aboutYichen

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I am a serial entrepreneur fascinated by groundbreaking technologies and their potential in transforming industries and our way of life.

I started my first venture, Axol, just after finishing my Ph.D. in neuroscience at Cambridge. At Axol, we created a variety of human tissue types by combining Nobel Prize-winning stem cell and gene editing technologies to address the drug discovery market's need for live human tissues. We sold to all top 50 pharma-biotech companies, and Axol is thriving.

I could stay on as the CEO of Axol and continue to build the company to an exit. But something is nagging me inside. I am in my early 30s and still eager to learn. Just like in my 20s when I was very much interested in stem cells, gene editing, and biotech in general, I developed a strong curiosity for tech and AI, and want to venture into something new. I feel If I don't do it now it would be too late. So, after careful considerations, I found a replacement CEO and stepped down from the board. This provided me with "time & space" which I haven't had for many years.

 

During the "sabbatical", I learned a couple of programming languages, took introductory courses for machine learning, and dived into reinforcement learning (out of all categories of ML, I think RL is the most promising). The learning experience gave me firsthand knowledge about app development and AI, as well as some new ways of thinking.

 

Coincidentally, this was also a COVID year (2020). I saw restaurants, pubs, and shops closing down, and I very much missed travel and social life. This prompted me to think about the hospitality industry which has been hit hard by the pandemic. How could technology help these offline vendors that brought us real physical and social experiences?

 

After speaking with many business owners in this sector and market research, I concluded that this is a very promising industry that not only tech can help to revive but transform.

 

I am now pursuing this business full-time with my co-founder Uros Marolt. I am confident that it will become a great venture and, with the right founding team, potentially grow to a unicorn after a few years of hard work. So, join us if you share the same ambition, have the technical skills and entrepreneurial spirit to build products, and develop a great team.

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