The Irvine Company’s The Vine interviews Vojin Zivojnovic, CEO and Co-Founder of AGGIOS to learn how Irvine Company and Orange County’s vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem is fueling innovation.
Elevate: How would you summarize the AGGIOS business?
Vojin Zivojnovic: We are all highly dependent on our electronic gadgets, like mobile phones or TVs. AGGIOS developed and patented new technology that improves battery life for devices we carry and reduces the electricity bill and environmental impact for devices we plug into wall outlets.
Elevate: How did AGGIOS become aware of the EvoNexus incubator program? What was the application process like?
Vojin Zivojnovic: We initially heard about EvoNexus by word of mouth from colleagues in the technology community. The application process was straightforward, but the selection process was very competitive. Our business plan was vetted at multiple meetings by various expert communities. We were thrilled to be selected, but the process is a valuable experience for startups open to guidance and feedback.
Elevate: Can you describe the relationship between Irvine Company, EvoNexus and UC Irvine? How has the community impacted AGGIOS’ success?
Vojin Zivojnovic: The stars perfectly aligned for us. The research activities at the UCI’s CalPlug institute gave us the business idea, The EvoNexus incubator provided the crucial business guidance, and Irvine Company offered the optimal working environment at The Vine. Finally, the California Energy Commission saw a good fit with the state’s energy efficiency research program and awarded us with a lucrative two year grant. Obviously, what looked initially like luck to us is a well aligned relationship to foster innovation in Southern California.
Elevate: How did EvoNexus’ location at The Vine Orange County positively impact your experience?
Vojin Zivojnovic: The Vine is conveniently located close to UCI, large corporations important for our business, as well as the freeway and airport, pretty much everything that our business needed during the incubation stage. The Vine’s outdoor workspace is definitely unique and we were proud to enjoy it together with our visitors and partners.
Elevate: What made you choose 5251 California as your new workspace?
Vojin Zivojnovic: First, we wanted to stay in the same neighborhood. The new location at 5251 California is just two blocks away from the Vine. Second, it is the ideal space to expand our team, with a large common office for software designers, private offices for marketing and sales, conference room, kitchen and server room. The fully wired server room was a nice add-on. Typically, we would need to build the server room and the wiring ourselves.
Elevate: How has your experience been at 5251 California thusfar?
Vojin Zivojnovic: Really very good. As the space was already furnished, we moved in with minimal initial costs. We now expanded our team and our new employees like it very much as well. Again, we are feeling very lucky that such a great space became available.
Elevate: What advice would you give to new entrepreneurs in Orange County?
Vojin Zivojnovic: Apply for the EvoNexus incubation program. You’ll receive invaluable feedback about your business idea and if selected, you will be introduced to the right investors and partners. Additionally, companies accepted to EvoNexus maintain ownership and are not required to give away any equity.
Elevate: Thanks for spending time with us Vojin! Anything else you’d like to add?
Vojin Zivojnovic: Orange County is definitely a great place to live. Startups are essential for Orange County to deal with local and global competitive challenges to stay a great place for work. After crossing the initial hurdles and securing the seed funding, companies like ours would benefit from a more vibrant venture capital environment in Orange County and we look forward to seeing OC’s entrepreneurial ecosystem continue to grow!