerleader with this new venture – but she would be my biggest cheerleader no matter what I was doing.
Q: Do you have any advice for fellow entrepreneurs?
A: Try to find the right balance between sticking with your mission and being flexible. I think it is extremely challenging when an entrepreneur does not have a mission or ultimate goal because then you can be swayed by all the differing opinions. On the other hand, if you are not adaptable, you might miss amazing opportunities on your journey.