Tell us a bit about yourself and background.

I was born in Moscow to a family of engineers. My father was a Rocket Scientist and my mother worked in Military Logistics. I’m half Russian and half Ukrainian. I’d say I grew up a typical nerd; surrounded by books and favouring long talks on various topics from culture to algebra over partying. My parents decided that it would be best for me to move to Australia to study architecture when I completed high school. I reluctantly obliged. At age 17, I suddenly found myself in a mysterious country. I was shy and quiet. I had no friends, no family, and no plan. It was like I kept hearing a whisper; “You are no longer you, your personal history has vanished. You can now be whatever you want to be”. Although I was very excited with this opportunity (I’m always excited to start something new and to see what I can evolve into), after all the shuffling in between TAFE Certificate, mid-year intake in architecture school and host families I became more and more insecure. By the time I was 19 years old I had severe social anxiety and I hid away in my little room. The Internet became my only salvation. By 21 I was sick of it and I decided that I needed to take my life back; which is always easier said than done.

One of the ways you have taken your life back is by creating CharmSafe. What is the story behind CharmSafe and what problem did you want to solve?

The hardest thing for me was (and still is) to get out there, open up and meet new people. Loneliness is something that is a natural part of me. I am naturally able to create something that would help people like me. CharmSafe is a very versatile app. I’m always delighted to read stories about how CharmSafe helps people in their everyday life. Women use CharmSafe as a support system during a date, a night out at a club or just when they are going for a late night walk. What’s even more amazing and precious, is that CharmSafe unravels deeper issues. Many of us struggle with loneliness and many of us are afraid of being judged by friends or relatives. Our app can support an anxious person by providing them a buddy when they are out; allowing a person to stay active and independent. It enables a single mother to re-enter the dating scene without the fear of being judged or helps a teenager to explore new social possibilities while staying connected. CharmSafe is free, easy and private. Our app empowers people to explore the world and connect with others in a safer way. I’m grateful for all the amazing people who support me on this journey.

Walk me through the early days. How did you get people to buy-in and what type of resistance if any did you receive?

CharmSafe is still a very young project. To be honest, the reception has been quite amazing. It feels like a project like this was long overdue. I feel blessed to be able to work on this project, CharmSafe helps me connect to so many inspirational people and to learn a lot about myself and the world around me.

Were there any challenges?

We decided to make CharmSafe FREE as we believe that safety and peace of mind must be available for everyone. Our only goal is to help people stay safe. CharmSafe was created with the passion and enthusiasm of like-minded people. Our goal is to reach every person who has ever felt unsafe that there is something that can help them when they go out alone. We need your help to make it happen. Please help us by sharing CharmSafe with your friends and family.

We absolutely will! It’s a great cause. Tell me what it felt like when you first noticed that what you are doing was making an impact.

It felt very natural and liberating; like dancing and singing. I live and express myself through my work. Realising that there are many people who feel the same as I do or support my initiative made me feel connected and supported. What differentiates CharmSafe from competitors? There is nothing like CharmSafe to my knowledge. There are things that are somewhat similar, but they are all either limited by locality or the type of use and none of them are free.

Now you’re a bit of a serial entrepreneur. What about entrepreneurship intrigues you?

It’s the only way I know how to live. It’s just very natural to me. It’s not that I love creating, creating is what I am, what I do. I need to make things to feel happy.

You’ve probably already answered this in some way but if you had to condense how you use your difference to make a difference in one sentence, what would you say?

I use my mind and my experience to create technology that supports people in everyday life. I’m not interested in tech for tech sake. I’m all about tech for living. It’s been a pleasure talking to you.

Before you leave, how can we get involved and where can we find out more about CharmSafe?

Thank you so much for having me. It’s a pleasure to talk to you. It’s very easy to connect with us, simply go to where you’ll find the download links for our App and all our contact information. We are always excited to connect with new people. It’s all about connecting with each other. Please help us by sharing CharmSafe with your friends and family.