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Hidden Gems: Meet Roman Protoliuk of Protoqit, Protoloq

Today we’d like to introduce you to Roman Protoliuk.

Hi Roman, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I am a 22 years old Entrepreneur, Designer, and Software Engineer based in Los Angeles, CA. My story begins in the small town of Dubno, Ukraine. I was five years old when my parents bought me a computer, and little did I know that fast forward 15 years, I’d be building my very own. When I was seven years old, my parents went through a divorce. When I was 11, my mom, my younger sister, and myself moved across the world to stay with my family in Tacoma, Washington. Growing up in Tacoma wasn’t easy, I had to learn English, meet new friends and adjust to a completely different life than what I was used to back in Ukraine. My life had completely changed, I had to grow up fast. My mom did the best job she could in order to provide for my sister and I. Throughout the tough times, I still had my passion for technology, but I had to do what I needed to do to provide for myself as well.

At an early age, I started working for my uncle. A lot of the jobs I had were small and tedious like landscaping, construction, and office cleaning. Although I didn’t enjoy it, I am very thankful for those experiences because they taught me the importance of work ethic and what I didn’t want to do with my life. When I was 16, I was really inspired by the well-known 90’s clothing brand, Cross Colours, so I started my own clothing brand called ProtoClothing which became well known and successful within my hometown. This is where my entrepreneurship began. Despite the fact that ProtoClothing had some success, I always knew that I was meant to do something more. The day I found out about The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Downtown LA, I knew it would be my chance to move out of Tacoma to pursue my vision of a better life for myself. Once I got accepted as an apparel industry management major, I left to LA right way with no plan B. FIDM allowed me to make great connections with people in the industry and I was lucky enough to land a job with my inspiration for ProtoClothing, Cross Colours.

There, I worked as their graphic designer. During my first quarter at FIDM, I met my girlfriend, Kaitlyn, a talented interior designer. We later started working on projects together which eventually led to us teaming up and launching our full-service design firm PROTOQIT. We focus on guiding startups and small businesses with contemporary and functional design through branding, website development, and interior design. I dropped out of FIDM at 19 and started focusing on my career. I had saved up for a personal computer and built my own and my girlfriend’s which rekindled my passion and technology. I eventually started to expand my knowledge on programming by taking computer science classes online and reading various books.

About two years ago, I had reconnected with my dad from Ukraine. He had told me about his heart condition and how his health was jeopardized. Due to financial constraints, I wasn’t able to come see him until last December when I was told that my dad is no longer with us. I was able to make it to his funeral. It was a bittersweet feeling being back home after 11 years with these given circumstances. All of these experiences had led me to start an R&D company called Protoloq with a main mission to develop tech solutions to help extend human lifespan. I am only 22 and I want to use my passion for technology and dedicate my life to making other people’s lives easier whether it’s through health, finances or any other way I can.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
In my life, I had a lot of obstacles to overcome, but the most significant would be when I was still in Ukraine when I was young, it was hard for me to accept my parent’s divorce. Another time would be when I came to America one of the biggest obstacles was getting accustomed to the culture and learning English. In my adolescence, I was trying to figure out who I was which had steered me to the wrong path. My senior year was also pretty tough because I was second-guessing my decision moving out to LA. After I moved out at 18, I leaned on faith with hope of a better future.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Protoqit, Protoloq?
PROTOQIT is a full-service design firm dedicated to guiding startups and small businesses through contemporary and functional design. Our services include branding, website development, & interior design. PROTOLOQ is an R&D company that focuses on developing tech solutions to help extend human lifespan.

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