Mechanical engineers can’t help but problem-solve, whether they’re working on aerospace technologies or finding new ways to compost.
In Victor Nicolov’s case, it was the latter that led to the creation of Sepura Home — a smart composting system that attaches to a kitchen sink, much like a garburator. Sepura Home then separates all organic waste into a sealed, odor-free unit that can be emptied as little as once a month for a family of four.
“It started from an argument my wife and I were having about who had to take out the compost at our condo, and I was thinking it would be great if there was a device that would do that for us,” says Nicolov, who was an engineering student at the University of Victoria [UVic] at the time.
After running the idea past several professors and receiving support from UVic’s Innovation Centre — an on-campus idea accelerator — Nicolov launched Anvy Technologies and began troubleshooting his product design.
One year later — after two UVic entrepreneurship awards, countless messy trials and four prototypes — Sepura Home successfully captures 95 percent of solid organics that wash down a kitchen drain.
Nicolov hopes his company’s green device, now in beta testing, will be the new norm in all future kitchen design. And with its recent addition to the BuiltGreen Catalogue, which lists products that meet industry certification in key areas of sustainability, Sepura Home is on its way.
A Q & A with Victor Nicolov of Anvy Technologies
What’s the best business advice you ever received?
The best advice I received is that even though it can be exciting to keep adding cool features to your product, it’s more important to keep the business aspect of things in mind and not forget the goal. It doesn’t matter how cool your product is if no one wants it or even knows it exists.
What book or podcast have you found most inspirational?
Not really a book or podcast, but: Steve Jobs’ grad speech at Stanford in 2005. A book that helped me a lot is The Lean Startup by Eric Ries.
What would you do differently if you could do it all again?
I would have started building my product earlier instead of obsessing over having a perfect design beforehand. By the time I was given this advice, I was already noticing that the most common thing slowing down my progress were problems I could have discovered earlier on by just building and trying the product.
This article is from the April/May 2019 issue of Douglas.