Who says we can’t compete with big organizations like Facebook, Google and Apple?
Hey guys, it’s Mercy Omoregie on BeInspired Show. So today on the show we have a young Genius, he is the Co-founder and Chairman of Xigma. Xigma is a company focused on Artificial Intelligence, Space Travel, Robotic and Energy. I’m sure you will learn a lot from this young man. Please Meet Mr Derick Nwasor.
Tell us more about you and your company Xigma
My name is Derick Nwasor Co-founder of Xigma and as you mentioned earlier, we are into Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, space travel and renewable energy. Basically, we started 2015 at the University of Benin. At first we wanted to just research on advance concept, but later on we understood we needed to commercialize our research. Then the company started shaping its vision from a research lab to an ecosystem, where scientist, engineers and entrepreneurs work together to commercialize scientific ideas.
So personally I am more or less a visionary scientist, with interest in Applied Robotics, Space Science and Energy basically.
How did you come about your team?
In 2015, I met with some young persons in various department of Engineering, Physical Science and Life Science at the University of Benin. We discussed. Then I told them that, instead of us going through the same academic procedures, let’s try to change the narrative, let’s come together to learn and explore beyond academic syllabus and what is being offered in classrooms, then provide solutions to real life problems. They all subscribed to the idea, and that was how we came together as like minds.
Xigma being the parent company is into research and applying those research to products and services. It’s made up of three other subsidiary companies, one of them is Nanodoors. Nanodoors is a company that produces Ergonomic computers that is embedded on surfaces and platforms, like a touch computer on the atmosphere, a computer on the table, on your lens and all that. So that’s what Nanodoors is all about.
Another of the subsidiary company is Numbers. What Numbers does is that, it provides security by just collecting data from GPS, electronic sensors and surveillance cameras from the environment to be able to predict things like crime, accidents, gallops, traffics etc. We are interested in providing safety for people, homes, vehicles, and properties. And that’s what ‘Numbers’ does.
Then ‘Newdigit’ which is the last subsidiary company, is more or less trying to disrupt the Africa’s energy space by rendering hydrocarbon economy obsolete. ‘Newdigit’ tries to commercialize hydrogen economy in Nigeria and Africa, trying to use water to produce electricity. And it’s focus is to generate zero emission energy. Odili Michael Authority CEO of Newdigit
I understand that your industry can be capital intensive, how did you get your startup capital?
Ok, initially, we were all working on research, but we decided to commercialize our ideas leading us to establish subsidiary companies like I explained already. These companies go into day to day business with product and services for customers.
Also, in raising finance, we participated in various Hackathons, the recent one was organized by the Edo State Government in which we came first and second. We try to also engage with venture capitals and investors. However, we started by bringing our own equity investment as co-founders of the business until eventually we were introduced to some venture capitals who wanted a stake in the company for them to give us money to push our project forward.
So, you are in partnership with some bigger companies?
I will say not completely, because we are still undergoing partnership process, for now we are more or less getting funds from competitions, grants, and of course confounders financial contribution.
What has been the challenge so far for you especially in Nigeria?
One of the challenges I personally has faced has to do with bringing people together. It’s a little bit difficult trying to do something that advance as Xigma. Most of us want to focus on something quite simple to do, and nobody is attending to the bigger problems. That’s one of the challenges I faced.
And then secondly, we face environment challenge, you know we are in Nigeria and in Benin, the ecosystem is not tech inclined, so we have to try our best to make sure we create the environment ourselves, to look for a way where we can get the necessary environment that enables innovation and advancement in science
How about power challenge?
I don’t have issues with electricity because we generate our own electricity, produced by one of our subsidiary companies, ‘Newdigit’. We use water and conformed solar cells to generate electricity. The general picture for New Digit is to establish what we call the hydrogen economy in Africa, where we can use water to produce hydrogen and convert already existing hydro-carbon to hydrogen.
That’s powerful! So where does Xigma draws inspiration from as a team? What inspires you to do what you do?
First of all, it’s about the time we find ourselves in Nigeria. And the current situations that are faced in the world. Our first inspiration was the need to do something that can compete with already established companies like Google, Facebook and Apple, and research organizations like NASA and CERN.
Now African needs to compete with these established companies in terms of organizing transitional research. Then another thing was the fact that, as a team, we had to look for ways to do something beyond ourselves, things that transcends our potentials and the limitations that we have in Nigeria. And also provide development in the Africa continent.
What would you say to young entrepreneurs out there? Those already in the tech industry like you are now?
Thank you very much. There are problems in the world, and sometimes, these problems are very big and not easy to solve, so I will advice young entrepreneurs not to be afraid to take up big challenge. There are a whole lot of problems faced in the world today, there is energy crises, food crises, and the rest. So if you want to do something that advance, if you have a big idea that no body is doing, I advice you GO FOR IT! Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid to do something that the big companies are doing, only make sure that whatever you are doing, you take the entrepreneurship approach.
Don’t just be a Scientist researching, and building technologies that you cannot use to impact the average man in the street. So try to push human intellectual forward as well as human industrialization and civilization. In order for you to do that, you have to take on big challenges, and you have to make sure that you are focused and do whatever it takes (in terms of entrepreneurship training and all that) to get where you are going.