We recently sat down with Julian Jung of Layla to learn more about his venture’s signature product- a “smart” cigarette case that helps smokers reduce or quit smoking. Julian co-founded Layla, an IDEA venture, with Daniel Trostli.
Q. First and foremost, for those not familiar with Layla, what exactly do you provide?
A. Layla is a revolutionary system that measures the amount that you smoke to inspire and motivate you to live a healthier lifestyle. It allows the smokers to better understand their habit, and be guided with more effective methods to reduce or quit.
Q. Where did the idea for this product come from?
A. When I used to smoke, I never realized how much I was actually smoking, how much I was spending on it, and when I was smoking. After nicotine patches and gum didn’t work, I tried a new approach to quitting. I gave my cigarettes to the convenience store lady that sold me my cigarettes. Her name was Layla. I told her to only let me have 5 cigarettes a day, but not to stop me if I wanted more. She made me aware of how much I was smoking, how much I spent on it, and how close I was to reaching my goal. The following week, I reduced to 4…then 3… then 2 and finally I had quit. Gradual reduction was less scary then jumping off a cliff and quitting outright. By understanding my behavior and smoking trends, I was able to combat my smoking habit more effectively.
My good friend Daniel Trostli, is an engineer and thought that everyone should have their own personal Layla. He thought my method of quitting was so amazing that we started to brainstorm ways to make it an option for everyone. That day, Layla was born.
Q. What is the team’s educational background?
A. My major is in Business with a concentration in Entrepreneurship, I focus mainly on business development and customer validation. Daniel graduated as a Mechanical Engineer and he focuses on product design and rapid prototyping.
Q. You recently participated in AngelHack – what’s the background behind that event? Can you tell us about some of the success you had out there?
A. Angelhack is a fantastic hackathon headed up by Greg Goppman. It was started 2011 and has already spread internationally. We were fortunate enough to place in the national finals, for which we were flown out to compete in San Francisco among the likes of the Googleplex and AOL HQ.
Q. How did you become involved with IDEA?
A. We became involved with IDEA after applying for and winning the Prototype Fund, which is a joint prize put together by the NU Entrepreneur’s Club and IDEA. Needless to say we’re very proud to have won a giant oversized check!
A. IDEA has been instrumental in putting us in touch with key advisors, coaches, and counsel. They’ve also provided valuable workshops in key areas such as brand development and search engine optimization strategies.
Q. What’s next for Layla?
A. We’re constantly tinkering and iterating on our first product. We expect a few more revisions before we launch, and are hoping to have something out the door in early 2013.