Destiny Robotics - Megi Kavtaradze's entrepreneurial adventure in the USA In 2021, Georgian entrepreneur Megi Kavtaradze founded Destiny Robotics, which currently operates in Florida, and which offers the latest technological changes to the international community.
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One of the most rapidly expanding sectors of technology is the robotics sector, seeing companies trying to make everyday tasks ever easier for people through the use of multi-functional artificial intelligence models. However, even the tech giants have struggled when faced with the challenge of creating human-like robots and inspiring trust in society rather than fear. With this purpose and motivation, in 2021, Georgian entrepreneur Megi Kavtaradze founded Destiny Robotics, which currently operates in Florida, and which offers the latest technological changes to the international community.
The goal of Destiny Robotics is to create socially intelligent, human-like robots that can interact with users in-depth. The main robot of the company is named Destiny. It has a natural appearance and a pleasant voice that is welcoming to individuals of all ages and currently, if necessary, it can offer psychological support. The idea of creating the project was born during the Covid-19 pandemic, when there was a lack of communication between people. It was during this time that Megi, who was using the Amazon Alexa device, realized that a box without a human face couldn't fill the human gap. Trust is important to society, and this emotion comes when you see a creation that looks like you.
"It gave me the opportunity to start working on a new idea myself, which led to my creating the human-type hologram assistant and robot, Destiny, which was to establish deep, valuable relationships with people and be a permanent, inseparable life companion for them. Destiny can become a friend to defeat loneliness- a problem that can appear in anyone's life, threatening both our mental health and the quality of our happiness," Megi says.
The founder of Destiny Robotics, a successful innovator, has been distinguished by exceptional visions and activities since childhood. Megi was born and raised in Tbilisi. She lived in Georgia until she was 21, then moved to the United States. While at school, she was the president of the School Council, and while there implemented various innovative projects with the team.
"My engagement with technologies has been a protracted and deliberate process. It all started when I was attending a physics class. I had an extraordinary teacher, Mrs. Izo, who got me interested in technology. Besides her unique lessons and considerable amount of feedback, she used to tell me, 'You have the mind of a boy'. And only later I realized that she was referring to the masculinity of the field and her faith in me that I could achieve anything with my mind and self-improvment," Megi recalls.
After that, Megi found someone else who inspired and motivated her to try out the field of technology: Gwynne Shotwell - a member of the board of directors at SpaceX. Her frequent public lectures piqued the Georgian entrepreneur's interest in invention even more.
"Everything started in such a way that me going in this direction was inevitable, and at the same time very interesting. I gradually found myself in the field of technology. From the beginning, I wanted to take exams in this direction, although, initially, I was scared. Everyone told me that technology was a masculine space and women were few and far between there. That's why I connected my career with international relations at the first stage. I don't regret it, though, as it gave me a global way of thinking and the opportunity to see the big picture in every aspect of my life", she says.
After successfully finishing school, Megi passed the entrance exams for Tbilisi State University's Faculty of International Relations. She dove into university life right from the start, just as she had at school, and soon became a member of the board of two non-governmental organizations – the Young Diplomats Club and the Erasmus Student Network.
"Membership in these societies helped me to acquire important life skills. We organized hundreds of projects. I conducted and participated in scientific conferences. I was involved in everything, and it did not happen without leaving a mark: Through these activities, I found myself, and clearly defined the exact direction in which I wanted to continue my work", she notes.
After completing the Bachelor's program, Megi enrolled in the Master's program in International Relations at the same university. Although she connected the profession with social and political sciences, the papers and theses she created at all levels of her studies were related to the direction of innovation and technology. She also connected her Master's thesis to the digital world - "The role of robotics in international relations".
Many people have expressed the opinion that formal schooling is insignificant. Megi, on the contrary, thinks that receiving an education as she did helped her to grow as a person and acquire the theoretical knowledge that she now successfully applies in practice.
"'Academic education is not important' - many people say, including Elon Musk, but if we look closely at general history, we will realize that every person who has achieved great success has either received a high level of education or had the strongest self-discipline. Developing strong self-discipline is very hard, and is influenced by so many social factors. That's why studying rigorously and gaining in-depth knowledge can help you advance in your endeavors and push you to become a self-disciplined person. Academic education was the most important factor for me. The research, papers, and acquired knowledge/experience allowed me to define the object of my interest and to get invaluable knowledge which I put into practice today", Megi explains.
Since completing her Master's degree in Georgia, Megi has been planning to continue studying for an MBA. The entrepreneur believes that the new training program will help her find interesting people and business contacts. At this stage, she is waiting for an answer from several leading universities.
After her successful studies and work in Georgia, Megi's American story began. But how did that Georgian entrepreneur become successful in the United States?
"Initially, I took part in a scientific conference at Harvard University, where I defended research in the direction of Innovation. Then I was invited as a speaker at a largescale Forbes event. The event was attended by the then-CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, with whom I managed to establish communication. Giving a speech in front of such individuals was an honor for me, and this experience inspired me to keep pushing forward in a sector in which I had a keen interest. I was working on different ideas and applications, and then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. It was a difficult period - I was no longer able to physically communicate with people, and I began testing the various capabilities of Amazon Alexa. Over time, I began to think that if people have to socially distance themselves, it would be nice if they had a human-type technological device at home. Alexa couldn't fill the human void, so the idea of Destiny was born. Then I read a lot about the problem of loneliness and found many interesting facts. For example, an average of 70% of people actively suffer from the problem of loneliness and lack of communication, which can lead to many mental illnesses, including premature death. I realized that Destiny could become an important part of our daily life. I had met some amazing people, and, together, we started to perfect the idea. A very strong team from the US Department of Defense, Huawei, Tesla, and the University of Cambridge (Professor) came together around the idea. That is my American story", she says.
On her path to success, the Georgian entrepreneur faced several challenges, ones which she was eventually able to turn into special opportunities. Recruiting, prototyping, and developing a sophisticated model of Destiny were the main obstacles she was able to overcome with her special attitude to work.
"The first major problem we encountered during the implementation of the project was recruiting. It is really difficult to find professionals with great experience, enthusiasm, and belief in innovation, but we managed it. The second problem was revealed during the prototyping process. Due to the pandemic, there was a shortage of hardware and software devices on the market, and we had to replace them with alternatives. The third issue, which was technological, became apparent when the models were connected. Choosing a product that is as near to 'normal human' as possible is crucial. Our team conducted an extensive, in-depth study on this", Megi explains.
What is an entrepreneur for Megi Kavtaradze? An entrepreneur, in her view, is a strong person who believes in a great idea, spends a lot of energy on its development, and serves it to the end. An entrepreneur has strong self-discipline and constantly takes risks to fulfill their goals. Such a person is extremely patient, has an open, objective mind, is grounded in reality, is adaptable to change, and is willing to persevere through numerous setbacks in order to succeed. She adds that entrepreneurs never back down and, for them, failure is merely a new experience; the beginning of opportunities, and a way to grow.
Starting an independent business comes with many challenges. In addition to obstacles related to the idea, entrepreneurs also face personal challenges in life. And for this, it is important to have a life motive with which you turn every challenge into a new opportunity and a means of development. One of the most important challenges Megi Kavtaradze faced as an entrepreneur was gender. The participation of women in the field of technology is very low, and a very small number of women are engaged in managing their own businesses. Gender, to some extent, seems to create a barrier in matters of career advancement. This issue was even more acute in the years when Megi was choosing her profession and future activities.
"The first important challenge was that I am a woman. Only 29% of tech workers are women, and even fewer of them are entrepreneurs. Therefore, you constantly have to compete with qualified men", Megi notes.
The second significant obstacle to entrepreneurial life is striking a balance between expectation and reality. In the process of working, Megi discovered that it is necessary to be prepared for all problems and not to allow emotions to influence your decisions. Understanding the expected results in advance allows you to avoid trouble and not to become disappointed in your work.
The third factor that made the founder of Destiny Robotics think was personality. "I was really shy, and I was embarrassed to bother other people. You must set this kind of complex aside when starting a business, and knock on every door in the hope that at least one will open", she says.
Based on many years of work, experience, and all the above-mentioned challenges, Megi lives today with one motive: "Look your fears in the eye, never protect yourself from criticism - calmly accept and strengthen your weaknesses, serve great goals, and never stop at any failure".
Megi increases her creativity with positivity, through meditation, yoga, tennis, and other physical activities, a kind of reset that gives her strength and motivation. She works an average of 12 hours a day and 72 hours a week on her projects. Her morning starts at 06:30. Sometimes, she also works on weekends - depending on work demands. With such a schedule, it is important for Megi to regularly clear her mind to be productive. She sleeps at least 9 hours a day. It is with this regime and approaches that she is always able to project a motivational mood. In the process, she says, the most important thing is the inspiration that helps you to complete all the things you started and at the same time effectively cope with stress: "I am inspired by the fact that I help people and I can solve many difficulties for them. Another source of motivation is the successful and smart people with whom I have grown and developed", the entrepreneur notes.
Some people believe that luck is important for success, however, according to Megi, we are the ones who create the path that leads to our success. Of course, to a certain extent, it matters how lucky you are in life as to your ending up exactly where you want to be, but without effort and determination, achieving success is an impossibility, she claims.
As for career advancement and news, Destiny Robotics has joined the Google for Startup and NVIDIA Inception programs, which will greatly contribute to the company's technological development. The main upcoming changes will be to the design of the robot, which is currently in the process of reconstruction. Prototyping is already underway, and the general public will soon see a completely different design of Destiny. During the last two weeks, the company has raised $140,000, and fundraising is ongoing. It already has 63 investors who are making a financial contribution to the project, and up to $150,000 worth of pre-orders for the robot have been received.
"There are also changes in our team, and a marketing specialist from Tesla has joined us. There is also a lot of interest from robotics and artificial intelligence researchers, so we decided to give students and researchers a special opportunity to intern at our company and publish their research through the new platform. They will create this platform together with us. We have already received more than 100 applications for this opportunity", Megi notes.
The organization's plan is to finalize the prototyping process and to launch robot Destiny on the market. This will be the first precedent of the world's most human-type robot, which will significantly simplify the tiring daily lives of those around us, and, most importantly, everyone will eventually be able to own one.
Entrepreneurship gave Megi invaluable life experience, and now, when new challenges appear, she is ready to face all kinds of obstacles. Megi offers the readers of Entrepreneur her suggestions and guidance on how to be successful in business: "1. Never be afraid of social norms, 2. Offer unique perspectives, 3. Be extremely curious, 4. Ask many questions 5. Take feedback positively and work on yourself, 6. Have strong self-discipline, 7. Knock everywhere, but remember, you don't need to open all doors, you just need to open one - where success awaits!"