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Maria Jose Castro: Pancake


Name: Maria Jose Castro

Business Name: Pancake

Location: San Jose, Costa Rica

Establishment (Year): 2020

Category/Industry: Construction, Real Estate and Architecture Services

Profession/ Specialty: Interior Designing


Company details:

Interior design has been typically seen as something available for only the top 1% of the population. Pancake aims to include the next 29% bracket, making interior design accessible while eliminating the frustration of furniture purchasing. Our fast, fun, and painless virtual design experience allows users to co-design their space with an expert interior designer, in real-time and with the option to use the furniture in just one click.



Unique selling proposition/ competitive advantage:

The fastest, easiest, and most enjoyable way to design any space in real-time, always on a budget, and with actual products from great furniture brands. We not only deliver great design, but we do it 40x faster and 5x cheaper than anyone.


Challenges faced during the journey:

The biggest challenge has been the financial downturn that started right when we went out for our Seed Round, especially after a very successful Pre-Seed round process. Pre-Seed funding was supposed to be all destined to software development. However, the challenging times forced us to stretch our dollars to the max and not only double or runway be able to invest some money in promotion for brand positioning. Disrupting an industry by offering a service that has typically been available for the top % of the population has signified lots of questions from industry professionals, companies in the market and Venture Capitals. So being able to demonstrate the potential for growth by transitioning from relying exclusively on a DTC strategy through social media channels to B2B strategies has been an important step for the company as well.


Advice for women entrepreneurs:

It is okay to be scared or afraid of doing something. Use this as motivation. There's always a chance things will not go the way to plan them to go, but some chances are they will. You will never know if you don't try! Give the team the importance they deserve. Culture is key during good times but especially important during the not-so-good ones.

“In times of crisis, there are two types of people: the ones that cry and the ones who sell tissues. Which one do you want to be?” – something that my co-founder's mother said to him once and we constantly remind ourselves of.

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