Based in Benin, As World Tech manufactures smart watches, connected glasses and other latest generation laptops that are shaking up the ICT market.
A digital solutions enthusiast
Richard Gautier Odjrado, the new face of tech in Africa, for him, it all started as a teenager when he traveled to trade fairs in Côte d’Ivoire alongside his father, then an electronics seller. The click. “I have always defined myself as a solver because problems inspire me,” says this brilliant 30-year-old project manager who had already thought of a solution for the ancestor of today’s WhatsApp. I would say that my previous experiences have enriched me a lot. Project manager, consultant in marketing and digital communication, Richard has carried out numerous missions for various companies such as Facebook (Meta). Then it got closer and closer to digital by multiplying innovations and other initiatives such as I-secours, International Virtual Fair and a self-diagnosis platform intended to relieve the Beninese health system during Covid-19. Founder of the AS® brand, Asuka Spirit, the adventure of his new startup started the day his two smartphones were stolen. “The next day, I looked for effective anti-theft solutions to stop losing my phones, but I couldn’t find any. That’s when I thought of a preventative solution that now prevents me from losing my phone. »
“People at the heart of the whole process”
Three years later, he launched in Cotonou, Benin, a prototype of the “AS WATCH” connected watch of the preventive anti-theft type with an integrated digital thermometer which, after three meters, is triggered by a vibration when it detects that the smartphone is away from AS WATCH. In just 72 hours after posting a demo video, Richard receives approximately 12,000 purchase intentions. Confirmed in his potential to offer effective solutions, he founded As World Tech in June 2021. His idea? Offer innovative technological products, household appliances and other accessories at affordable prices with its own brand. Among the products available for sale on the dedicated online store are designer and discreet connected glasses that allow you to call and listen to music without earphones, as well as state-of-the-art laptops with African names such as : Shango, Oga, Ifê, Folakê. Aware of the potential of the African market, his target, Richard intends to take his time. “I have already received several takeover proposals. My goal is not to sell but rather to have high-level shareholders in order to develop a strong African brand that carries values and offers products adapted to our needs, by refocusing the human being at the heart of the whole process. , we are going to do high-tech differently. Richard is one of the partner entrepreneurs of the Beninese innovation agency Sèmè City. It collaborates with the Ministry of Digital and Digitization of Benin.
A virtuous brand
To do this, the Beninese brand intends to respect a virtuous development, based on sustainable consumption and production methods. In addition to using components with a longer lifespan, As World Tech is betting on devices with a high repairability index and which can be recycled, with the aim of reducing computer waste. Not to mention its actions against the digital divide through training and the recovery of equipment. “We can produce on a very large scale while insisting on the ecological aspect,” recalls Richard. We have to manage to create a synergy between all the players because we have plenty of levers to be in tune with the challenges of development and the environment. On the innovation side, his start-up, which today has twelve employees with more than 25,000 product requests worldwide, is preparing to launch its own range of smartphones, digital school supplies and even connected sneakers. to reduce fatigue. While the brand’s references are now available in a showroom located in Cotonou in the heart of the capital on Avenue Steinmetz, Richard is initiating other steps in terms of business. Several major brands, African, European and American should undoubtedly distribute As World Tech from next fall. “We are preparing a fundraising campaign”, adds Richard before concluding, straight to the point: “We want to cover 17% of the African market for connected objects and computer systems within 5 years and we are talking about more than 590,296,163 people connected to the internet by devices, i.e. 43% of the African population source: “Internet World Stats 2021″. To achieve this, apart from B2C, we must, with the support of our leaders, equip our Ministries, Institutions, Hospitals, Universities and Colleges with our own computers and other connected devices. It’s also about digital sovereignty.” The coming months will be decisive. Richard encourages young Africans to believe in themselves and to stay on the continent in order to develop it in co-creation. His leitmotif: Africa, the place to be!