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Ukraine-native makes Halifax his Home

Wednesday, July 29, 2015



Meet ConnectNS network member and international entrepreneur Oleg Yefymov. After years of traveling the world, Oleg Yefymov chose Halifax as his home and the place to grow his business.

After making the move with his wife one year ago, Yefymov reflects on why he chose Halifax. “It’s a fascinating place. We looked for a promising place to raise our family - my wife and I considered a few different cities in Canada, but we found that Halifax would be the best place because of the people. We really loved it here and the landscape is gorgeous. Yefymov also commented that a much higher quality of life is possible in Nova Scotia, largely because of the reasonable housing market.

Yefymov has been an entrepreneur since childhood. In his time in Israel he started a company called Right to Left which is now one of the leading digital agencies in the country. Yefymov and his team at Right to Left delivered award-winning products to major brands such as Samsung and Coca-Cola. Since moving to Nova Scotia, Yefymov has continued to challenge his innovative mind and encourage entrepreneurship in an entirely new environment.

He is currently the Halifax Chapter Director at Startup Grind, a global start-up community designed to educate, inspire, and connect entrepreneurs, where he hosts monthly events for entrepreneurs in Nova Scotia.

Yefymov has also founded a start-up of his own since his arrival called Yomes. It’s an online service for landlords and tenants that facilitates the rental process via a safe and comfortable platform.

Between encouraging the growth of the Nova Scotia start-up culture, running a start-up of his own and hosting monthly Startup Grind events, we managed to squeeze some time out of Oleg Yefymov’s busy schedule to chat with him about his time here so far.

Israel is a start-up nation. From your perspective, what is holding Canada back from reaching that same status?

I think a major factor is the quality of life. In Canada, it’s relatively high – higher than it is in Israel, so people are less willing to change something.  They are comfortable with where they are.  They can risk a bit, but they don’t want to go too far from their comfort zone, and they come back fast. Another factor is the way risk is treated. In Israel, failure is not a bad thing, it can actually be a good thing. Here I find people are afraid of taking risks.

Why did you decide to start your business in Nova Scotia?

This idea could have worked really well in Israel, but I started it here for several reasons.  First of all, there are not as many eyes on what I’m doing here as there are in Israel.  In Israel, if anything works well, it gets copied really fast in San Francisco and New York, but not by the founders. Americans know what’s happening in Israel.  They’re looking for good ideas and take them to North America.  I prefer to be the one to take my ideas to North America, but not to the biggest city where it’s harder to penetrate. Here it’s easier for me to test my venture and prove the concept, and then I can take on the world.

What do you love most about doing what you do professionally?

I love changing the world for the better and causing people to behave more honestly.

How do you think your start-up will change the game on how people behave professionally?

First of all, Yomes will be a platform for ensuring accountability and credibility of both landlords and tenants. As it stands, if for example, a landlord doesn’t give a security deposit back to a tenant, no one will know. Then the next tenant falls into the same trap, and so does the tenant after that. However, if the landlord knows that there is a platform where people can share experiences like that, they will behave accordingly. The same logic applies to the tenants as well. If they are a bad tenant or they cause damage to an apartment, there is a place for the landlord to warn other landlords. The increased accountability will make for a more considerate rental experience from all parties.

What is the best lesson you ever learned?

You have to be fast. Make mistakes, but be fast to learn from them and be fast to become better.

What is the greatest asset Nova Scotia can offer your industry?

Nova Scotia’s greatest asset is the lifestyle it allows. I love it - that’s why we’re here. If we can combine this lifestyle with great business opportunities, then this is heaven.


Oleg Yefymov is a member of the ConnectNS network of proud Nova Scotians, alumni and expats from over 40 countries. Learn how you too can get involved.