Who are you, and what do you do?
Hi, my name is Medina Ilyassova, and I’m the founder of UB COOL, the 1st global adventure platform that connects adventure providers directly to their clientele.
Where were you when the idea for UB COOL came to you?
I was trying to book a whitewater rafting trip in Zambia for myself and friends, and it took 2 weeks to go through TripAdvisor, all the while reading different adventure blogs and calling local travel operators in Zambia. After that, I figured that there must be an easier way to book adventures around the world.
Tell us a bit about your team and company culture?
We have a team of 9 full time employees from different countries – India, Kazakhstan, Oman and Sri Lanka. The main philosophy of our team is to “think out of the box”. We are located in different countries and we meet on a daily basis online to work on the project. Great ideas can come from anywhere – the main goal is to let people feel comfortable sharing them. Everybody in our team contributes to our success!
How do you craft your identity?
UB COOL was launched to be a global platform from day one. We have adventure providers in every continent in 70+ destinations. Although many companies provide adventures on a local level, none of them have adventures from deep Africa to Peru.
What motivates you?
I want to change the adventure industry – in 5 years it will not exist the way you see it now. We will cut out the middle man, which add to the cost and make things complicated. I’m determined to make booking an adventure as simple and as fast as possible.
What skill / quality do you value the most?
Patience and determination are the 2 most important skills in my opinion, and they can’t exist without each other. You need to be patient not only to other people, but more importantly to yourself, because nothing happens immediately. Along with that, you must be determined — to fail, stand up and try it again until you succeed.
What is the greatest risk you’ve taken? What was your process in making your decision?
While developing the concept of UB-Cool, I took several months off to undergo brain surgery to treat my life-long epilepsy. I’m now a year epilepsy free and fully recovered. After that I understood that nothing is impossible. You just need to challenge yourself!
What do you do in your free-time to decompress?
I’m a big fan of Yoga and outdoor adventures. Yoga helps me find balance in everything and accept the things that I can’t change, while adventures help me to challenge my inner-self.
What is something you’ve had to learn on your own that you’d like to pass onto the next Creative?
We don’t grow when things are easy, we grow when we face challenges…the biggest mistake in my opinion is to be scared to face a challenge and maintain the status quo.