Owaves, in itself, can be described as a tool for staying the course. As the world’s first wellness planner, it allows you to prioritize the five main ingredients for a long and healthy life. Founded in 2013, Owaves is now recognized as one of the best lifestyle apps on the market. Fittingly, Owaves founder and Rady alumni Royan Kamyar’s success in staying the course while establishing Owaves makes him an example for aspiring entrepreneurs.
The Evolution of Owaves
Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone
Owaves started out as a device company with the intention to build a smartwatch, a daunting task to say the least. “This was by far the toughest part [of Owaves’ journey],” Says Kamyar. “I didn’t realize how hard it would be [to build a smartwatch] without an engineering background – even something as simple as writing out the specs for building the device. It took a full team of people with amazing skillsets to gather around a table to build one. Managing a team with that caliber of talent was also a new experience.”
Adapting to Change
Kamyar and his team pushed through to develop a concept watch with the help of Rosibel Ochoa, the Executive Director of the von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center, and San Diego design firm DD STUDIO. However, by this time, Kamyar noticed many major electronics consumer manufacturers also coming out with smartwatches. Adapting to this new environment, Royan made the decision to transition Owaves away from hardware and instead focus on software and adopt a modified objective: to become one of the first true native apps for wearable devices and smartwatches. This adaptation proved integral to the publicity Owaves and Kamyar soon began to receive. “We went from no name to positive exposure mostly through earned media….As a growing trend there is a stronger appetite among the general public for wellness apps and learning new ways to live a healthier life,” explains Kamyar. Reporters from publications such as Reuters and the San Diego Business Journal came out to write about Owaves and bloggers from yoga, nutrition and crossfit industries reached out because they believed in Owaves [and its mission to promote wellness].”
Making the Most of San Diego Innovation
Kamyar credits both local San Diego programs and the Rady School of Management as contributors to Owaves’ advancement. Owaves was accepted into CONNECT’s springboard program, eventually becoming a CONNECT Portfolio Company and winning the Springboard Capital Competition against hundreds of other California-based tech companies. Owaves also collaborated with cross-border manufacturing incubator HardTech Labs, aiding to build relationships with device and hardware manufacturers. At the Rady School of Management, Kamyar singles out Rosibel Ochoa for her help building a smartwatch prototype, Lada Rasochova for acting as an advisor and friend, Dean Sullivan for always extending an open door, and the MarCom team for continuing to share Owaves’ accomplishments. Kamyar explains, “Rady showing pride helps us feel proud about what we are doing – that kind of encouragement is like food for a startup. Having your community appreciate what you do helps fill the tank.”
Kamyar’s Tips for Staying the Course
Do something you love. You will wake up two to three years out and still be working on the same project. If there are things that bother you about your project now, you will hate it a lot more after two years. Your passion will have to grow over time – that’s how you know you are on the right track.
Pace yourself. It is a marathon not a sprint.
Stay positive. Kamyar follows logic from Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, pointing out that there are always going to be compelling and logical reasons to give up but staying the course separates the winners from the losers.