EP 280 – Elitza Stoilova – CEO of Umni – ChatBots Sleep Only Two Hours

by | Jun 7, 2023

Asia Tech Podcast reached out to ⁠Elitza Stoilova⁠, the CEO of ⁠Umni⁠ because her background was so fascinating, we just had to find out more. We were not disappointed.

Some of the topics that Elly covered:

  • Her career started in Tunisia and Morocco (This is NOT your standard story!)
  • Her first roles were in Journalism and PR
  • Moving to Saipan and staying for almost two decades
  • Not having enough shared memories with her family and moving back to Bulgaria
  • Participating in Founder Institute
  • Giving SMEs tools to compete with the big guys

Some other titles we considered for this episode:

  1. I Don’t Know Where Saipan Is, But Why Not Try
  2. I Fell In Love With Tourism
  3. If You Want to Discover the World, You Have to Cross the Water
  4. There Are No Ex-journalists
  5. It Is Really Important to Keep Your Mind Young
  6. Failure Is Imaginary
  7. AI Is Here to Save and Extend Our Lives

Feel free to reach out to Eliza at sales@umni.bg or on Instagram.

Read the best-effort transcript

Read the best-effort transcript below (This technology is still not as good as they say it is…):

Michael Waitze 0:04
Hi, this is Michael Waitze. And welcome back to the Asia Tech Podcast. Today we are joined by the easily pronounceable, Elitza Stoilova. Did I get that? Right? I think I’m close. Founder and the CEO of Umni, I was like more concerned about how to pronounce the name of your company than your first name. But I want to ask you this before we first of all, how are you by the way?

Elitza Stoilova 0:27
Oh, great. It’s a sunny, wonderful day here in Sofia, Bulgaria. So what else do you want from winter time? A sub?

Michael Waitze 0:35
I love it. First of all, I don’t miss winter. We can talk about that later, too. I went to your LinkedIn profile, right? Because I feel like names are important. I say this on a lot of my shows, actually. Right. And you have your name, like you speak your name out, and I looked at it. I’m like, I wonder how you pronounce it. Because if she’s speaking it out, it must be really hard. And then you just said it leads. Okay. So I’m really curious. I know we talked about this before, but I’m really curious. When you meet people too, they really have a hard name pronouncing it. I mean, a hard time pronouncing it or, or what?

Elitza Stoilova 1:09
When I when I worked in Asia Pacific indicado. I worked. There were 28 nationalities. So there were a lot of co workers with pretty hard names from Philippines or from Bangladesh. But definitely the the number one most difficult name I ever had to learn was when I was student in St. Petersburg, Russia, there was another student lady with from Mongolia. And it took me one week to remember her name, I put it on a paper and I was spelling it every single day for a week. Now I can not forget it forever. It’s like almost like 30 years later, and her name is Maritza. Rachel’s the mean.

Michael Waitze 1:53
Even, I’m not even gonna try. But here’s the thing that I’ve learned. No, I’m serious about this. So I’ve done like 1500 podcasts right in the last few years. And let’s just say a lot of the names aren’t native to me. But I think names are important, really important, right? Like when you were born, and not just you, but everybody who’s been on the show their parents, obviously my parents didn’t think about it, Michael to the most generic male name anywhere. I think they were probably drunk or high or something, or just like, I don’t know, what’s the most popular name this year. That’s his name. I don’t care, just write it down. But for a lot of people like their parents think about it. So I want to try. And what I figured out is that most people’s names was just an accumulation of syllables, right? And if you break it down into its syllabic components, it’s not that hard, I think anyway.

Elitza Stoilova 2:40
So you have to put sometimes draw pictures in your mind for the memory. For example, my name in Bulgarian means a small pine tree or a Christmas tree. So simple. You just remember a Christmas tree or a pine tree?

Michael Waitze 3:00
So does the A at the end of your name denote female? So like if you had a brother? Would his last name be stole off?

Elitza Stoilova 3:11
Precisely, yes. Okay. All Slavic family names are like that V at the end is female. Only V at the end, or F at the end is male.

Michael Waitze 3:22
I’ve always wanted to ask somebody that I always thought that and I was never sure. So now I know, I can take that off my list of things to ask the next person because actually, the next person I’m recording with is named Gary love.

Elitza Stoilova 3:34
Okay, so it’s a male.

Michael Waitze 3:37
Exactly, exactly. Anyway, let’s get off the name thing. And He’s Russian. So yeah, same thing will not same thing as Bulgaria, but same sort of derivation of the name. Can we get some of your background for some context? And then I want to go into all this time that you spent in Asia and see like how you then get back to Bulgaria? Go ahead.

Elitza Stoilova 3:57
My path didn’t start in Asia and start in North Africa. Oh, tell me. Yeah, I work in Turkey, Tunisia and Morocco for almost five years, working in hotels. And my job in hotels allowed me to work and travel and have fun. So I was kind of a normal, not digital, but the no map in 1995 to 2000, year 2001 day when I was in Morocco. That was year 2000 When the internet became the big deal like the Ducati now, and I was spending my day off in on Friday. So if people that are although they will remember it, it’s called Internet cafe. Yes, I was sitting and spending my days off in this internet cafe just being amazed how I can learn so many things about so much stuff just online without moving through my chair. And I found a job offer for Asia Pacific Mariana Islands, and I was like, gosh, I don’t know where Say panties. But why don’t? Why don’t we try. So I applied and I was like Bulgaria with English and Russian, in North Africa applying for Asia Pacific, knowing they’re gonna hire me. Because a few days later a cocaine was like, girl come here. And that’s how I got my one way ticket to Asia Pacific and I spend another cent 17 years from Mariana Islands doing developing my career in hospitality from animator, to a general manager of a hotel of touroperator of a hotel, I was also a consultant of the local visitor authority in destination marketing. So develop my career tourism and hospitality there

Michael Waitze 5:44
without, without me doing too much math and giving away too much information. The way the world is set up today, and the way it was set up, when you were a little girl are like two completely different places, right? And growing up in Bulgaria was must be completely different. It must look completely different to you than it does today. But when you were a kid, did you go into hospitality? Not specifically for this, but maybe with this in mind, this idea of you said, I can travel and have fun. And by the time it became possible for you to do that. How exciting was that for you? Do not do you know what I mean? Like you remember that feeling?

Elitza Stoilova 6:20
Yes, I remember that feeling. But actually, I was a reporter. In my official first profession is journalism and PR. Go ahead. So when the job offer to go to Turkey to work in a hotel came to me, I was reported in a newspaper, I just needed to switch the hits and do something different. And I was like, wow, I can change my profession and rights of many articles about Turkey and about how animators are and what are the challenges and blah, blah. It’s like, okay, let’s go for last summer to Turkey. And it was really exciting because I was kind of under covered journalists, in tourism industry, in Turkey. But I fell in love with tourism. And that was all I finish my degree as journalism. I start my career as a hospitality professional.

Michael Waitze 7:10
I love it. When I lived in Tokyo for 22 years, and I remember explicitly and really clearly, like the first time I heard about the Marianas Islands, and I remember going to sopin I went diving there and went fish I went, I can’t remember what’s called deep sea fishing there. I caught a Marlin like it was just an amazing place. But to me, it was super cool. Like I literally sat in the chair and did this thing and leaned into it. And it was just amazing. But before I went there, I thought it was the most exotic place in the whole world, right? Because if you go to if you look at where Saif Han is in the world, it’s like this tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. What surprised you when you got there? And then you stayed there for 17 years? Like it is a pretty neat place? Yeah.

Elitza Stoilova 7:56
It is definitely. For people that are seasonal in trapping traveling in exotic places, Jaipur maybe not the first in the list. However, what really strike there is the possibility to mix travel and tourism. Because one is related to discovering new, unusual places and having different experiences. And the other is about more leisure and relax. So the islands are connecting uniquely the boss, the thing that must strike you actually couple at first sight bandit loss in the record of Guinness with the most constant temperature around 27 degrees Celsius. Wow. So Istanbul in June, you have 27 degrees Celsius, how nice it is like a human incubator, like you have no challenges when it comes to the weather like that. When you die if you have like 30 meters visibility in the water. In there, there is 4000 kilometers around there is nothing to break your ecology. You have a clean air, clean water, tropical fruits. It’s like a little paradise to live there. And that’s what hold me there for 17 years. But what’s really fascinating is the ancient history of the islands, and in Mariana Trench nearby, these are things that kept me alert and wanting, wanting to know more and discover more for 17 years, because in Mariana Islands there some megaliths data like 3000 years before Christ sold. They were already forgotten megaliths when Magellan found them and the expeditions after the Magellan and nobody know who created this lot of stones. When the humans were just so efficient as a business, then the Second World War is really a dramatic event in the history of the island. So they have a really unique history that that is deserve to be known.

Michael Waitze 10:02
I agree with you. Look, I think one of the first things you said when you talked about going into an internet cafe was just You’re amazed at how much you could learn. It’s not always the first thing that people say, you seem like a super, what’s the word? curious person? Like, I feel like in a way you should be doing my job. And I should be doing your job in a way because I feel like you could probably ask more curious and interesting questions than I could. Because you’re right. In a way, you’re a stealth journalist. So you don’t seem like one. Do you know what I mean? I don’t know.

Elitza Stoilova 10:31
Yes, I understand what you mean. You never there are no X journalists. There noise journalist so I love learning. I don’t know if it’s my sign astrology sign. I’m Gemini. And it’s, we’re not Gemini are known to be really curious people. But if I don’t learn new things, it’s like me game being stuck. I always promised myself that this is the this is the last course I do. The last thing I’m gonna do. Now we take a break. And in a month or two, I have problem like a drug have been removed from my diet. And I start feeling really bad. And I have to sign for the next thing. So I don’t remember myself being longer than one month not learning something new. It’s, it’s something really important to me, to keep me fresh. Give me your life.

Michael Waitze 11:27
But you must have reached a point your life and I feel like I have as well where I kind of know that I’m not going to do the same thing forever if it requires me to be bored. And I’m not learning anything new. Or like a lot of people ask me why I do what I do. And I say to them, Look, in the last few years, I’ve done 1500 recorded conversations, what do you think I’ve learned? I mean, the thing that I love doing when I reach out to people like you that I don’t know, is because they just seem so interesting. And I feel like if I could just spend that hour with them chatting, I’m going to be better off for it. And hopefully they will be to also the audience should learn something. But if nothing else, I learned something. I love living this way. Yeah.

Elitza Stoilova 12:02
Yeah, definitely every person is so unique book. So you can learn a lot from every single person you talk to. Absolutely, that’s what I love. And that’s why I love being a journalist, then that’s one of the things I loved. Because of which I stay for 22 years in hospitality because I met so many different people from different cultures in if I didn’t learn something from them, they push me something to learn something for them. Like when customers come and ask me, okay, what’s the bottom of Mariana Trench? I was like, huh, let me find out. I know the answer for the next customer. And that’s really so exciting. Yeah, but

Michael Waitze 12:39
that’s kind of cool, right? Because you don’t know the answer to everything. And it’s okay. If like, I’m pretty comfortable saying I don’t know. But once I do find out, I can add it to my sort of arsenal of things that I do know. And then when the next guest comes and says, How deep is the Marianas Trench, you can say it’s like six and a half miles, like, I don’t know what it is, but you know, and then they walk away, and they think that gal from Bulgaria is pretty smart. She knows everything.

Elitza Stoilova 13:03
Yes. I don’t pretend to be smart. But I just love the challenge to learn new things. And it really opened your mind really broadly. And I think this is extremely important to stay to keep your mind young.

Michael Waitze 13:20
The other thing that I think about, particularly in the hospitality industry, when you’re not in your home country, right. So if you stay in your hometown, if you grew up in New York, and you work in the hospitality industry, in New York, you spend the rest of your life still doing the same things and talking to the same people that you did on a day to day basis when we were growing up. But if you leave your home country and live outside for 20 or so years, and then meet people from all over the world, at some level, it has to change your preconceived notions about who is what. And all the generalizations you hear about people from country A and Country B and country. See, I think it makes you more well rounded and just a better person in a way no,

Elitza Stoilova 14:00
absolutely agree. When people live in their country and do not live other places or in their city because there are people that never leave their city. Yeah, I know. So it’s like living on small island, the Pacific Ocean. Yeah. surrounded by water. That’s it. I mean, if you want to discover the world, you have to cross the water, you have to get out there and get on the airplane, get them the ball and just cross the water. And the same is with going to other to other places of the world meeting other cultures. Really, that breaks a lot of concepts that are wrong about people about hearing what’s right what’s wrong, because these are very subjective matters. They change with fashion with yours with Century and from country to country also. And that’s make you more give you a little more peace in your soul and mind and also make you more flexible in communication with people and more in Do you understand people better? I think that’s really important. I

Michael Waitze 15:04
agree. And you reminded me of something I was at a tech conference in January, and one of the guys and gals that gave a presentation on sort of ethics and values in technology, and it was super interesting. I’ll get back to your story in a second. But I just want to share this with you. One of the things that he said one of the points that he made was if you show a moving map, a historically moving map of how the values and ethics of regions have changed over time, it’s constantly changing. And if you don’t travel, you don’t get that feeling. Anyway, I just thought it was super interesting.

Elitza Stoilova 15:41
Coming back to internet, you don’t need to travel physically to be there. Internet now. Allow us to throw virtually, if you wish, you can get deeper in other place and country just by sinking in their information or Ecosystm.

Michael Waitze 15:55
If you’re curious, right? If you’re curious. Yes. And you definitely are. And I think you’ve actually come up with a title for this episode already, which is you have to cross the water. I love it. I really love it. What made you cross the water again, and go back to your home country.

Elitza Stoilova 16:13
I was 45 years old. So on the top of my career gentleman job a hotel successful career in hospitality people knows me being in rock rain, so kind of I settle my life pretty well. And okay, you see the Pacific Ocean from your window, you have mango in your garden, and Cabana, what else you want from your life?

Michael Waitze 16:34
I don’t know, I’m leaving right now to go do that, like can I leave.

Elitza Stoilova 16:39
But there was a moment when I realized that I am not part of the life of my family, my brother and my mother. And we don’t have shared experiences and memories, the fact that I have been home for a month every year for vacation. It doesn’t create history with your loved people. These are just a few pictures in your harddrive and a bunch of messages in Viber or WhatsApp but not not emotions. You didn’t hook one of them. You didn’t drink your coffee and just chat about nothing without the grasses growing in the garden. That’s so valuable moments that I missed. And it was a tough decision for me took me two years to deciding because I knew I will be out. I’ll have to start from scratch going back home. But then I decided really, it’s extremely important. I have traveled the world I have seen different things. I have experienced different things, it was time to give time back to family. And that’s why I came back home. Whatever I do, I want to be part of their life and be close to them to jump in the car and go and cook my mom.

Michael Waitze 17:48
I woke up this morning. And unrelated to anything I thought when was the last time I saw my daughter. She came and visited me in August. And it feels like it was yet she was here for three weeks or wasn’t it wasn’t that short. And I feel like too long. Right? And she’s in college now. So I definitely don’t see her every day. I don’t talk to her every day, I thought the same thing you did, right? You want to have this experience in life where you look back and say, remember that time when you were 21 and we did that thing, we fell down and then that thing broke. And then that cake fell on my head and Oh, my God was hilarious. Don’t have that. And I just was thinking like, what do I have to do to facilitate that, and the fact that you actually gave up your career because the other thing too is, as a 45 year old, you’ve had this incredible life. And no one can take that away from you. This is the thing that I’ve taught myself is that like, absolutely no matter is what happened to me up until now. I’ve done all this really interesting stuff. And I can do whatever I want. Because I can’t take that away. And I want to create those things with my daughter. So I completely understand this feeling of I want to be in the garden with my mother and my brother. Just talk about dumb stuff. Yeah.

Elitza Stoilova 18:59
Actually, that’s the question my brother asked me and it was the most important question when I came back home. Because then the next step was to be to found a startup and at 45. Six years old was like, I mean, startup in technology. Come on. And my brother asked me the most important question of my life. So what’s the worst thing that can happen? I was like to fail. Exactly. She said, No, after you fail what you can do or become again, GM avocado, right? He said, exactly how work how bad is that? Nobody will take the experience. You have the knowledge, everything you are today. So really, failure is imaginary. And it’s not something that really matter. So that that was something that made me in in the split second make the decision. Yes, I’m doing it.

Michael Waitze 19:47
I love this two failures, imaginary. I think I’m gonna have to stop you from talking because there are too many good titles. But here’s the other thing as a 46 year old or a 47 year old, you are at the optimal statistical age to actually start something from scratch. There’s an image I think in the world of, and I’m gonna say what the image is I’m not agreeing with it, of like a 25 year old guy in the basement eating ramen, right? coding something on his own. And the reality is that those guys rarely succeed. What’s more likely to happen? Is someone like you or someone like I am. I’m 57. But I mean, I started this when I was 50. Let’s say you’re 52? Because there is no downside.

Elitza Stoilova 20:27
Absolutely, absolutely. I didn’t know that 47 is the perfect time to start a startup. I didn’t know it. I loved it after that. But I also learned that the most successful startups are from people that are already retired, there are 6567 95% that succeed only five fail. This is the opposite from those guys in the basement. So the older you are the the succeed, success rate increase? Yeah, I think it’s a good time to challenge yourself and keep yourself young and fresh.

Michael Waitze 21:00
I agree. Tell me about lemonade. What is it? Why did you name it only? What does it do? What was the idea? Just go.

Elitza Stoilova 21:08
Okay, only means smart in Bulgarian. And it ebooks, it’s so simple. It’s available as domain. So that’s another benefit. But also it sounds so much like only in English only have the meaning kind of go this direction. What makes me found only and what was the idea behind was that I ended up participating in founder Institute accelerator for fun. Because I was gay, I was looking where is my place and what I would like to do with my life, and it was like, Okay, let’s go to accelerator and see what will happen. But in FYI, they gave me the right questions. And that makes me think on the third week of my participation in the accelerator about the challenges I was solving as hotelier and what which was the core challenge. That’s how I came to the deal up communication is the the really big challenge because there is so much human time wasted in hospitality and other businesses. Everyone calls, questions, deep questions is so much so much human time, capital lost and trash because it was like, that’s what I want to solve. Because I struggle with I was eight hours at the front desk, not remembering the people, but just keep answering the same questions. I have been working 18 hours a day, not remembering my day. And feeling totally lost. Diem totally exhausted, I was like, What was the purpose of my life today? Yeah. So it was like, gosh, does it need to work to find a solution, and to bring to people solution that will save their time and give them time back to be to develop serve as human beings as professionals. And so the wife will be interested more interesting, and the business will be more successful at the same time. And then the Chatbot pop ups, and we started with my co founder, first working for chatbots in hospitality, then we created a chatbot for a city as a pilot project. And it was like, gosh, that needs a platform. I mean, it’s too big project to be just handled somewhere else. And during the month, and then the pandemic hit us and that was one of the best thing happening to us because we lost our customers. Why it’s the best thing because it really opens to HR or manuals like why chatbot from hotels, why not platform for everybody to have aI chat bots as easily as playing with Lego. And we ordered our life during the pandemic creating that platform that every business even the smallest one can have a chatbot with AI or with AI to be able to solve these communication problems and then also marketing problems and also sales problems, and then extending their work 24/7 Because what we find now is the up to 45% of the people search for help and information and service around midnight. The next row shower after it 10 o’clock in the morning is 10 o’clock in the evening with the business of course at that time, and they lose business and they lose customers and they cannot serve their customers if they don’t have a technology there because this is expensive human time, the the night sheets, the weekends, the holidays, but the customers want it at any time. They are not often nighttime weekends and holidays. And that’s how only only was born in our platform was born.

Michael Waitze 24:31
I want to show you this piece of paper because these are some of the notes that I take like during the day. So you can tell it’s not fake, double sided. And during the day seriously, I don’t have time to look at it. I write it all down. I’m like okay, I’ll get to that. And then I’m like, Okay, I have to go to bed and it’s 11 o’clock at night or 1130 and I need to come like I need to calm my brain down I don’t know if you go through this You’re like my day is over. Like you said 18 hours what did I do? Why did I do and why does anybody care? And then I’m like all I forgot to do that thing. I need to find out about X, but they’re asleep. But it’s on my list. Let me see if I can find out now. And you’re right. I was up until 130. Last night, this is not an exaggeration, I can show you on my watch. I went to bed at like 135. And most of what I did between 12 and one was like, look for stuff.

Elitza Stoilova 25:16
Exactly. Yeah, exactly. Actually, what we discover and in on our platform, we have really huge variety of industries. From hospitality, of course, because as x hotelier ideally will often cause hospitality to change to we have a funeral agency and Art Gallery and beauty salons and nonprofit organization. So it’s online stores, offline stores, like we have very different industries on our platform. But their chat bots go fall to sleep three o’clock in the morning and wake up at five o’clock in the morning. Until, yeah, until during the morning, there are people chatting with chat bots. And in five o’clock in the morning are the first people that are asking questions in the chat bots. So chat bots, the only two hours if only two hours from three to five. Yeah, that’s another huge value that comes additional value that comes from the from automating the this communication flows that will go through the business. You want to be there when they are the customers and you cannot do it with human with manpower, you have to save your manpower for more valuable tasks, give it to robots, give it to chatbots. Give it to machines, give it to software, hardware, anything that can do the job.

Michael Waitze 26:35
What is the implication? So here’s the thing, nothing changes overnight. People like to talk about this thing of like, oh, this thing’s an overnight thing. It just came out of nowhere. Artificial intelligence has been developed for 70 years, who knows I’m just picking a random number, right? And every decade someone says, Okay, now it’s going to change. And then one day you wake up and there’s you know, Sam Altman starts open API, Microsoft invest billions of dollars in it. And then there’s chat GPT. And you’ve been sort of working away at this thing. What changes when the global consciousness now is aware that artificial intelligence is the thing that can be used, right? Where a chatbot is not just the thing that has like a set menu of answers that someone’s already programmed in? But then they can now go out? And access information? for better for worse? Yeah, but what’s the implication of this getting out into the world? Whether it’s Chechi, BT or Microsoft, I mean, or Google bars or any of these other things? How does it change what you do or the way people think about what you do? When this thing blows up in the news?

Elitza Stoilova 27:41
From a practical point of view, what’s changed now is that people finally are paying attention to the solutions to the technology, and that it can be used for good, I’m a positive person, I, when I see a knife, I think about salad, not about wonder. Yeah, so I’m a positive person and work on AI the same way I love it. I think still, I come back to the same thing, which is the extremely the most important thing in our life we have, and this is a resource that is not replenishable, we lose it every single second, and it’s our time. AI is here. And the bottom line. For me, that’s the most important aspect of AI. AI is here to save and extend our life because it’s saving us time. And he’s getting so many other benefits when it’s using medicine and other industries, and directions that actually extend our capabilities as human beings. We can be larger human beings using AI in our life in any direction. So

Michael Waitze 28:53
I think about this a lot, right? And I’ll tell you why. At my age of 57, I’ve seen so many of these cycles, and every time a new technology gets introduced, there’s all this hullabaloo or all this noise around, okay, well, that’s gonna put an entire sector of society out of work. And the first time you hear it, you get super nervous because a lot of people that don’t have enough experience freak out right to get super nervous, like, okay, that’s gonna put 35 million people just in my country out of work. And historically, what it’s done, whether it’s moving from agrarian society to industrial society, or from industrial to thought work, from thought work to artificial intelligence. I think historically, we’ve learned that what it really does is it frees humans up to do other things. It actually live better lives know.

Elitza Stoilova 29:36
Exactly. We live much better than any other century before us. We are capable of doing so many things that other people never would even know they can do and we are doing it. And that’s what can we do artificial intelligence for me. I mean, it’s also like extend our length of life so we can do more things to as another very physical benefit. Eat or fast being making us healthier, stronger, much, much more clever. So that’s really a new way of thinking about how we want to live and what we want to do. And when we talk about people losing the job, because everybody asked me like, Now what you’re gonna push people out on the street without job? The answer is, and it’s a fact, every technology, every technological advancement that’s been open five new professions jobs on the market. So actually, the more technology come, the more people the more people who are needed to work. The problem is not lack of employment of a place for work. The problem is that people have to learn to adapt to the new suit to the new reality. But it’s not so large, big problem to learn that story of a lady young Russian lady in Bulgaria, for which I was buying underwear every year coming here on vacation to Bulgaria, I met her year after year in the smell in the small garage, where she was selling Pledis stuff. When they asked us like you’re young, why don’t you do something else with your life? And she was like, Well, what can I do? Like learn? I mean, now it’s all good to learn. Programming, coding, you can do it. I mean, come on. And the next year, like the year before I came back to Bulgaria, she was not there. Somebody else was having these graphs with the ladies lady stuff. I asked them, Where is the lady and they didn’t know she that she just left. Then two years ago, I was speaking at a conference about AI and stuff like that. And she came to me very well dressed nicely was like, wow, I couldn’t recognize it was like, wow, look at you, you’re so different. Now what’s happened with you. She said, I listened to you, I sign up for, for programming for coding courses, I finish, I found my job. Now I have a very good salary. It was hard for me because I didn’t know English. And I didn’t speak Bulgarian. But here we go. I have wonderful life. And I can please conference just to tell it thank you for telling me that I had to learn. So here we go. This is a sample of everybody can do it. There’s so many, many opportunities today to learn in a very short time. And it’s only a matter of us saying like, I can do it, I’m going to do it. So let’s,

Michael Waitze 32:21
I was thinking about this a couple of days ago with somebody, right, because my whole business is around audio and video. And I had to teach myself in my 50s, how to edit audio and how to edit video, which seemed daunting to me. And then I thought about it more. And in the 1920s 1930s 1940s right when they were making the first movies, it was a very specialized thing to film on film, right to record on film. And then to cut that film, you can see me moving both of my hands with knobs onto an editing table, we literally had to look frame by frame by frame. I mean, Disney used to sell cells of drawn movies that was highly specific and highly skilled. But today I was in a coffee shop, this is not a joke, and not a made up story. I was in a coffee shop near some dude drinking a cup of coffee, working with his mouse on Adobe Premiere editing video. And that would have been impossible, like 10 years ago. And that dude may have had some other job where he was, unfortunately, probably working in a bank or doing something silly in finance, useless because I did it. I can say whatever I want. But today he’s doing that in a coffee shop. So it didn’t put him out of work. It actually changed his life to where he can sit in a coffee shop, relax and do his thing. And that’s amazing, I think Yeah.

Elitza Stoilova 33:39
Yeah. What’s really wonderful about the technology is that it allows us to focus on the more creative part of US v. Yeah. Because everything else is made simple by technology.

Michael Waitze 33:53
I agree. Can I ask you this? What is What does growth look like to you now for loony? Now? You’ve been at this for a few years and now coming out of the pandemic, it because we’re out of it? I would say yeah, for sure. But, again, it was almost good for you, right? Because you lost the hospitality clients. And you have to think a little bit outside the box about who am I going to serve? Now I can serve a bigger audience. But after you’ve done that, what does growth look like to you?

Elitza Stoilova 34:17
After we created the platform? And we started using it with our customers, we spent? It’s not like the growth that everybody imagined like yeah, how these years we are here and the next year we’re unicorn. We’re taking our steps to find out what the businesses really need and how they use chatbots. What are the bottlenecks for them? What are the bottlenecks for us? And so we’re about in two months from now to release a new version of our platform. Okay, this is now the big the real deal for us because it is total enhancement on everything we have currently as functionalities and as opportunities for business increases. Have chatbot and we are looking towards turning the AI chat bot in a supercar for the business. It’s not just frequently asked questions, a bit promotion and things like that. We’re looking into giving to the business, to the small and midsize businesses and instrument that will make them competitive to the big guys that’s in when we succeed to to give that in the hands of small businesses. That’s what successful look for last

Michael Waitze 35:27
got it. So what that means is we’re gonna have to come back to you in six months and try to figure out exactly what the release because I feel like we’ve caught you at a good time. I didn’t know this when I reached out, right. But now it means that we have to reach out to you again in like four or five months to catch up and try to figure out what was the implication of the release of this new product? How did things change? Because this idea of building a super app that allows small and medium sized businesses to compete with big businesses? Again, this is one of the changes that technology allows us Yeah, is that in the same way I can sit in a studio with a few lights and cameras and replicate being on TV or making a movie, you can do the same thing for small and medium sized businesses. And I want to find out after that gets released, how that’s going. Is that cool?

Elitza Stoilova 36:09
We are actually now also looking for funding to speed up this process. So in six months really, really can give good results.

Michael Waitze 36:16
I didn’t know that either. I didn’t know. So I’ll let you go. But tell me before I let you go what’s the best way for people to reach you and talk to you about this.

Elitza Stoilova 36:28
They can find me on LinkedIn. When they type Elitza Stoilova. They also can use very simple very easy mail.com also to me, which is sales@umni.bg It is quite an easy to remember. And also they can find me I’m on Viber and WhatsApp on Telegram, Instagram so they can look for me you know this whatever is the easiest way for them to communicate.

Michael Waitze 36:56
Awesome I will put some of that in the show notes

Elitza Stoilova 36:59
is totally in communication.

Michael Waitze 37:02
Perfectly. I said I’ll put that in the show notes. Elitza Stoilova I hope I got it right again, a co founder and CEO of Umni, thank you so much for doing this today. That was super.

Elitza Stoilova 37:11
thank you for the wonderful conversation


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