Like World Tech, an African high-tech startup to follow

Benin-based As World Tech makes smartwatches, connected glasses and other latest generation laptops that are shaking up the ICT market.

Digital Solution Enthusiast

Richard Gauthier Ojrado, the new face of tech in Africa, it all started for him as a teenager when he traveled to trade fairs in the Ivory Coast with his father, then an electronics salesman. Click. “I have always defined myself as a solver because problems inspire me,” says this brilliant 30-year-old project leader who had already come up with a solution for today’s WhatsApp ancestor. I would say that my previous experience has been very enriching for me. Project Manager, Marketing and Digital Communications Consultant, Richard has completed numerous missions for various companies such as Facebook (Meta). It then moved closer and closer to digital, multiplying innovations and other initiatives such as I-secours, the International Virtual Fair and a self-diagnosis platform designed to ease Benin’s healthcare system during Covid-19. The founder of the AS® brand, Asuka Spirit, began his new startup’s adventure the day he was robbed of his two smartphones. “The next day I was looking for effective anti-theft solutions to avoid losing my phones, but I couldn’t find them. That’s when I thought of a preventive solution that now prevents my phone from being lost. »

“People at the center of the whole process”

Three years later, he launched in Cotonou, Benin, a prototype of a preventive anti-theft type “AS WATCH” connected watch with a built-in digital thermometer that vibrates after three meters when it detects that the smartphone is far from the AS WATCH. In just 72 hours after posting the demo video, Richard gets around 12,000 purchase intents. Having proven his ability to deliver effective solutions, he founded As World Tech in June 2021. His idea? Offer innovative technology products, home appliances and other accessories at affordable prices under your own brand. Among the products available for sale in a specialized online store are designer and discreet plug-in glasses that allow you to make calls and listen to music without headphones, as well as modern laptops with African names such as: Shango, Oga, Ife, Folake. Knowing about the potential of the African market, its goals, Richard intends to take his time. “I have already received several takeover offers. My goal is not to sell, but to have high-level shareholders to develop a strong African brand that delivers values ​​and offers products tailored to our needs, putting the individual at the center of the whole process. we’re going to do high-tech differently. Richard is one of the entrepreneurial partners of the Beninese innovation agency Sèmè City. It cooperates with the Ministry of Digital Technology and Digitization of Benin.

virtuous brand

To do this, the Benin brand intends to respect virtuous development based on sustainable consumption and production practices. In addition to using components with a longer service life, As World Tech relies on devices with a high maintainability index that can be recycled in order to reduce computer waste. Not to mention its actions against the digital divide through training and equipment refurbishment. “We can produce on a very large scale, insisting on the environmental aspect,” recalls Richard. We need to create synergy between all the players because we have a lot of leverage to be in tune with development and environment issues. In terms of innovation, his startup, which now has twelve employees with more than 25,000 product requests worldwide, is gearing up to launch its own range of smartphones, digital school supplies, and even connected running shoes to reduce fatigue. While brand references are now available in the showroom located in Cotonou, in the heart of the capital on Steinmetz Avenue, Richard is taking other steps in terms of business. Several major brands, African, European and American, should no doubt be distributing As World Tech from next fall. “We are preparing a fundraising campaign,” adds Richard, before getting down to business: “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 Internet by device, i.e. 43% of African population, source: “World Internet Statistics 2021”. To do this, in addition to B2C, we must, with the support of our leaders, equip our ministries, institutions, hospitals, universities and colleges with their own computers and other connected devices. This also applies to digital sovereignty.” The coming months will be decisive. Richard encourages young Africans to believe in themselves and stay on the continent to develop it in collaboration. His leitmotif: Africa, the place to be!