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Interview with Gemma Krysko

Founder of Queens of Tomorrow

Gemma Krysko is the co-founder of We Are Indigo, a destination PR agency, and is now entering the world of technology with the launch of a new app, Queens of Tomorrow. To kick off our Women in Emerging Growth interview series, we sat down with Gemma to discuss her experience as the founder of two very different businesses, and what she has learnt from both.

Tell me about Queens of Tomorrow. How was the idea conceived and where are you in the process?


I’m the founder of a destination PR agency and when COVID hit, every single client paused. Hospitality was hugely impacted all over Europe. In 2021, when we were re-establishing our agency and opening our Ibiza office, I had this enormous sense of gratitude that we had made it to the other side. I was reflecting on my career until that point – starting my own agency, winging it, overcoming self-doubt, and seeing how far I had come. It was truly a lightbulb moment. I thought, “We need to do something for the next generation of women in business. Let’s make an app, and I’ll call it Queens of Tomorrow.” The app is in two parts. It's one part affirmation and building self-belief, and one part structured network where women can connect with each other for business – cutting out the middle-man. Like LinkedIn meets Bumble in a way.

I had initially agreed a sweat equity deal with a tech developer, but I’ve since found out that they can’t deliver what they promised. This has been a blessing in disguise because now I have a new developer, timelines haven’t been affected, and I still own 100% of Queens of Tomorrow until I get angel investment, which is the stage I’m at now. I’m meeting with female angel investors and that’s always where I wanted to go. I wanted to be financed by, supported by, and partner with women.

It was truly a lightbulb moment. I thought, “We need to do something for the next generation of women in business. Let’s make an app, and I’ll call it Queens of Tomorrow.”

Why do you want to work with female investors?


I’ve spoken to some incredible women that I might not have had the chance to speak to with a We Are Indigo hat on. I’ve found that there’s a difference between female and male investors. If the women like your idea, they really engage with you and you can feel their passion – rather than just giving you advice and getting you off the call.

What has been your experience with pitching to investors?


I started pitching to investors at the beginning of the year, and that in itself was a baptism of fire – needing figures that show the value of the business and projected revenue, and your TAM and SAM, et cetera.

I’ve had great feedback from every single person that I’ve pitched Queens of Tomorrow to, but along the way I’ve been given some bad advice too. 

Because I was new to this world, at the beginning I was taking every piece of advice as golden. I thought, “These are the experts, they’re going to help me.” But I’ve found that investors also don’t always know what’s best. It’s all a learning curve.

What are your long-term ambitions for Queens of Tomorrow?


Getting the app launched later this year will be the first big milestone, then I would like to think that Queens of Tomorrow will become the go-to social network app for women who want to do great things in business. The affirmations are the seeds that you plant, and the network is the roots that grow.

Tell me about setting up your own PR agency in 2011.


I had been working in PR for 7 years, and I was made redundant. At that time in my life, I felt like everything was going wrong and the redundancy was the icing on the cake. I knew that I liked the job, but I didn’t like the politics that came with working in an agency. We’ve come a long way but back then it could be quite a toxic environment, especially for a woman. I decided that I would set up my own agency and I would do it differently.

I got myself a one-bed apartment in Manchester. I had no clients, no investment – I had no idea what I was doing, but I thought, “I’ll work it out.” I called everybody that I had worked with over the last 7 years in PR and told them I was starting my own agency. An amazing woman I used to work with said she would love to meet with me, so I went to see her. She said, “I have a small budget, let’s do it.” She was my first client. I hugged her and probably nearly started crying with pure relief and excitement that it was happening. She’ll never know how important she was in my life and career.

Looking back, I wish I had known that there was financial support out there. The only way you can learn these things is by giving them a go, but I don’t necessarily think that’s a good thing. We should be empowering women at school level by teaching them the terminology and fundamentals of how you run a business. What is VC funding? What is private equity? What is angel funding? How do you get a loan? All these skills are entirely excluded from school education.

I didn’t know any of that and for me, it became a cycle of work > new clients > growth. It was only when I had the lightbulb idea for Queens of Tomorrow that I went ‘back to school’ essentially, to understand the terminology around the finance world. I feel very informed now, but it’s something I’ve had to teach myself – alongside being a founder and all the client work I do. I’ve learned more about business in the last 2 years than I have in my entire career.

"I’ve learned more about business in the last 2 years than I have in my entire career."

Were there any challenges that came with expanding We are Indigo to Ibiza?


Ibiza is a no-brainer for a destination PR agency because there’s so much interest from the UK media. It’s a brilliant place to do work, but getting a foot in there can be difficult. When I first set up an office out there, I would fly over, hire a car and drive to appointments all over the island. I didn’t know how to find the people I wanted to work with, so I really had to hustle. The challenge I want to help people overcome is finding a network. With Queens of Tomorrow, you’ll already have that network. You can say, “I’m coming to Ibiza, New York, London – I’d love to meet.”

In today’s economic climate, is there anything about running a business that has become noticeably more worrying or challenging?


The cashflow is slower as people are holding onto their money for longer. We Are Indigo is a boutique agency, so it can create a stressful situation when people don’t pay on time.

Having said that, I think there’s money out there for investment. I have clients who have done enormous deals this week alone. Small businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs might be put off because of what they’re reading in the media, but there is money there. Stay positive and pay your bills on time!

"Small businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs might be put off because of what they’re reading in the media, but there is money there."

What advice would you pass on to the next generation of female founders?


Have self-belief that you can achieve what you want to achieve and keep going. If you know you’re onto a great idea, then go for it.

If you’re a female CEO or founder of a UK-based technology company, your business may be eligible for the Technology Fast 50 Women in Leadership award. The Technology Fast 50 is a ranking of the country's 50 fastest-growing technology companies, based on percentage revenue growth over the last four years. The Women in Leadership category recognises those companies within the Technology Fast 50 that are either led by a female* CEO or have a founding team comprised of at least 50% women. You can apply for the Fast 50 on our website.

* The terms ‘women’ and ‘female’ are taken to include all those who self-identify as women or female and engage with their current employers as such.