Adulting Made Simple
The goal behind Realworld, the multi-purpose app for adulting, seems straightforward: to change the way the next generation enters adulthood. However, it is far more ambitious than lessening the growing pains of the transition into adulthood. As founder Genevieve Ryan Bellaire says, “We're taking on adulting as a whole and building a hub for young adults as they enter and grow within the real world.” Realworld aims to ease the burden of young people in every aspect, from student loans and building credit to buying a home, saving for retirement, and even getting a pet.
“I experienced the problem firsthand. After completing my JD/MBA program, I went on to work at an investment bank.” Bellaire explains. “This was my first 'real’ job, and I felt completely unprepared for the paperwork, benefits, and general nuances of the working world. I began talking to peers about their experience and realized the problem was more widespread than I expected.”
Thus, the idea to launch a startup that would combat the overwhelming moments of the important, beginning stage of adulthood was born. The first solution wasn’t an app — that came after a different approach that would forge the path for the final product. Realworld launched, initially, as an educational course that was sold to college career centers and alumni offices. While the company transitioned to a direct-to-consumer model, selling straight to graduates, beginning with an educational program allowed Realworld to establish partnerships that would help get their app into the hands of the graduates themselves.
Working Through the Growing Pains
Realworld offers a wholly unique and ambitious product. While there are other apps and programs that offer focused services for graduates to navigate topics like finance and banking — Realworld’s competitive advantage is that it provides a platform to support and instruct users in every aspect of the transition with its combination of tracking features and step-by-step lessons.
With that tremendous opportunity, however, comes the navigation of unchartered waters. “Creating a new category [within the industry] is really exciting, but in the early days, it was hard to focus on where to start and what we could initially build to start making an impact for our community.” Bellaire says, “Each element of building a brand new business brought a unique challenge as we created a new category and a new business model.”
Like many startup founders, Bellaire wore many hats while launching the startup. From marketing and product development to hiring, planning strategy, and managing operations — Realworld was launched by a founder's dedication to mastering several roles. “Now I have hired experts across each business vertical who can lead their function, and I can take more of an overseeing, strategic role,” Bellaire says of building the Realworld team and, in turn, a strong foundation for scalability.
When discussing the inevitable adaptation and resilience required when launching a startup, Bellaire notes that “Pivoting and iterating come with the territory, but we've never strayed from the vision and always remain determined to build something incredible.”
Help for the Next Generation
Over the course of their growth and success, the mission of Realworld and its founder remains the same: to simplify the transition into adulthood. “We have the opportunity to change people's lives for the better and ease a lot of the anxiety and fear that comes with not knowing what you're doing,” Bellaire says. “Every time someone says ‘I wish I had this when I was younger’ [it] keeps me going to pay forward everything I learned the hard way.”
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