Meet the Talent: Avril Power, co-founder & COO Giyst

Place of residence: Cork, Ireland.

Position: Co-founder and COO, Giyst

Please describe a day in your life

My typical day begins early by getting my family off to school before switching gears to work mode. This is a quick catch-up on emails and messages to stay updated on overnight developments, given our global team’s different time zones. I work closely with our super-star tech team on product development, kicking the day off with a short meeting to discuss daily goals and progress.

Gathering and analysing customer feedback is crucial, as it helps us tweak our offerings to serve our users better. Afternoons are key for planning and activating marketing activities and working closely with my co-founder on sales and investor activities. Truly, every day is different, based on client needs, networking opportunities and events that we may be attending or exhibiting at, or any other founder priorities that arrive on my desk!

How many projects are you currently working on? Please describe them

My primary focus is the continuous innovation and evolution of our AI product. Ensuring Giyst stays ahead of the curve is paramount, as is strategically marketing our solution on a global scale. Collaborating closely with my co-founder, we are also dedicated to securing investment to fuel our growth.

Our status as a University College Dublin (UCD) spin-out supported by NovaUCD and as an Enterprise Ireland High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) provides us with exceptional support and opportunities, propelling us forward on our start-up journey.

In your opinion, who is the most influential person/company in the world of technology these days?

In my opinion, Melanie Perkins, the co-founder and CEO of Canva, stands out as one of the most influential figures in the world of technology today. As a female AI video summarisation platform co-founder, I find her journey incredibly inspiring. Melanie’s vision and leadership have transformed Canva into a global design powerhouse, democratising access and affordability to design tools and fostering creativity across diverse user groups. Her success exemplifies the impact of innovative thinking and resilience, making her a significant role model for women in tech and entrepreneurship worldwide.

If you could pick one app/product/project existing now that you wish you were involved in, what would it be?

Not surprisingly, based on my previous answer, it would be Canva. Canva has revolutionised the design space by making it accessible and user-friendly for people with varying levels of design expertise. Canva aligns perfectly with my values and aspirations as a tech entrepreneur and how we are revolutionising the world of video repurposing. Being part of a global project that empowers creativity globally and supports millions of users in bringing their ideas to life would be incredibly fulfilling and a valuable learning experience for driving similar success in my start-up journey with Giyst.

How do you see technology evolving in the next ten years?

AI will continue evolving and becoming more sophisticated with improved capabilities and decision-making. It will integrate seamlessly into our everyday lives with the continued adoption of services like personal assistants, smart home devices, autonomous vehicles, etc.  Beyond this, I believe we will see huge advances in the use of technology to tackle climate change and improve healthcare.  In relation to Giyst specifically, this means developing more advanced algorithms that can further understand and interpret content with human-like precision, providing users with concise, contextually relevant summaries and content and the evolution of extractive summarisation.

What would you like the industry to look like in ten years?

There is huge innovation happening, and there is a lot more to come, but as a woman tech co-founder in Ireland, these would be my top three.

I envision an industry that is not only at the forefront of innovation but also exemplifies diversity and inclusion in every aspect. I would like to see richly diverse tech teams bringing together talents from various backgrounds, genders, and cultures. 

Strong frameworks for the ethical use of technology, preventing misuse and protecting user rights. 

Continued innovation in green technologies to tackle climate change

What are the three characteristics you have that make you successful in tech?

Three key characteristics that contribute to my success are creativity, being a people person, and strong commercial acumen. My creativity drives innovation, allowing me to envision and develop solutions that address real-world problems. Being a people person enables me to build and lead diverse, collaborative teams, foster a culture of open communication and shared goals, and explain my vision to customers, partners, and investors. Lastly, my commercial acumen ensures that our technological advancements are strategically aligned with market needs, driving growth and sustainability for our startup.

What is the most challenging thing you had to deal with during your career?

I think the biggest change (and with change frequently comes the challenge!) was transitioning from working within large corporations to navigating the nuances of the startup landscape. In the corporate world, established processes, resources, and support structures are readily available, providing a stable environment for innovation. However, building a startup required me to adapt quickly to a dynamic and often uncertain environment where resources are limited and roles are multi-purpose. This shift demanded a new level of resilience, flexibility and the ability to react in real time.  Despite the challenges, this experience has been incredibly rewarding, pushing me to grow both professionally and personally.

What is your greatest achievement up until today?

Part of being a founder is always looking to the next challenge and achievement and what the future holds. There have been so many great highs along our journey so far, from developing our MVP to getting our first paying customer and securing investment. But our greatest achievement is yet to come…watch this space!

What is your next goal?

We are looking to close out our current investment round, enabling us to grow and scale in the US market.

What tips do you have for people wanting to start in the tech world?

In no particular order, I feel these three tips are key:

Network Actively: Connect with professionals in the industry through networking events, online forums, and social media. Building relationships with peers and mentors can provide guidance, support, and opportunities.

Embrace Problem-Solving: Tech careers often involve tackling complex problems. Develop a solid problem-solving mindset, and don’t be afraid to take on challenges. Persistence and creativity are key.

Stay Resilient: The tech industry can be demanding and competitive. Stay resilient in the face of setbacks, and view failures as learning opportunities. Persistence and a positive attitude will help you navigate the ups and downs.

If you could say something to your younger self, what would it be?

Embrace every challenge, and never be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. The path to success is rarely a straight line, so embrace the learning, trust in your abilities and always stay curious. Remember that setbacks are just stepping stones on the journey to achieving your goals. Stay resilient, keep your passion alive, and believe in the impact you can make.

Which famous person would you like to have dinner with and why?

I would love to have dinner with Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx. As a self-made billionaire who started her company with just $5,000, Sara’s entrepreneurial journey is incredibly inspiring. Her tenacity, innovative thinking, and ability to disrupt the fashion industry with a revolutionary product demonstrate remarkable business acumen and creativity. Having the opportunity to learn from her experiences, particularly how she overcame challenges and scaled her business globally, would provide invaluable insights for my own Giyst journey. Her commitment to empowering women aligns closely with my values and aspirations as a female tech founder. Plus, she seems really engaging and fun, so I’m sure it would be anything but boring!

Where would you like to travel next?

Our core market is the US, with some key customers based in New York, one of my favourite destinations. However, home is also a pretty awesome destination.

Do you have a person who influences or motivates you?

Plenty of people influence and motivate me, but my 12-year-old daughter stands out. Her enthusiasm and her way of approaching her days mesmerise me. She is fully bought into our Giyst journey and loves giving her 2 cents and support along the way.

What did you dream of creating/inventing/doing as a child?

I was obsessed with the story of Daedalus and Icarus – what kid didn’t want to invent a way to fly? Also, I remember being so frustrated at the outcome for them both with their magnificent dreams.  I guess thinking about it now, that story taught me the importance of innovation and using data and experience to make good decisions.  I’m still trying to reach for the stars!

Andriani has been working in Publishing Industry since 2010. She has worked in major Publishing Houses in UK and Greece, such as Cambridge University Press and ProQuest. She gained experience in different departments in Publishing, including editing, sales, marketing, research and book launch (event planning). She started as Social Media Manager in 4i magazine, but very quickly became the Editor in Chief. At the moment, she lives in Greece, where she is mentoring women with job and education matters; and she is the mother of 3 boys.