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We Lost Two Shoe Sizes

A Slice on Yani Deros, Co-Founder and CEO of CIRQ+

Yani Deros holds a lot of titles… entrepreneur, CEO, president, product developer. Coast to coast, Deros has developed over 300 product and technology solutions for customers all over the world and has mentored 40-50 startups in Arizona. CIRQ+ is a smart and cleantech automation company, building solutions to protect the future. Originally focused on hospitality, CIRQ+ has expanded to other commercial verticals such as hospitals, offices and public schools. 

Deros brings over 30 years of product development to the table. Having a successful career, he’s gleaned experience working in consultancies and hundreds of startups. Deros moved from Boston to Arizona to offer his knowledge and experience on the executive team for a medical startup. He took that as far as he could, then moved onto his next big thing. Deros and his wife, Jody, founded ATOM Innovations in 2003, a leading international research and development firm. Then in 2016, spinning out of ATOM Innovations, CIRQ+ was born. 

AI had already been integrated into the CIRQ+ platform, and when 2020 hit, Deros was “really hoping to soar”. He and his team had to pivot to take on a whole new challenge- COVID-19. Deros, determined to make a difference, was not about to let that stand in the way. “Our theme for the year was ‘out of crisis rises innovation.’ So we took our platform, expanded its capabilities to create hope with CIRQ+ CLEAN.” After researching and looking at the pathogens associated with H1N1, SARS and COVID-19, Deros knew that time was of the essence and expedited efforts to get something on the market faster than anyone else. Due to manual cleaning missing 50% of the space, Deros saw that the operations set in place to fight COVID-19 ultimately didn’t work. 

Working with the largest resort in Arizona and planning to install CIRQ+ Smart Hub, Deros was able to access rooms that were empty for over eight months. “We were there, day and night, for eight weeks. They didn’t even know what we were building… They just said, ‘here, take these two suites, do whatever you need and just get it done.’” With this newfound trust, they were able to create the world’s first IoT Autonomous Disinfection robot that could actually be sent out to eliminate pathogens by treating surfaces and spaces without manual labor. Deros describes this as a breakthrough, allowing people to look into the future with some hope. “Now we have a frontline solution to protect people coming back with a game-changing technology, and that’s what we did. We allow people to work, stay and live safe.” 

Having prior experience with fundraising (raising $32 million for one of his first companies), Deros has the opportunity to provide valuable insights. He describes it as a very challenging part of the process because entrepreneurs have to be able to communicate “very quickly and effectively about what your company is offering” while being confident with investors at the same time. Although there are lots of learning opportunities with fundraising, Deros notes it’s possible to cut down on the time it takes by talking to the right investors. “There are a lot of different levels of investors out there, and we’ve talked to them all. The important thing is really to make sure you’re talking to the group that has the same level of interest at your stage.” 

As an entrepreneur, Deros calls every day a risk, but shares there are ways to “keep moving the ball forward” by constantly doing research. For CIRQ+, Deros and his team have been able to find success quickly by validating their vision before building and launching something.

“A little saying I have is that we know how to bootstrap because we work with so many companies, and we’ve bootstrapped ourselves so much, we probably lost two shoe sizes along the way.”

Due to Deros’ success with ATOM and helping companies and customers make billions of dollars, he and his team is on a mission to make that for themselves and investors involved with CIRQ+. 

Looking ahead to the future, like most startups, Deros has an exit strategy. He hopes to be acquired by companies like Google or other large corporations, but it’s about more than just the money. He notes that when he visited Las Vegas, he was greeted with an emotional reaction to what he and his team were creating. When meeting with the housekeeping environmental services at the Las Vegas Strip, many “emotionally broke down” and thanked Deros because they said no one was thinking of them during the pandemic. “That was all the reinforcement we needed… We’re thrilled to showcase what perseverance, determination and inspiration can really materialize into, especially during this crisis; creating something of value and protection for people today and in the future.” Deros has proved that obstacles will not get in his way, but rather he will grow from the lessons and experiences they provide to achieve success. 

Founder Bio

Yani Deros is an alum of the Massachusetts College of Arts and Design. Deros is co-founder and President of ATOM as well as STREAM Research prior to becoming co-founder and CEO at CIRQ+. He currently resides in the Grand Canyon State. Connect with Deros on LinkedIn.

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