How modeling prompted the idea of creating a reproductive technology startup: the experience of Ellen Alexander

A model, co-founder of Create U future (biotech startup), Ellen Alexander, shared with us the information on how to create a project in reproductive technologies and why it is even important to develop this direction.

Ellen, until recently, your core field of activity was model business and film industry: you are actively shooting for the covers of glossy magazines such as L’Officiel, Shape, and Vogue, known as song and music writer. When and why did you come up with the idea of a project related to reproductive technologies?

Although the fashion industry and show business are far from scientific developments, in fact, everything is interconnected in our world.  I was born in a family of scientists: my grandfather, Nikolai Ivanovich Bugaev, is the creator and head of ground command and measurement points, including Simferopol, which controlled the flights of all Soviet spacecrafts launched for military purposes. And my parents are physicists: back in Soviet times they were engaged in serious scientific developments in this field. Sure thing, they wanted me to continue the dynasty of scientists. At their insistence, I even graduated from the Russian Economic University named after G.V. Plekhanov. However, my “scientific career” ended there, and I plunged into the model business. Probably, because I always wanted to be engaged in creativity, I found such an opportunity in this profession. But now I’m grateful to my parents that they taught me how to work hard and brought me to an important conclusion: in life, it is not always possible to do what you want, sometimes you have to follow the right thing.

It is no secret: any project requires considerable investments, often attracted from outside. But to be believed and invested in you, you have to be something – to prove what you are capable of. This understanding comes only with the years. But since childhood, I have tried to express myself. I tried myself in different directions: I was engaged in many activities, including dance studios and choir. It was there where I was first noticed by the commercial director of one of the state TV channels and invited to a photoshoot. I was 5 years old back then. And after my debut in commercials, I got my first fee. At that time I was so young that I didn’t ask my parents about the amount, but I was very proud of the very fact of the shooting.

While studying at the university I also worked as a model, and after graduation I decided to continue my career abroad and went to the UK, and then moved to the U.S. – first to New York, then to Los Angeles to get a chance to shoot in Hollywood. And I did it.

Today I visit different countries where I am invited to participate in projects and meet a lot of people. Often shootings are for women’s glossy magazins, whose main audience and employees are usually women of reproductive age. While communicating with them, I understood how urgent infertility is for many couples, no matter what country they live in.

One day I told about it to my friends who are engaged in biotechnology development. This is how the idea of a startup was born. Step by step, it was shaped into specific plans to launch such a project.

At the same time, I understood how often important and necessary developments for people remain at the level of ideas and theories. That’s when I remembered the words of my grandfather, Nikolai Ivanovich, who was not only a talented practitioner, project manager, but also an outstanding scientist. He said: “I can’t live halfway!” This position is very close to me. And to understand the peculiarities of such a complex area as biotechnology, I went through a lot of educational programs and business training to create and organize the work of the startup.

What is the brand concept?

The Create u future project is based on the desire to help women know the joy of motherhood because, according to WHO, about 5% of people from different countries have infertility. I want our company to take part in solving this problem. In short, our main goal is to treat infertility using artificial intelligence.

It is known that people are the main capital of business: tell us how you built up the team.

So far, we have a relatively small team, but the staff will also grow as the project develops. But it’s not the number of people that matters to us, but their professional qualities, passion for an idea, and absolute belief that it should be implemented as soon as possible. Now, it’s a team of like-minded people, for whom Create u future is not just a business but an opportunity to help other people to create their own future.

What is your project now, and at what stage of development is it?

While studying the issues related to the launch of startups, I realized that biotech projects are a promising investment area, especially in the West and the United States, where products based on these technologies are being actively introduced, as the private medicine market is well developed there. But both in Russia and abroad, most private foundations and investors pay attention to biotech start-ups only when they have something to show. That is why such projects are most often created at research institutes: it’s a good bonus for startups while searching for financial support, which can be obtained, among other things, from the state. At first, we considered this option. But as it turned out, our project aroused such interest that we managed to attract several investors who believed in us and invested their money already at the idea stage. In total, it took us about a year and a half since the project’s inception and registration. All technologies are now under active development. 

How to make the first clients know about you?

It is no secret that a personal brand is a powerful tool to promote ideas and companies. Therefore, I hope that my profession, thanks to which I’m recognized and communicate with many people from different countries, will help me in this. In interviews, I can tell about what concerns millions of people worldwide and draw attention to this problem and our company.

Model, co-founder of biotech startup Create U future Ellen Alexander

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