Winner of Campfire Ignites: Janja Popović, Founder of AYSWAP

Hannah Watkins
Hannah Watkins|Updated December 6th 2018

This summer, we partnered with Campfire to offer three individuals the chance to win three months’ desk membership in their brand new Shoreditch workspace.

We were well-impressed with the applications we received: plenty of exciting new startups with innovative ideas, all looking to make the most of a unique opportunity to work in a creative community like Campfire.

But in the end, there could only be three winners. Let us introduce the first: Janja Popović, founder of AYSWAP. We spoke to her about her new coffee subscription service and experience so far at Campfire.

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Hey Janja! So tell us, what’s the story of AYSWAP?

AYSWAP is an online platform that allows coffee drinkers to access exclusive offers on their daily coffee purchase, discover new coffee shops in their area, and have a positive impact on the environment. It also allows independent coffee shops to promote their coffee shop and gain access to a broader audience.

AYSWAP’s main mission is to create a system where coffee shops, coffee drinkers, and the environment all benefit. When coffee drinkers purchase our reusable cup, they can get an additional discount at coffee shops. AYSWAP also allows coffee shops to reduce their food waste by accessing a dedicated platform where they can put their daily offers, promote their store, and reduce their cost of purchasing disposable coffee cups.

In terms of environmental impact, AYSWAP has the potential to cut the waste of millions of disposable coffee cups that are thrown away on a daily basis, and reduce the cost of recycling coffee cups in the UK.

So, we’re building a coffee community for all the coffee lovers who not only want to have a positive impact on the environment but also drink quality coffee from London’s best independent coffee shops.

Where did the idea come from?

During my Master’s Degree at Kingston University, I was working on my sustainable project which was about swapping old clothes. At that time, there was a Mayor’s Entrepreneur competition, where we were asked to design a ‘smart sustainable solution’ to better the lives of Londoners. I really got into this and started reading a lot of articles and research problems London’s economy is currently facing. I found many shocking stats, such as the fact that less than 1% of coffee cups in the UK are properly recycled and that over 7 million disposable coffee cups are thrown away in the UK every day. This means over 2.5 billion per year, which is so unnecessary.

On top of that, ever since I moved to London I’ve always been bothered by all the coffee cup waste I see on the streets, and bins full of disposable coffee cups. This is especially because where I come from [Slovenia], the on-the-go coffee culture is nowhere near as popular.

Based on that, I changed my idea from swapping clothes to swapping coffee cups and founded AYSWAP. The next month I was chosen as one of the Top 10 Female Entrepreneurs as part of the Mayor’s Entrepreneur competition, and was awarded with mentorship. AYSWAP was also chosen as Top 10 Student Start-up of the Year 2018!

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What made you apply for the Campfire Ignites competition?

To win an amazing office space to work in!

How are you finding Campfire so far? What benefits has it brought you being in a coworking space? 

Being surrounded by other young entrepreneurs is always motiving and inspiring. Plus, Campfire has beautifully designed spaces; I have been in a few other coworking spaces and Campfire is really spacious and well-designed in comparison.

Being in a coworking space like this personally helps me to stay disciplined, particularly when I see other people working hard on their startups, and it also has benefits in terms of expanding my social network.

I also like the social and entrepreneurial events that happen at Campfire, with amazing founders who share their journeys.

What’s next for AYSWAP?

We haven’t even had our official launch yet, so there’s a lot on the cards for AYSWAP. The main thing to focus on now is getting as many of London’s coffee shops on board, as well as coffee drinkers who will enjoy the AYSWAP platform and find value in it.

And finally: what’s your favourite coffee shop near Campfire…?

Whichever is the first to join AYSWAP..! I don’t have a favourite yet as I am new to the area – so if any coffee shop owner is reading this, please get in touch!

Thanks Janja!

Looking for an inspirational workspace in which to launch your business? It’s not as expensive as you might think! Check out what’s on offer on our platform – we have hot desks for as little as £50/month.