Meet Aleksandar Dimitrov, ABLE member and co-founder of AYO
The result of a three-year development, testing and engineering process, AYO uses the latest developments in Chronobiology, study of the human body clock, and delivers clinically-tested soft blue light to actively increase energy levels, improve sleep, and minimize the tired, lagging feelings that often accompany jet lag. The AYO wearable recently took top prize in the KLM-Air France search for the “most innovative travel technology product of the year.”
Tell us more about AYO and how you started ?
While doing our MSc Entrepreneurship in Rotterdam, my co-founders and I started our company from a personal need. (lack of energy during the gloomy winter days in the Netherlands). After trying alternative products for a while, we have decided to develop AYO – a light-based wearable for better sleep, energy and jet lag free travel. After participating in several student competitions and understanding better the market need for such a product, we decided to focus full-time on building AYO immediately after graduation.
What did inspire you to become an entrepreneur?
What inspired us to start and what continues to be our main motivation is the opportunity to positively impact the lives of millions of people worldwide, solving sleep problems, minimizing the effects of jet lag, and bringing more energy to those who need it most! Less than 2 years after our product launch on the market, we have thousands of happy customers from more than 100 countries worldwide and this is just the beginning. D
Did you have mentors along the way?
We’ve been fortunate to have different mentors and supporters from the moment we started working on the idea. From our professors at the university, going through scientific researchers, business experts, fellow entrepreneurs and investors, there have been a great amount of people who believed in our mission and wanted to support us. Some mentors provide an enormous value (e.g. usually fellow entrepreneurs or investors who have already been through what you are going through now) while others not that much. What we have learned is that we, as founders of the company and its main driving force, need to filter out all the advice we get and make the final decision on our own as much objectively as possible.W
What is it like to be an entrepreneur from your perspective?
Entrepreneurship is a constant roller-coaster (at least for us but I believe for the vast majority of entrepreneurs as well) with ups and downs on a daily basis. If you are lucky and keep the company afloat, you will be riding the longest roller coaster in the world. What’s thrilling about being an entrepreneur is that you have to get outside of your comfort zone all the time, learn from your experiences and keep going. W
What brings you the ultimate satisfaction?
The biggest satisfaction for me comes from the stories we hear almost on a daily basis from our customers who have benefited from AYO and whose lives have changed for the better with the help of our product.