Jaroslav was born in 1989 in Kiev. From 11 to 18 years was in the “Plast”. He entered the Kiev Polytechnic Institute in applied mathematics. Even during his studies, he began to engage in social and entrepreneurial activities. Founded a company for Internet marketing and social organization to promote the capabilities of the Network, which subsequently embodied in a series of conferences.
In 2012 a friend Yaroslav Alexander Nuskin has created simple at first glance, the device. Neighbors complained about the barking of his dog, rocky, because he was bored at home, while Alexander was at work. So he designed a camera with a laser pointer, which can remotely, via the Internet, play with your pet. The device is so liked all the friends and colleagues that they decided to turn an idea into a business. Together with the main designer Andrew Maple, they started a company and began work on a prototype for serial production.
The development took fourteen months, including study in China, the results of which they posted their idea on Kickstarter is an American site to raise funds on the principle of crowdfunding. The project quickly gained more than the required 250 thousand dollars and the business started.
“Petcube” (Petkus), like any good idea, began to gain momentum at a frantic pace. Already in 2013 he was recognized as the best Ukrainian startup in 2014 — the best startup in Europe in the “Europe’s” (The Europas). Today, Petcube is a successful brand that offers users multiple types of devices, a social platform, developing the algorithm of analysis of animal behavior with elements of artificial intelligence. Jaroslav joined the list of the most successful young Ukrainians according to Forbes “30 under 30”. During this time the company has collected more than $ 14 million investment, has sold hundreds of thousands of devices in 18 countries. Now you can buy them in more than three thousand shops in the USA know about them, perhaps the majority of pet owners. The company has offices in Kiev, San Francisco and Shenzhen, and marking on the products themselves said “Developed in the Ukraine, assembled in China”.
We talked with Yaroslav Anycom not only about how to bring cats and dogs online, but about values, models of economic development, independence, multi-dimensional fronts of modern Ukraine and the future.
Bring Pets in Internet
— UKRINFORM: What has been achieved over the years after the creation of Petcube, and what is he today?
— Yaroslav Azhnyuk: When we started the company, we were faced with the question: “OK, we have an idea of the product, the camera with the laser, but is it possible to make of this business?” We then spent some time to investigate the issue and find out if there is really an opportunity for big business.
In 2011, “wall street journal” (The Wall Street Journal) published a famous article of Marc Andreessen (American engineer, investor, entrepreneur, co-author of the first popular browser NCSA Mosaic — ed.) called “Why software eats the world” (eng. “Why software eats the world” — ed.). It Andreessen aptly articulated the trends of global changes that come with the technological revolution. His idea was that the whole world will pereizobresti, industry for industry, using new features in the software, Internet, mobile technology.
We have seen that in the field of mobile products for animals no innovation made possible by this technological revolution, nor a strong brand, which would have had such trust and unconditional love of people, such as Nike (Nike) in the field of clothing or “Apple” (Apple) in the field of electronics. And we saw a huge opportunity in this simple device, camera for remotely communicating with a pet. It is important that it is interactive communication, which gives the opportunity to interact, not only one way to use the camera. According to our idea, the device had become such an smartphone for a pet, which he can go online.
Now our mission is to connect animals to the Internet and give them a voice
Our concept from 2012, the year was connecting the Pets to the Internet. When millions of animals will be online and they will have access every second when you can share them with your friends, and we will receive regular information about the animals, there is a basis for the development of the platform. It has other players, other businesses will be able to interact with these animals. They will be able to create additional value is derived from the experiences of Facebook, Google, later — “Uber” (Uber). Such was the hypothesis, and it is, surprisingly, slowly coming true.
Today our mission is to connect animals to the Internet and give them a voice. Under the phrase “giving a voice” means to understand animals. We, in fact, already begun to do so. Last year, we launched a feature that called “behavioral diagnosis”. Thanks to her, we can analyze the behavior of the animals that we see. After all, we’ve already sold hundreds of thousands of cameras that collect a lot of information. Our algorithms analyze it and are already able to “see” cats, dogs, people, to distinguish between barking, meowing. Now we aim to detect anomalies in behavior. This will give us the opportunity to recommend people to go to the vet more often to walk the dog, or, for example, if the animal is not enough activity to increase.
In the future we aim to create three interactions. First are the physical devices: cameras, smart feeder, smart collars, which track GPS location and activity of the animal. Besides the obvious value they give people, they also collect information about animals. The second stage is data analysis, which allows, in fact, understand the language of animals. Well, not the language, but to understand animals. The third stage — specific services and products that we can recommend to pet owners based on understanding their Pets.
See ourselves as the driving force, which should lead the industry in the twenty-first century
In such a operating system for animals we see the future of this industry, and we build it slowly. We already have a physical device “Petclub bites” (Bites Petcube) and “Petclub play” (Petcube Play). With the first we are working in partnership with a number of manufacturers of food for animals. We have already reached the level of algorithms and are able to distinguish between computer vision animals to record their activity, will soon be able to see abnormal patterns of behavior. Finally, we already have a platform, “Petclub keyr” (Petcube Care), where we cooperate with more than 30 companies that sell cool products for pet insurance, veterinary services, food, and even less common — for example, DNA tests for cats and dogs.
We see ourselves as a driving force that needs to lead this industry in the XXI century, where it should be.
— It happens that in the process of developing and scaling business invent interesting side of technology? For example, developing algorithms, I suggest that you also develop the elements of recognition?
Yes, that’s what is called artificial intelligence. We already have recognition, computer vision (eng. “computer vision” — ed.) for which the use of a neural network. The definition of the anomalies that we are currently developing is also artificial intelligence.
Military, diplomatic, economic fronts of Ukraine
— Petcube was founded in 2012 year. And a year later started a Revolution of Dignity. Did you take part in it?
I was on the Maidan physically only a very short time — in December 2013, after the students beat, but before the main event. In early January of 2014 I went to the United States to establish the office of Petcube. It was then that I moved and since then most of the time I spend here.
— It was not difficult to observe the events from afar?
— Of course. I remember very well those days when I sat glued to tapes of “the Ukrainian truth”, Twitter, Facebook, constantly updated them, I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t work, couldn’t think of anything else.
For me, as for many of us, then there was something important. I had a strange feeling. On the one hand, I think: “What am I doing here in America? I need to cut back and be with all.” There sits your team, fifteen people, and they are also: a day in the office, a night on the Maidan.
For many people in the country our expertise can be a role model
And on the other hand, I understand that well, you had the opportunity to create a company that will be a breakthrough for Ukraine. An example for many. Example of how three guys from Kiev can create value for the world, not stealing, not privatizing something, namely creating.
For many people in the country our expertise can be a role model. Instead of persuasion “do not steal — not live,” which, unfortunately, still serves as a guiding star for many Ukrainians who look to corrupt deputies, officials, and thieves. Once I was traveling on a train in the usual Ukrainian second-class carriage, and one grandmother told me: “if you, my son, was a member, would you steal”. It is, in fact, exemplifies — that people have in their heads. Because they don’t see other examples. That is why it is so important that in contemporary Ukraine the entrepreneurs create classroom valuable businesses. Showed you how to succeed in life, to be satisfied with what you are doing, have respect, money, and be happy.
Our team from time to time drawn to the idea. In our country there are the economic front, diplomatic front, the legal front. Everyone should do their for the sake of overall success. There are people who are now in the real military front for the sake of other people have laid the Foundation for the future of Ukraine. Events 2014-year has influenced not only me but the whole team. Now we have to bring our part to the end and show that everything is not in vain.
— Some say since the Maidan for five years, nothing has changed, and then there are those who say that only became worse. I wonder what is your opinion?
— It is impossible to evaluate these events from the point of view of the price of bread in the store. And say, the bread has risen after Maidan, it became worse. Of course, the economic situation of a large part of the people in the country has deteriorated. This fact cannot be neglected or treated condescendingly and say, these people do not understand. But the question is, where is the cause and what the consequence. What if the Maidan was the cause? Or rather the difficulties, faced by Ukraine, war, Crimea, economic crisis is a consequence of the fact that the corrupt government of Yanukovych systematically disorganized the country? I look at it.
From a historical perspective Ukraine has once again demonstrated to ourselves and to the world that it is a country of free people. Here are some of my friends-the Russians — or rather Russian liberals, who have themselves turned into a sort of archetype — say: “Ukraine is not bad, but we are in principle one people, isn’t it?” When I say this, I present a few examples that make you think. Ukrainians historically have always been critical to the Central government and tried to keep it under control. This led to better or worse consequences, but this tradition stretches back from Drevlyane, which Princess Olga avenged the burning of their village, to the Hetman, when he said that “where two Ukrainians, there three Hetmen”, to the Central Council, and three of the Maidan over the last thirty years. No doubt the Ukrainians are going through a deep democratic transformation. From the Constitution of Pylyp Orlyk to the events of recent years. In this we are fundamentally different from the Russians, who traditionally tend to recognize the authority. The king, the Communists, Putin and so on.
Whether this model is of a state more advantageous in the long run? I would say Yes.
I am convinced that every Ukrainian who wants the good of his country should think strategically and long term. At this scale of thinking, of course, the Revolution of Dignity — an important step forward. It is impossible to ignore that there are reforms that the country has received bezviz. Of course, there are many difficulties. But, you know, people want to wave a magic wand, everything changed in a few years. It does not happen. At the same time, normally when the masses is disappointing. It’s natural.
How to make Ukraine succeed?
— From books that you read, you obviously share Western values, and in particular, capitalist values. In your opinion, capitalism is the best model for our state?
You know, it’s really, really important discussion, to which Ukraine is a bit lacking. Discussion about the model of the economy and social structure. Where we are in terms of freedoms and economic freedoms left or right.
I can’t say that I fully share the right-wing economic views. Of course, capitalism is an economic model that won. Here you can learn a lot from the United States, and China. But first, each country is different and should adapt any model for themselves. Secondly, when we say that capitalism has won, the question arises — what? China and the United States, certainly two of the most powerful economy in the world that provides their military power. But in terms of happiness of the population, average salary, level of poverty — they are not among the leaders. There is also a very interesting model of Scandinavian socialism. Although it is not clear whether it will justify itself in the long term or in military terms, the scale of hundreds or thousands of years.
It is necessary to have a strong economy in Ukraine. And one of the most obvious steps, which lies on the surface — to remove, finally, the unfortunate moratorium on land sales. There’s a wonderful book, which we recently mentioned the event in new York, “Why Asia managed” (eng. How Asia works — ed), which refers to race as “Asian tigers”, compared to countries such as Indonesia or Thailand, which is not possible with, for example, South Korea and Japan. The market land sales was one of the main drivers of growth, together with heavy industry, regulated and disciplined banking sector. These are the factors that distinguish successful “Asian tigers” from the less successful countries of South-East Asia. As for me, this is the most urgent economic needs of Ukraine. It is obvious that the need for the rule of law and fair trials.
Another peculiarity of Ukraine is that we have almost in their DNA have the potential for development of small and medium-sized businesses. That’s the phrase, “Where two Ukrainians, there three Hetmen”, actually shows that Ukrainians want to do their job. If to create normal conditions, or get out of the way, remove the barriers, we can obtain very interesting results.
However, in a number of areas of necessary protectionism. Another clever saying says: “do not Do what the British tell you to do, and what they were doing before they began to tell you what to do.” Not mindlessly run and follow instructions.
— From experience, how much improved or worsened conditions for doing business in Ukraine in 2014 and, to this day?
— How much has improved or worsened conditions for Petcube in Ukraine?
— Yes, from your own observations. Environment. Opportunities. Corruption. You face corruption?
— Absolutely not. Zero cases. Well, very rare. At customs there were some delays. But we concrete said that will not pay anything — and without any bribes.
And some people say that Ukraine is simply impossible to work with, because corruption is everywhere, and so on. In your experience — is it not so?
— At us such was not. Of course, some businesses face corruption more often than we do.
Maybe, of course, the position of “fighter for justice” “that’s Enough, here bribery, I’m not working, I’m not going to develop the business that I run out of this country.” As for me, this is the position of the weak people. A strong position is to search for opportunities — even knowing that sometimes you have to compromise. But to go to them only with the goal to eventually still won the good. I believe that the good should be with sword and shield, aggressive. Then it will stand with bloody sword on the body of vanquished evil. Differently cannot be. If this does not happen, it will be Vice versa. Evil will be with the bloody sword on the body of the vanquished for good. I understand that my position may be unpopular among some fighters for justice. But I am convinced that we must fight for the end result.
To create something valuable for the world
— What values do you consider important for themselves and for Ukraine?
— Humanity thought about the values for thousands of years, and they formed, in particular, the basis of all world religions. I am a Christian by birth and upbringing. I am closest to Christian values and precepts. I adhere to the ten commandments and the seven deadly sins when you think of how the world works, or what motivates me to action, how much temptation can lie in wait for me.
To be happy is to create something valuable for the world
I think it is a good value guideline that sinhroniziruete the whole country. Because it is in our predominantly Christian. There are the Crimean Tatars — Muslim values but, in General, not too far from Christian doctrine.
The person to be happy, you have to create something valuable for the world. We are talking about something broader than “value”. Creating something valuable for the world entails a number of wonderful side effects. It brings a person happiness and satisfaction from life. It brings other people happiness. This usually brings the money to the man who created value to the world. It brings him the respect of other people. It seems to me that when people live, seeking to do something valuable and good for the world, they become happy. As one of my good friend, “Money, fame and power are the three things that will never make you happy.” All of them must be a side effect of creating something valuable for the world. And creating is valuable, we must remember that — “thou shalt not kill” “thou shalt not steal” and so on.
— What book can you recommend to our readers?
— “Highly effective management” (eng. High Output Management — ed.) Andrew grove. This is the best management book among those I read. I think its a must read for every Manager, regardless of level. Andrew grove is the CEO of Intel (Intel), a Hungarian immigrant who at age 19 came to new York. Not knowing the language, he studied complex physical faculty. Got to Silicon valley, became one of the founders of Intel, was the leader of this company during its heyday when it was one of the most powerful corporations in the world, and in doing so — finding the time to write a book. An outstanding person. The ideal and a mentor for many entrepreneurs in Silicon valley. Including Mark Zuckerberg. When his wife asked him what one book he can recommend, Zuckerberg pointed out on this.
For those who don’t read, especially in Ukraine would be useful to read Ayn Rand “Atlas shrugged” and “Source”. There are probably many willing to throw stones at me for this recommendation. It controversia owner. I urge people to read all the criticism on her. But only after you read the work itself. For people who grew up in post-socialist, post-Communist country, it’s downright necessary. Such a reading must be included in the school curriculum. As a tablet from the Soviet legacy.
— You admit that someday be involved in politics in Ukraine?
— Would not exclude. Possible. I think I’m going to do things that do would be more useful. I, of course, interested in social and political life in Ukraine. Now I can just bring Ukraine more benefit to doing business.
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