Saturday, January 29, 2022

No matter what others tell you – always dream bigger

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MUA helps, individuals, teams and companies to choose happiness to connect and to build meaningful relationships to live in a happy environment

Please introduce yourself and the Startup MUA to our readers!

Hi, my name is Julius Geis, and I am the founder and CEO of MUA. Was born and raised in Stuttgart, Germany. I fell in love with the Hawaiian Islands first, followed by falling for a Hawaiian girl. 

I have been an entrepreneur and branding strategist my whole career. It’s the curiosity I have for humans and brands that keeps me going over and over again. MUA sees a deep yearning in people and companies to connect and to build meaningful relationships. To be happy and to live in a happy environment is what we’re all striving for – MUA helps, individuals, teams and companies to choose happiness.

Today, I live on the island of Maui, and a part of me also lives in Europe where I started the journey of MUA. 

Why did you decide to start a business?

As a strategist, I worked with brands of various sizes. The core of my work was to help brands build a stronger vision for the future. In different workshop formats, we would sit at the table, and it would just sparkle. For most people, it was effortless to set their values, hopes, and dreams towards a strong vision. These moments were exhilarating. However, about 14 days after the workshop, I would check in with the same people to find out how they were doing. Surprisingly, about 95% of the people would report the same phenomena: they didn’t follow through with the workshop conclusions, and they fell back into the same routines they were in before the workshop. I realized that there was a gap between their intentions and their actions that nobody was aware of. That phenomenon really sparked my curiosity and became the foundation of MUA. 

Today, MUA is a design and technology company building products that help identify the gap between our intentions and our daily actions, by exercising self-awareness and mindfulness.

What is the vision behind MUA?

Our entire company is fascinated on how our careers and personal lives become enriched and colorful when we live through a “happy state of mind”. When we talk about “happiness”, we’re not referring to jumping, screaming and dancing around town, but if that’s what you feel, that of course is alright with us too. We often define “happiness” as an experience where the individual feels heard and seen by their environment e.g., coworkers, an inner quietness and sense of belonging. The key to get there is mindfulness and self-awareness; the training to pause, reflect and choose to explore and unfold yourself.

Now, why is that important for teams and companies? Because there is a real interconnectedness between the individual’s self and the collective experience as team and vice versa. Simply said, a mindful person will mingle with equal teammates and vice versa. To nurture happiness, through our MUA Journal and MUA Tech (coming soon) and to make it accessible for every professional from an engineer to a truck driver, to build better cultures, mental health and overall performance, is the vision of MUA.

From the idea to the start what have been the biggest challenges so far and how did you finance yourself?

MUA is still an early state start-up, and we have a long and windy road ahead of us. Luckily, we found wonderful people and investors who believed in our company’s mission and the team from the get-go, and support us with all they got.

However, the best team cannot prevent you from making mistakes. And, of course, we did make a few. What was and still is the most challenging to us is to execute our intercontinental business strategy. We knew we wanted to make the product available in Europe and the USA. Sounds simple, right? We thought so, before we encountered all the bureaucratic obstacles and hurdles. It starts simple as signing up on a European platform without having a European address. “Our system cannot do this and or do that” – uh how we loved to hear that.

Our first product is a journal. To make a truly sustainable product was our promise to ourselves. The journey to achieve that took us months. Literally! We challenged everything from the paper source, the ink, the glue, transportation, you name it. No mixed material, fully circular and transparent supply chain. Today, we are proud of our result and how we were influencing the market towards more sustainable solutions.

Who is the target group of MUA?

We offer our MUA Journal for both direct to consumer and teams and companies. Our MUA Tech product will be available Q2/Q3 2022. It will provide companies an amazing opportunity to stay connected with their employees, provide instant feedback about their wellbeing and motivation, deliver insights that are crucial for companies to stay on track while being surrounded by ever present change and transformation.

How does MUA work? What are the advantages? What makes you different from other providers?

When we talk about the MUA system as a team, we refer to it as the “heart rate monitor” for happiness and vitality of a company. Now, there are of course other brands out there who offer a similar language and aspiration, e.g., Microsoft’s Viva Insights and various others. What’s unique about MUA, is it’s truly designed to make people more self-aware and happier, not the company. Let me explain, so my investors don’t give me a call right away. Every company that is implementing our products, whether it’s the journal or the technology, will gain tremendous insights from it.

But data is only worth something, when generated and understood in the first place. So, when we designed MUA we were mainly focused on how we deliver benefits for the user, the employee, not the employer. Employees have to love a product from their perspective. It has to make their day-to-day experience better. That’s where we differentiate. We deliver a product that is simple to use – connecting an activity with an emotional reaction, using one of our three patented symbols – that improves the users “happiness” significantly, by simply helping them to pause, reflect and choose.   

Lastly, MUA is always private. No data or personal information is shared. Some tools out there really frighten me with how they send personal information to an employer. That’s not us, and it never will be us.

MUA, where does the road go? Where do you see yourself in five years?

Right now, we are introducing MUA to the world. That in itself is very exciting. The team is working hard on the MUA Tech launch, which will be a game-changer. After that – well, rainbows and unicorns. I have no idea what will happen in 5 years, and I am not really thinking in these terms. Today, I feel grateful and happy for the life I have, that’s what I like to share with others for as long as I can.

At the end: Which 3 tips would you give to future founders?

Build products that matter, improve people’s lives and don’t rob or harm our planet. 

Be decent. You will face a lot of rejection and failure. But stay decent. Stay true to yourself and don’t run behind a quick bug, it’s not worth it.

Dream big! No matter what others tell you – always dream bigger.

Thank you Julius Geis for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

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