Nikola Draca, Founder of soothe


Who are you?

I am a 22 year old developer from Ottawa, Canada that loves building new things. I started coding near the end of high school and since then I’ve been constantly working on small projects with friends. I’m also studying statistics and computer science at the University of Ottawa.

Can you tell us the story of your business from idea to where you are now?

Soothe was inspired by a friend in high school that suffered from severe anxiety. She had asked if there were any tools to help her avoid specific trauma triggers, and at the time I couldn’t find any solution that I thought was complete enough to use effectively. My co-founder Angus and I had the chance to build a demo at CU Hacking and we had to give it a try. The project was very well received and we decided to pursue it further.

What has been your biggest failure or struggle?

Our biggest failure to date I would say is the lack of press we’ve been able to secure. A lot of conversations and leads we’ve had were eventually withdrawn. Press is crucial to our growth since we might not necessarily be able to find the people that would benefit from a tool like this otherwise.

And what has been your biggest achievement or success?

Our biggest success has been winning a HackHarassment award as well as a 2nd place overall Major League Hacking award. Another huge success was getting covered by VICE and making the front page of ProductHunt. Those were both great opportunities to talk about Soothe and we want to achieve.

What’s your must read business book?

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries and Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. Although very unoriginal (as most entrepreneurs name those books) both were great guides to building products that people will use.

Who’s your most inspirational CEO or founder?

Tobi Lutke from Shopify. Being an Ottawa native, it’s always very inspiring to see what he’s achieved in the city and what he’s done to promote the Ottawa tech scene to the rest of the world. He’s had a clear vision for Shopify and has executed extremely well.

And can you tell us something weird or interesting about yourself?

I have a black belt in Karate and love kickboxing in my spare time!