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Start Your Business Success Stories

How I Went from Interior Designer to Technology Entrepreneur

Eloise Bune Credit: Dani Fresh

They say life happens when you're busy making other plans. For me, I guess that meant wedding plans.

I was a newlywed, writing hundreds of thank-you notes to our friends and family. Raised by English parents and having been exposed to art and culture early on in my life, I've always had an affinity for handwritten notes. To me, handwriting was art; and the individuality and personalization behind it inspired me. Fifty-something thank-you notes in, and I had discovered my first company, Handwriting.io.

Handwriting.io was built by trial, error and passion. I leveraged something I knew well and applied those skills to code, creating my own handwriting API. Our proprietary digital handwriting technology took off, landing partnerships with some of the world's largest global brands – something I couldn't have imagined in my wildest dreams.

It took a lot to build up that courage almost seven years ago. After all, my career was in interior design – now I was pivoting into tech? My schooling was largely art; I received a B.A. in art history and Italian studies from Wheaton College, and a degree in fine arts from the University of Cambridge. From there, I worked as a designer for brands such as Martha Stewart Omnimedia, Christie's, the Guggenheim Museum in Venice and White Cube Gallery. After almost a decade, I reinvented myself.

Following the success of Handwriting.io in the B2B market, I saw there was also a personalization technology gap within the consumer market. ScribbleChat launched in early 2017, providing consumers with an advanced messaging platform to customize handwritten text, stickers and interactive animations to more accurately convey emotions in text discussions. I wanted to empower individuals to express their feelings during everyday digital interactions.

Since the inception of Handwriting.io and ScribbleChat, I have raised $7.7 million in angel and venture capital, and launched partnerships with major players in the print and digital space including Bloomingdales, Hallmark, 1-800 Flowers, Xerox/XMPie, Facebook and Kik. Outside of that, I'm passionate and committed to doing my part to help others find their callings in life. I teach an annual class at Harvard Business School with professor Lena Goldberg on raising angel capital, and I always make time to support entrepreneurial conferences and projects.

At the end of the day, what I've learned is that we limit ourselves and our capabilities by thinking we have one track, or even one passion, in life. I could not have made more of a leap transitioning into the tech world from the art world, but I'm glad I took that risk. Today, I am an executive leader with a passion for personalization and art – just in a different way.

I've worn many hats in my career, and one lesson I learned is that no matter how digital we get, people will always crave human touch. It's my passion to help businesses improve customer engagement and drive revenue through unique and personalized communications – and it feels good to say it.

About the author: Eloise Bune is the founder and CEO of Handwriting.io/ScribbleChat and the co-founder of Tentrr. She is active in mentoring budding entrepreneurs and holds several leadership roles within organizations including Springboard Enterprises, Golden Seeds, Million Dollar Women, WeCN and Harvard Business School.

Edited for brevity and clarity by Sammi Caramela.