Since the advent of social networking sites in the early 2000s, online social networking platforms have expanded exponentially with some of the biggest names such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. However, the massive influx of personal information that has become available online and stored in the cloud has put user privacy at the forefront of discussions regarding the database’s ability to safely store such personal information.
In today’s technological age, the extent to which users and social media platform administrators can access user profiles has become a new topic of ethical consideration, and the legality, awareness, and boundaries of subsequent privacy violations are critical concerns. Heeding to this, Nova Halavins incepted AntiLand—the world’s most popular anonymous chatting app committed to providing a safe community focused on self-discovery and mutual support—in 2015. Being the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the company, Nova manages multiple responsibilities at AntiLand. “It’s not just a business for me. It’s a labor of love,” he asserts.
A Person of Compassion and Humanitarianism
Nova has helped over 30 million people cope with depression and loneliness since the company’s inception. Being a global serial entrepreneur, he has founded four companies and has dealt first-hand with the peaks and valleys of being a business owner.
Alongside creating assets worth more than $50 million, Nova has also been heavily involved in social issues. He was an advocate for national minority rights, organizing several strikes in his native Latvia and serving as a delegate representing minorities in the Council of Europe in the mid-2000s. Nova is passionate about giving a voice to the voiceless and the lessons he learned in these experiences ultimately shaped the foundation of AntiLand—which strives to give everyone an equal voice.
Upholding Freedom and Safety
Nova believes that online communities should bring people together and people should have freedom of speech. However, several people believe that freedom of speech lets them abuse other people. These people can stress out millions of other users. As a result, social media apps today have become a platform where bullying and trolling are a norm.
AntiLand rewards its users for good deeds and has zero-tolerance for bullying and other bad behavior. “We have developed more than 600 behavioral predicting algorithms, as well as machine-learning tools that focus on providing a safe environment, even for the most sensitive users,” asserts Nova. Unlike some apps where the users’ accounts are linked to their identity, AntiLand lets users discover their true self, incognito.
Furthermore, some countries have their authoritative view on freedom of speech in general. Thus, two Asian countries including China and South Korea have banned AntiLand for letting people discuss their issues incognito.
Multiple Responsibilities and Challenges
The growth of technologies and the increasing magnitude of internet hiring have significantly changed the role of leaders over the past few years. Managing people has become easier than ever. Ten years ago, a leader would have to employ locals and gather them in the office to build a new product. This was challenging, particularly for an introvert like Nova—who does not like being distracted at work and hates consuming time on commuting. “Now, thanks to computers, faster than ever internet connections, and modern tools for distant teamwork, we can all work from home with comfort and even increase our productivity,” states Nova.
Alongside the technological progress, Nova’s role has changed due to relocating from Eastern Europe to the USA. He believes that in Eastern Europe, it is a challenge for business owners to keep their capital safe from criminal activity and political risk. Nova’s first $10M+ business was taken illegally from him. Despite hiring an attorney to resist the pressure, he had to give up the business due to continuous pressure from external sources. “That was a hell of a challenge,” he adds.
Furthermore, due to the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have been forced to stay at home and there has been a significant increase in mental health issues. As someone who has personally struggled with long-lasting depression three times, Nova understands what people are going through and believes AntiLand can help them as a source of escape and connection.
A Better and Safer Future
The team of AntiLand has been working remotely since 2015, long before the COVID-19 outbreak. The primary reason behind it was that Nova hated normal offices and commuting. However, in 2020, numerous businesses shifted their operations remotely due to which he discovered an additional benefit of AntiLand’s remote working structure—immunity to biological threats. Nova adds, “I know people who completely lost their offline businesses. I am so sorry for them. I do know how it feels.” He feels proud that Nova—on the contrary—created several new jobs and increased salaries for the loyal teammates during the crisis.
Having watched speeches of different leaders to their citizens and followers on New Year’s Eve—where they said something like “Finally 2020 is over,” Nova finds it very humane to think that any of these numbers matter. He adds, “I don’t think there is a sure plan anywhere for every year ahead of us, and somebody says something like—Ok humans, here’s a bad year for you. But the next one will be better.”
According to Nova, the lessons people learn and actions they take will matter the most in the years to come. He believes that catastrophic events such as the COVID-19 and the bigger-than-ever wildfires are great teachers. In the future, Nova expects humanity to stop fighting against each other and focus on preserving a better and safer future.
Read full issue: The Top 10 Perseverant Entrepreneurs 2021