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Inspirational Female Founder Spotlight: Leyla Alieva

Leyla Alieva is the CEO and co-founder of NEOL Copper Technologies, a hard-science company dedicated to developing and manufacturing innovative technical lubricants, based in the UK.

Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?

My professional journey started in in the finance industry in the late 90s. I spent twelve years in investment banking and alternative fund management before moving to business development and executive management roles. I then became the group CEO of CUPPER Group in 2021, which developed and manufactured technical lubricants based on its own unique additive technology, an experience that led me to founding NEOL Copper Technologies two years later. My co-founder and I thought that this innovation was so good and transformative that we decided to take it global.

NEOL Copper Technologies is a UK-based hard-science company developing, testing, and manufacturing revolutionary technical lubricants. At NEOL we’re disrupting the lubricants industry with our pioneering CuGlide™ technology. Born out of 30 years of R&D and 15 years of real-life application, CuGlide™ offers a groundbreaking approach to providing anti-wear and detergency of technical lubricants. The new approach paves a way to the whole new level of mechanical efficiency of equipment, whilst slashing both financial and environmental costs. Unlike anything on the market our additive technology emerged out of decades of research into hydrogen wear, which puts NEOL at the forefront of technological shift in a traditionally very conservative sector. Our products target industries like commercial transportation, mining, energy generation and manufacturing. All of them can seriously benefit from both operational efficiency improvement and fast decarbonisation.

How did the idea come to you for the company?

The idea came to me from the inspiring Dr Sergei Mamykin, the founder of CUPPER Group and developer of the copper filming anti-wear technology. I was absolutely amazed with his work, and having seen the effects of this tech in action, how it provided a solution that was not only better for the environment, but also significantly improved the efficiency and longevity of the machinery, I wanted to continue nurturing this technology and take it global to really revolutionise the way we anti-wear.

 What are the key successes?

I am proud of being able to transition into a totally unknown field and make it my own. I’ve had to step out of my comfort zone and challenge myself, establishing a career in this field and industry. Seeing how it’s progressed and how much I’ve grown alongside my company has been incredible.

What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?

The main challenge I experience is not to fall apart trying to combine my two full-time jobs: being mother and wife, and the CEO of a technology startup. It’s about finding a daily balance, identifying the right mindset, whilst constantly working on developing and expanding my picture of the world. Another thing that really works is pulling yourself to the new level of self-organisation (even “automation”) through incorporating new routines and habits into daily life. Firstly, “automation” releases a lot of mental energy. And secondly, I strongly believe that routines are what makes you keep going, when you are not motivated to do a task. So, working towards creating good habits is an ongoing task for me.

What are your plans now/for the future?

My immediate plan is to close my first venture capital round, so that I can continue growing and developing my company by setting up manufacturing in the UK and acquiring talent to join our team and share our product and knowledge with the rest of Europe, and eventually the World.

What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?

Start that journey if you feel that it’s the right one for you. Sometimes people start this journey for the wrong reasons, perhaps because it’s what someone else wants them to do. But it is crucial that you do it because it’s what you want to do. I would also encourage people to not be discouraged if they do not have their own business ideas – find a project that you can nurture with your skills, it does not need to be a new and original idea. Embrace your unique set of skills, find the best application for it, as well as ways to grow it.

Who are the 5 people who inspire you the most and why?

I am very inspired by James Clare, the author of Atomic Habits. I feel that James has really cracked the ‘day-to-day efficiency’ code and has a lot of motivational quotes and ways to change your mindset.

Another big inspiration of mine is one that emerged quite recently. I found myself mesmerized by Arnold Schwarzenegger whilst watching the recent series made about his life. I found it very motivating to see how extremely hardworking he was, and how he didn’t let anything interfere with his goals. He knew what he wanted to achieve and worked hard towards achieving it.

There is no doubt that I am inspired by the amazing Dr Mamykin. Not only is he an incredible scientist and engineer, but his devotion to his work, making it the work of his life, is just incredible. He has never stopped believing in himself and his creation, even when people around him didn’t understand him.

Masha (Misha) Gessen is another big inspiration of mine. I think the way they talk about what they stand for and believe in, and the way they advocated for the gender identity theme is so healthy and respectable, and something I admire greatly.

The last, but probably the most important, person that inspired and inspires me is my grandmother, Varvara Mikhailovna. She was a chemistry and biology teacher in a village school, and a “wise woman” people referred to for advice. The most inspiring part was in how she discovered and showed greatness in everyday life.

What are your Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn social handles and also website links so our readers can connect with you?  

Website link: https://www.neol.world/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/leyla-alieva-0a949543/