Arieann Defazio is the Founder and CEO of Kitables, a company that gives people the confidence to build. Kitables makes building kits for DIY projects in a variety of fields for both customers and big businesses alike.
A former biochemist, Arieann has been founding, managing, or working for startups for over a decade. She’s run both for profit and non-profit organizations and two years ago, was named a top 5 female CEO in the nation by SheEO. Arieann is extremely involved in our local startup community and supports Boulder Startup Week, the CU New Venture Challenge, Catalyze CU, and the YWCA, in addition to mentoring and speaking with individuals and companies. She specializes in the mentorship of first time entrepreneurs.
Arieann has a passion and a history of helping others build things from scratch - whether they are building projects, companies, or careers.
What drew you toward business from a career in science?
Arieann lived parallel lives for quite some time. While pursuing her undergraduate and graduate degrees in biochemistry, she was working for startups and founding her first company.
At 21, she co-founded a game development studio that ported games off the PlayStation 2. Then the first iPhone came out and changed everything. Arieann’s company made one of the first apps for the App Store (a chess game) and even had a meeting with Apple.
While she loved science, she became more drawn to business. The world of science moves slowly and Arieann prefers the fast-paced startup life.
Favorite part of your entrepreneurial journey
“One of the driving motivators in my life is novelty. Having the base skill set of an entrepreneur allows me to do whatever I want to do. It gives me freedom. I know how to network, leverage my network, raise money, think about finances, and ultimately run companies. Once you boil it down, a lot of companies are extremely similar. There’s a skeleton that looks the same and stuff that gets piled on top of it. I get to learn new industries and it’s my favorite part about my journey.”
“I get better every part of every day. I’m always learning and if I’m not, I move on.”
Tell me about a time you failed
“Things have 1000% gone wrong for me, but failure is a natural part of the process. I learn and adapt instead of letting it destroy me. Failure is necessary but is only useful if you learn from it, in that way it’s not a failure but a data point. I screw up every day, but it’s not failure. It’s part of life in a startup."
Advice to current students
“Go do the thing. Whatever you want to do. Whatever is in your head. Test the waters: whether you’re working at IBM or a startup, your personality needs to fit. Don’t get wrapped up in what’s cool or what pays. Do some soul searching and find what fits your driving motivators and your personality.”
What’s next? What are you excited about?
Kitables is building partnerships with national and international brands that run microevents (think: bar trivia, paint and sip events). They’re bringing their Build n’ Brews event series to the masses.
Arieann is also a Board Member of SolderWorks, an innovation fund for hardware startups that provides granted memberships for those with a desire to take their idea to a functioning prototype. Their focus is on very early stage companies and welcome anyone with an idea to apply. Click here or email email@example.com to apply.
And in case you didn’t think she was keeping busy, Arieann recently co-founded another venture, Conduit Accel — a hyperaccelorator program aimed at helping Australian companies prepare to raise American capital.
“I’m excited to help people go through this journey. Being there for people who want to help themselves.”
There’s other exciting things in the works, stay tuned!