Posted by Pree Walia on May 11, 2015 at 6:33 AM
I am a student of history. I learn through real world tales of extraordinary triumphs and heartbreaks.
At 29 in 2012, I was on an uncharted path. I had nothing (so I perceived) ‘tying’ me down – no children, boyfriend, employer, or huge responsibility. Instead, I had a crazy idea. I wanted to build a nail painting robot.
This robot, “The Nailbot”, would eventually define the next two and half years of my life (and counting).
It was a far-fetched concept: Though I had worked in hardware, I was not an engineer and getting something functioning seemed daunting.
As I worked on prototypes, recruited passionate team members, (unsuccessfully) attempted to raise money from traditional sources, I failed over and over again.
But I kept going.
I took the punches in stride: I painted potential investors’ nails, tested products on real girls, pivoted our product line, found kindred co-founders, filed for patents, maxed out my credit cards, and tried not to let synergistic competition deflate me.
The Nailbot eventually came to symbolize something bigger than I ever imagined: my life.
I have spent most of my life as a nerd and an underdog. My awkward adolescence - getting bullied in middle school & stood up at homecoming at the age of 17 - seemed similar to a scene from Never Been Kissed. My romantic life during my twenties consistently ended with being unceremoniously dumped by most of my boyfriends. Exciting professional endeavors led to disappointment on judgement day: unsuccessful political campaigns and startups. I still choose not to succumb to self pity or bitterness.
Instead, I found my solace in my sisters and female friendships early in my childhood and throughout each chapter of my life as a woman. It was where I found my truest self, and felt smart and beautiful. Where I was appreciated for my humor, ability to change, sarcasm, insecurities and wild spirit. The women in my life have been my excelsior.
We invented this crazy Nailbot for the women in our lives – as a tool for girls to connect, feel smart and still feminine and beautiful. It’s a platform that will let us invent, design, code and create together.
On this journey, I have learned that life is not always fair – that there are no clearly defined roads to love, life success and professional triumph or failure. Instead, you have to be open, vulnerable, fail big and take risks.
In a profound way, the Nailbot, is showing a male dominated venture capital establishment beholden to pattern recognition that the Underdog will have its day in history too – powered by girls and women across the world like you.
We are Smart. We are Beautiful.
We are Preemadonna.
CEO & Co-Founder
Pree & Casey, Adventures in Shenzhen, China 2015
Preemadonna Nail Party!
September 2013: Jan, Pree, Pete. Jan & Pete were my former bosses. They helped with early Nailbot prototyping!
Celebrating my 30th Birthday with the women in my life.