Founder of the week: Nwokedi Adams Uchenna and the Visionary Journey of Kryptonig.
In our latest "Entrepreneur of the Week" feature, we are excited to introduce Nwokedi Adams Uchenna, the innovative mind behind Kryptonig. His entrepreneurial journey is a fascinating blend of resilience, vision, and a deep understanding of the socio-economic landscape, particularly in the realm of digital currencies and emerging technologies.
Nwokedi's journey into entrepreneurship was sparked by a simple yet profound experience in 2019. A friend's request to purchase Bitcoin led him to reconnect with a neighbour, who would become his mentor. This interaction opened the door to the world of digital currencies and marked the beginning of Nwokedi's entrepreneurial path. In 2020, his dedication and hard work culminated in the co-founding of CollabCentr, a system designed to foster talent collaboration without financial barriers. However, despite its promise, the project faced funding challenges, leading Nwokedi to a crucial realization: even the most talented individuals need financial support to scale their projects.
This revelation was the genesis of Kryptonig. Nwokedi identified a glaring need in the market, particularly for Africans struggling in obscurity due to a sharp decline in venture capital funds. He envisioned a platform where creators could raise funds, build community, and learn, thereby overcoming the funding restrictions that stifle growth and innovation.
Building Kryptonig was not without its challenges. Nwokedi's lack of programming knowledge was a significant hurdle. However, his experience in student politics had honed his skills as a conversationalist, enabling him to connect with individuals who possessed the necessary technical expertise. Through these collaborations, Nwokedi was able to bootstrap the early stages of Kryptonig, demonstrating a remarkable ability to leverage his network and resources effectively.
When assembling his founding team, Nwokedi looked for more than just skills; he sought individuals with unique personalities who could thrive under unconventional circumstances. His unconventional approach to interviews and team building highlights his belief that a solid team is built on personality and the ability to learn on the job, rather than solely on existing skills.
The long-term vision for Kryptonig is ambitious and innovative. Nwokedi aims to establish Kryptonig as the go-to enterprise for community-based crowdfunding. The focus isn't just on solving financial problems for creators but also on establishing a vital link between creators and community building.
Nwokedi's motivation as an entrepreneur is deeply rooted in addressing socio-economic imbalances and harnessing emerging technologies to effect change. His advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is poignant and realistic, likening building a company to raising a child, with all the challenges and rewards that come with it.
Entrepreneurship has profoundly impacted Nwokedi's life, teaching him the importance of resilience, the necessity of a macro perspective, and the art of navigating through uncertainties and challenges.
Nwokedi's journey is a testament to the power of fearlessness, resilience, and creativity in the face of entrepreneurial challenges. His story is not just about the success of Kryptonig but also about inspiring a generation of entrepreneurs to pursue their visions with determination and ingenuity.
Discover more about Nwokedi Adams Uchenna and Kryptonig's innovative approach at Kryptonig's website. Join us in celebrating Nwokedi's journey and the impactful work of Kryptonig in our "Entrepreneur of the Week" feature.
Full interview below 👇
What motivated you to start your company and how did you begin your entrepreneurial journey?
What motivated me to build Kryptonig: In 2020, I co-founded CollabCentr with a couple of friends. It was an amazing idea and a product/system that would connect talented individuals and help them foster collaborations without finance. Bottom line was that we couldn't raise funds to market after collaborating to bootstrap and down we went. After that came NFTs in 2021 and after a worthwhile research, I discovered that people needed money to scale their projects even if they had all the talents in the world — this was the birth of Kryptonig.How I began my entrepreneurial journey: In 2019 I was called by a friend who said he wanted to purchase Bitcoin. I've heard of it a year before but I was engrossed with student politics at the University that I didn't show interest in any other thing. When he mentioned Bitcoin, I remembered I had a neighbor who became my mentor after the transaction was completed — I reached out to him and in the end, I made money for just connecting two people (remember that P2P transactions are highly prevalent in Nigeria) and that was the begining of my journey. In 2020 I studied really hard as I started trading and began preaching the gospel of digital currencies to my community. With over 60 students by the end of the same year, I discovered that I was called to do more than trade — I was here to build for the long haul.
Identifying a market need is crucial for any business. Can you share the story behind discovering the market opportunity that led to your business idea?
Leaving Collabcentr, I focused on learning more about why we got stuck even though we were fine-tuning a great idea. I started with NFTs and tried to raise funds to scale the project and that was the hard part faced by so many people. I found out that many people had ideas but money was the biggest cog in the wheel of growth, especially for Africans wallowing in obscurity; Venture capital funds coming into the continent was down over 50% and the trend spelt doom for the Nigerian tech industry in particular — today, it is down by 77%. So I figured that a platform where project creators can raise funds, learn and build community would be an ideal solution to the problem created by funding restrictions.
Starting a company often involves overcoming obstacles. Could you tell us about a significant challenge you faced during the early stages of your company and how you navigated through it?
Given my background and experience in businesses I indulged over time, I knew that I needed to bootstrap if I needed to raise but I had no programming knowledge even though my brain is a hive for ideas. However, my time as a student politician made me a fearless conversationalist and this skill helped me to approach individuals with the needed skills, just as we did with Collabcentr. I wanted NFTs to aid my fundraising process — I reached out to my friends who are digital artists.I wanted cash for domain, etc. — I reached out to friends who were traders and had their own personal projects; the solution is for them. I wanted developers and I reached out those in my circle. That way I was able to bootstrap by applying the knowledge I got from my experience as a Co-founder and COO in my past venture.
Let's talk about successes now. What has been your most significant achievement as an entrepreneur?
Personally, I believe success means different things for different folks. For me, where I am, compared to where I was born into is the biggest success so far given that I was the first person in my family to own a PC. Beyond that, giving out textbooks to students through my charity foundation back in college is my biggest success so far — From not being to afford one ($3 at the time) to giving out over 500 textbooks.
How do you measure success for yourself and your business?
For myself: My learning curve.For my business: Productivity and Traction.
Building a strong team is essential for success. What qualities were you looking for when assembling your founding team, and what advice do you have for others in this regard?
I ask the weirdest questions during interviews, so they said.I once interviewed a technical writer and the only question I asked is this: Bearing in mind that you have a deadline to beat, what will you do if you were on your way back from lunch break and as a matter of urgency, you were required to perform a CPR on someone by the roadside, what would you do first?My advice: People learn on the job. A solid team has more to do with the personality of the individual rather than their skill.
Looking ahead, what's the long-term vision for the company? How do you plan to continue innovating and making an impact in your industry?
The Kryptonig vision is to become the go-to enterprise when it comes to community based crowdfunding. Our innovation lies on how much problems we can solve for creators while on that journey and these problems are beyond finance — we will establish a fine line between creators and community building.
What motivates you to be an entrepreneur?
Socio-economic imbalance and the need to change the status quo using emerging technologies.
What is the most important skill for an entrepreneur to have?
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own business?
Building a company is like rasing a child. Someday you are going to wake up in the middle of the night while the child is crying and you might get frustrated and your head would provide every reason why you ought to make the child quiet. At those times, the only thing you need is to wake up the next morning and the child will be quiet even though that is not a guarantee that the child may never cry again.
How has entrepreneurship impacted your life?
Being an entrepreneur made me realize that there would always be challenges with every new step you take. It taught me that resilience in the face of uncertainty is all you need to thrive. Just as wealth sustainability is more important than wealth acquisition, entrepreneurship is easy to begin but the sea is red and muddy, filled with thorns, sharks and the bones of those who fell out the boat.The most important lesson I learnt is to stay the course and always look at the world with a macro lens.
How do you maintain a balance between work and personal life?
Honestly, I feel that my life is my work. All my friends are entrepreneurs and our conversations are 90% about our journey and the way forward.
What hobbies or activities do you enjoy outside of running your business?
Chess. Video games. Traveling.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us about entrepreneurship?
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