We’re excited to announce that Ilian Georgiev has joined Pear as a Visiting Partner! An experienced operator who recently sold his company Charlie to Chime, Ilian will be working with Pear companies to share his insights in fintech, consumer, and beyond.
Like everyone at Pear, Ilian is a builder first, investor second.
After getting his MBA at Stanford, he spent several years in the gaming industry as a Product Manager at Pocket Gems, launching games like Paradise Cove and Episode to 100m+ users, and Head of Product at Chobolabs, focusing on mobile e-sport games.
Taking what he learned in gaming, Ilian spent the next 5 years building Charlie, an AI personal finance service. The goal was to “help ordinary Americans worry less about money and get out of debt faster, where the word ordinary Americans is actually key,” shares Ilian. Last fall, Charlie joined Chime.
Come January, Ilian was ready for his next step. He was prepared to dive back into building a company when a friend gave an unexpectedly impactful recommendation: spend 2 weeks without a plan and see what happens.
“At the end of those 2 weeks, I looked back and somehow I had talked to 20 different founders, helping them figure out how to find product market fit or how to fundraise or how to recruit… I wasn’t focused on going into venture, but I was focused on helping out founders.”
For the last 20 years, Ilian’s guiding questions have been:
- How to Develop New Products: What frameworks, priorities, and leadership maximize your odds of building something new that people will love?
- How to Build Culture: How do you create an environment where good people belong and do their best work?
Moving from operating to investing is Ilian’s transition to exploring these questions with breadth rather than depth. He specifically wanted to join Pear for three reasons: 1) Pear is good people and that attracts good people, 2) Pear is collaborative, and 3) Pear is exclusively early-stage. Just like it takes a team to build a great company, it also takes a team effort to find and support early-stage founders.
Ilian’s advice for early-stage founders:
“The most important thing, especially for people who have had a long history of success who then decide to become founders, is to recognize that strengths are infinitely more important than weaknesses.”
Ilian shares that it’s important for founders to break the mindset that they need to first focus on what’s broken— even if you manage to fix everything that isn’t working, all you’ll get is perfect mediocrity. A great product does not do everything; it does one thing exceptionally. Focus on what’s working and double down on it.
Ilian is working with our Accelerator, consumer, and fintech companies. Connect with him at email@example.com.