Qwil CEO says he has impostor syndrome, and hopes it stays that way

CEO and cofounder Johnny Reinsch


  • “Impostor syndrome” is the phenomenon in which people don’t
    think they deserve their success and fear being exposed as
  • Johnny Reinsch, CEO of fintech startup Qwil, said he’s had
    impostor syndrome since he cofounded his company in 2015.
  • Reinsch said he hopes his impostor syndrome never goes away
    because it motivates him to learn more and perform better.

One thing many successful people have in common is the feeling
that they don’t deserve their success.

That they’re a fraud. That they’ve fooled everyone into
believing they are competent, but they’ll someday be exposed as

That feeling is called “imposter
,” and the CEO of one fintech startup says he’s had
it for three years and counting.

“When you’re first getting going, I think everybody suffers from
imposter syndrome,” Johnny Reinsch, the cofounder and CEO of
Qwil, told Business Insider.

Reinsch founded Qwil in 2015 as way to facilitate payment between
freelance workers and their clients. Reinsch came up with the
idea when he was working as an independent contractor and nearly
defaulted on his mortgage because his clients weren’t paying him
on time.

His vision was a company that would stand between freelancers and
clients, paying the clients whenever they want to access their
cash and assuming the risk of the clients when they don’t pay up
right away.

But when Reinsch pitched Qwil to investors, he said he was turned
down more than 100 times.

“You’re going to hear ‘no’ and be told ‘no’ more if your idea is
good, because it’s new and radical, then if it’s something that
sounds comfortable,” he told Business Insider.

“It’s tough to go in with your heart and soul behind something,
and you know you see something that other people don’t, but
you’re meeting the smartest people in the investment community
and they’re saying ‘I don’t quite see what you see.'”

The initial negative responses made Reinsch question whether he
was CEO material. He went through “a lot of tough, tough weeks
and nights and self doubt,” he said.

The tide is slowly starting to turn for Qwil. In April, the
company announced it had
raised $5 million
in Series A funding. Reinsch said Qwil has
15 employees and has plans for more growth.

But Reinsch said he still gets the feeling that he’s not the
right person for the job, and although it might sound
counter-intuitive, he said he hopes his impostor syndrome never

“Frankly, I don’t want it to go away, because it helps me to
operate better,” he said. “It puts me in a mindset of always
being in that beginners mindset and wanting to learn more so that
I really am that right person.”

“Because when it comes to the point where I’m not, I need to step
aside, because what we’re doing is bigger than my own ego at that

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