Based in Benin, As World Tech manufactures smart watches, connected glasses and other latest generation laptops that are disrupting the ICT market.
Passionate about digital solutions
Richard Gautier Odjrado, the new face of technology in Africa, for him it all started as a teenager when he went to trade shows in the Ivory Coast with his father, then an electronics salesman. The click. “I’ve always called myself a solver because problems inspire me,” says this brilliant 30-year-old project manager who had already thought of a solution for today’s WhatsApp ancestor. 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 he 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 give relief to the Beninese healthcare system during Covid-19. Founder of the AS® brand, Asuka Spirit, his new startup’s adventure began the day his two smartphones were stolen. “The next day, I searched for effective anti-theft solutions to never lose my phones, but I couldn’t find any. At that moment I thought of a preventative solution that now prevents me from losing my phone. ”
“People at the center of the whole process”
Three years later he launched in Cotonou, Benin, a prototype of the preventive anti-theft connected watch “AS WATCH” with integrated digital thermometer which, after three meters, is triggered by a vibration when it detects that the smartphone is far from AS WATCH . In just 72 hours from the release of a demonstration video, Richard receives around 12,000 purchase intentions. Confirmed in his potential to offer effective solutions, he founded As World Tech in June 2021. His idea of him? Offer innovative technology products, appliances and other accessories at affordable prices under your own brand. Among the products on sale on the dedicated online store there are designer and discreet connected glasses that allow you to call and listen to music without earphones, as well as latest generation laptops with African names such as: Shango, Oga, Seê, Folakê. Aware of the potential of his African target market, Richard intends to take his time. “I have already received several acquisition proposals. My goal is not to sell but rather to have high-level shareholders to develop a strong African brand that brings values and offers products suited to our needs, refocusing the human being at the center of the whole process. , we will do high-tech differently. Richard is one of the partner entrepreneurs of the Beninese innovation agency Sèmè City. He collaborates with the Ministry of Digital and Digitization of Benin.
A virtuous brand
To do this, the Beninese brand intends to respect virtuous development, based on sustainable consumption and production methods. In addition to using components with a longer life, As World Tech focuses on highly repairable and recyclable devices, with the aim of reducing IT waste. Not to mention his actions against the digital divide through training and equipment recovery. “We can produce on a large scale, insisting on the ecological aspect,” recalls Richard. We must be able to create synergy between all players because we have many levers to be in tune with the challenges of development and the environment. On the innovation front, his start-up, which now has twelve employees with over 25,000 product requests worldwide, is preparing to launch its range of smartphones, digital school supplies and even connected sneakers to reduce fatigue. While the references of the brand are now available in a showroom located in Cotonou, in the heart of the capital, on Avenue Steinmetz, Richard is taking other steps in terms of business. Several big brands, African, European and American, are undoubtedly expected to distribute As World Tech from next autumn. “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 information systems within 5 years and we are talking about over 590,296,163 people connected to the internet by device, or 43% of the African population source: “Internet World Stats 2021”. To achieve this, in addition to B2C, we must, with the support of our leaders, equip our ministries, institutions, hospitals, universities and colleges with our computers and other connected devices. It is also about digital sovereignty. “The next few months will be decisive. Richard encourages young Africans to believe in themselves and to stay on the continent to develop it in co-creation. His leitmotif: Africa, the place to be!