#NEXTFounderChats: Natalia Mykhaylova

Natalia is a Next 36 entrepreneur and the CEO of WeavAir.

With a background in engineering, chemistry, and design, she is working on novel materials that offer continuous personal protection from air pollution.

Tell us a bit about you and your venture! What was your inspiration for creating WeavAir?

During my PhD, I developed a new, portable device that can accurately measure air pollutants at a fraction of the cost of existing devices. While using the device to study air pollution in Toronto neighborhoods, many people approached me for advice on air purifier and HVAC effectiveness. I purchased commercial solutions to test their effectiveness and found that many do not provide sufficient protection. Through these studies I realized that organizations could save a lot of money and improve energy efficiency by incorporating continuous monitoring of air metrics in buildings and transportation. These insights led me to develop WeavAir technology. My long-term vision with WeavAir is design of systems that adjust to our body and environment as well as creating a validation infrastructure and marketplace for sensor data using blockchain.

What influenced you to take the leap into entrepreneurship?

3 major things motivated me: 1) problems with current systems that can be easily prevented, 2) lack of commercial solutions for problems I wanted solved, and 3) the desire to build elegant solutions that would solve problems.

What is the most unpopular opinion you have on entrepreneurship?

Ideas are worth nothing, execution is everything.

How do you believe evolving technology will impact the way we do business over the next 10 years?

The technology would be seamlessly blended in our daily life. We will not have to think about looking up, collecting or processing analytics. Instead, our systems will adjust to us and our environment automatically, improving our health and well-being while improving process efficiency. We will also stop trusting our senses, and security will become a huge problem.

Do you have a morning routine?

Boxing, reading Ray Kurzweil, thinking, planning 3 goals for the day.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Improving the lives, health, and well-being of at least 1 billion people.

What 3 books would you recommend to all aspiring entrepreneurs?

Zero to One (Blake Masters and Peter Thiel), Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (Jared Diamond), The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail (Clayton M. Christensen)

Who is your hero and why?

My hero is Elon Musk, for his ability to convince and execute.

Follow her journey on Twitter.

WeavAir develops functional, modular fabrics and accessories that monitor, purify and condition the air.