Interview by Marija Butkovic @MarijaButkovic
Darya Yegorina is a serial entrepreneur, CEO of CleverBooks and other ventures in multiple industries. Darya’s current focus is on emerging technologies for education where she has the mission to deliver the most innovative Augmented Reality technology to schools around the world and to create equal access to technology for kids globally. It is also important for Darya to help other women with motivation to express themselves in business and technology leading by her own example, sharing her own experience and story. Darya is called the Innovator by Irish Times, Irish Tech News and Examiner in 2017, was featured in Forbes and selected as one of young Irish best entrepreneurs in 2016.
What is the idea behind CleverBooks and how did you come up with it?
CleverBooks brings revolutionary approach towards teaching existing subjects by combining truly innovative augmented reality (AR) technology with traditional techniques to enhance children’s learning and building the future of education aid.
The innovative AR tool is used as supplementary to the existing primary school curriculum and help educators to individualize class lessons according to children’s’ capabilities and engage them in learning more independently using the key modalities: seeing, hearing and doing. The method of innovative and immersive learning will strongly benefit children with learning difficulties and have larger influence among the less academically successful students by highly-visual impact of AR that brings boring school subjects to life.
The idea is powered by the necessity of helping kids in getting ready for rapidly changing life. Innovative technologies like Augmented Reality changes the way we learn in future. Questions like why technologies are entering our lives as consumers so rapidly or why the transforming business sector and the education sector in the digital transformation era still remain in analog age?
We see our mission in challenging and disrupting education by providing kids an access to innovative technologies and helping them to get ready for the future.
When did all start and do you have other members in your team?
We started together with Inna, the co-founder, and got like-minded people on board. Our team is extremely passionate about what we do and and strongly believes in the mission. This video gives an understanding on why and how we want to achieve our goals.
CleverBooks delivers most innovative educative products based on technology and traditional education aids and approaches for kids around the world. We strive to empower a new generation of progressive and creative children by delivering most innovative solutions at the most affordable prices because everyone has the right to access technology for efficient and progressive education.
Our values are:
Equality: every child in the world has the right to access most innovative technology for education and entertainment (our apps are free).
Responsibility: we create products that can be reused/offered to other generations/kids to use.
Caring about the planet: we create eco-friendly products that do not harm our planet. We use technology that can be modified and used on the same purchased item.
Straightforwardness: we are open and straightforward with our customers and business partners. We are for transparent and mutual benefit relationships. We lead by example.
How long did it take you to be where you are now?
Our current focus is emerging technologies for education. With all the efforts we currently undertake: meeting and talking to people, creating educational and informational podcasts and video interviews with thought leaders and educators around the world, free CPD courses for teachers and providing curriculum-based solutions with Augmented reality, we are aiming, as a company, to bring the education to the level of digital age. Enterprises are in the digital age during industry revolution 4.0 where about education sector still remains in the analogue age. In my current role I focus on disrupting the education sector with technology in order to get our kids ready for the uncertain future that industry revolution 4.0 has for them in store. We are working hard and bootstrapping for 1 year already. Starting from the idea, research and interviews with targeted customer, product design and technical implementation. Although, Augmented Reality is something that people hear about, still a lot of work has to be done in order to educate and help people understand the power of this technology.
What was the biggest obstacle?
The biggest obstacle is the lack of information on how to use Augmented Reality and we are working on this.
What are your biggest achievements to date?
Our biggest achievements are the mentions in the press. Also the opportunities to speak and promote Augmented Reality at these events worldwide: Innovative Schools Summit (Atlanta, USA) and EdTechX (London and Singapore), Global Female Leaders Summit (Berlin), Beyond IoT (Ireland), EdTech International Schools Summit (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 10th edition of Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (UAE), Ada Lovelace Festival (Germany), Dublin Tech Summit 2018 and others.
What are your projects you are currently working on within your company?
We have finalised Augmented Reality based Geometric shapes with the full range on products based on them and our Geography is coming up in a couple of weeks’ time. The products can be found here.
All our projects are basically connected to AR. With all the efforts we currently undertake: meeting and talking to people, creating educational and informational podcasts and video interviews with through leaders and educators around the world, free CPD courses for teachers and providing curriculum-based solutions with Augmented reality, we are aiming, as a company, to bring the education to the level of digital age. Enterprises are in the digital age during industry revolution 4.0 where about education sector still remains in the analogue age. In my current role I focus on disrupting the education sector with technology in order to get our kids ready for the uncertain future that industry revolution 4.0 has for them in store.
What will be the key trends in the AR/VR industry in the next 5 years and where do you see it heading?
We see that AR is going to be an important step forward in school education due to its adaptability and low cost. Also the benefits that AR provides are huge and they help so many kids to personalize their learning path. We also think that corporate sector will take indirect part in education by providing AR based games as part of their services.
What are the challenges of being a female founder and entrepreneur in AR/VR?
The main challenge of a female founder is being a female founder ☺ We are not perceived as technical knowledge equipped and taken in all cases 100% seriously. I am sure it will change with the time because the results that women are showing in business and the contribution they are making is great and sooner or later all the efforts will be recognized.
What is the most important piece of advice you can give to all female founders and female entrepreneurs in AR/VR out there?
My advice to to keep going no matter what obstacles are out there. Belief in the product or service we deliver and then others will accept and recognize you.
Who are your 3 inspirational women in AR/VR?
I am absolutely fascinated by Sana Farid and the work she is doing. I know how much time and effort it takes and my full respect to her. The more women of action we have as an example, the more power our female entrepreneurship will gain.
How did you find out about Women of Wearables?
From Sana Farid, WoW Middle East Ambassador, and I got absolutely inspired by the movement. This is great to have a bunch of like-minded people that share a common interest in new technology.
How does the tech ecosystem look in Dublin?
It is very vibrant and multinational. There are a lot of initiatives and start-ups with great ideas.
What will be your main goals as Women of Wearables Ambassador in Dublin?
I aim to create a community that shares common interests and helps its members with information and support to achieve their goals in tech and change the world for even better place.
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This interview was conducted by Marija Butkovic, Digital Marketing and PR strategist, founder and CEO of Women of Wearables and co-founder of Kisha Smart Umbrella. She regularly writes and speaks on topics of wearable tech, fashion tech, IoT, entrepreneurship and diversity. Visit marijabutkovic.co.uk or follow Marija on Twitter @MarijaButkovic @Women_Wearables @GetKisha.