WTF? Launching a Business in the Middle of a Pandemic

A global pandemic hits and you think to yourself, "Yup, right about now feels like the perfect time to launch a business.”
Perhaps that’s not the case for most of us, but for these five intrepid entrepreneurs, the pandemic offered a chance to take a leap of faith, switch things up, and put everything on the line to try out something new. For some it also felt like a moment in time when something needed to be done to fix things.

“I just thought, it’s now or never. I don’t care if the world isn’t ready, I just want to get it out there”

Rita: “It’s been quite wild, it was unexpected. You think you’re going to take some time off but sometimes things just find you instead of you looking for them”

Kirti: “I needed to take that work ethic I was putting into other people’s companies, and put it into my own”

Sydney: “During the pandemic I was laid off, and this was my moment to figure out if I was really passionate about my job. I wasn’t...:”

Mario: I thought, what other passions do I have that might be useful given where the world is right now?

Sydney Arkin

Founder + Kingpin, Bad Walter's Bootleg Ice Cream

Sydney is the brains behind Bad Walter's Bootleg Ice Cream—an underground lactose-free ice cream company based in Oakland. Before this, she was an award-winning creative director, building brands and ad campaigns for many of the products you know and love.

Rita MacDonald-Korth

Co-Founder + CEO, Circl

She is a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Circl’s predecessor, COVID Loan Tracker (small business community site), and previously was the CEO of a venture-funded retail company, Presenteur. Her mission is to advocate for entrepreneurship for women and to support and promote small businesses.

Summer Taylor

Founder, Shine Lab Co.

Summer Taylor, Founder of Shine Lab Co., creates experiences that are personal and make you smile. Inspired by the shine of California culture, Summer hopes to bring a unique brightness into your home with the joy of eco-friendly, non-toxic, custom candles.

Kirti Kana

Founder + CEO, Conscious Culture Coffee + Soul Care House

I like to bring together aspiring entrepreneurs, change-makers, leaders, and creators to collectively create new systems, and sustainable autonomous environments. I’m currently seeding it all with ethically sourced coffee and an intentional virtual community.

Mario Giulio Bertorelli


I co-founded Atium to help remote workers build and nurture meaningful connections with their colleagues.

I truly believe that "culture eats strategy for breakfast."

Elizabeth Babinski

Founder, Liz Rae & Co + Community Support Advocate, Typeform

Liz has told over 500 love stories officiating 100% custom wedding ceremonies for the past seven years between the US and Europe for Liz Rae & Co. When she isn't officiating, she's planning small weddings and elopements for couples through her secondary company, Vows Well Traveled. In her spare time, she engages with the Typeform community as a Community Support Advocate.