The African diaspora is spread all over the six continents and is blessed with some of the greatest minds who have been making waves across the world. From entrepreneurs running multimillion-dollar companies to scientists and GM of some of the most popular basketball clubs in the NBA, here are some inspiring citizens of the African Diaspora you should know about.
Bertin Nahum, a native of the country of Benin, is a Beninese-French entrepreneur born on November 14, 1969, in Dakar, Senegal. Nahum is one of the founders and CEO of Montpellier-based Quantum Surgical. He founded the company initially in 2002 and is specialized in designing, developing, and marketing surgical assistance robots. In 2016, Quantum Surgical was sold to Zimmer Biomet.
Bertin Nahum attended his studies in France at the National Institute of Applied Sciences, based in Lyon, where he obtained a degree in Engineering. He also studied Masters in Robotics at UK’s Coventry University. Nahum amassed valuable experience in medical engineering after he collaborated with notable surgeons. With this experience, Nahum decided to start creating medical technology devices to improve surgical interventions. In 2002, he began Medtech S.A. after winning the national innovative start-up companies contest held by the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research.
Bertin Nahum’s first company was Medtech S.A., which he launched in Montpellier in 2002. The company developed minimally-invasive surgical equipment. The company’s first robot was named BRIGIT and was designed to assist physicians in the minimally-invasive placement of knee prostheses. In 2006, Medtech sold its entire patent portfolio for BRIGIT to Zimmer In., an orthopedic surgery company. The proceeds were reinvested in a new research program that led to the company discovering ROSA robot, which has been used with patients suffering from a wide range of diseases, including hydrocephalus, Parkinson’s, and drug-resistant types of epilepsy.
In 2013, Medtech went public and was fully acquired by Zimmer Biomet Group in 2016. Bertin Nahum remained in charge of the company until January 2017 when he, alongside three other former associates, founded a new company called Quantum Surgical. The company was also based in Montpellier and, just like his previous company, it dabbles in the field of minimally-invasive surgical robotics, but now focusing on the treatment of cancer. In 2018, Quantum Surgical managed to raise $10 million in a Series A funding round led by Ally Bridge Group. With Bertin Nahum, it was always venturing into the field he knows very well and created a solution to one of the biggest problems in the field of health. In 2012, Nahum was listed among the top 10 revolutionary High-Tech Entrepreneurs by Discovery Series magazine based in Canada. He was ranked fourth behind behemoths, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and James Cameron. Piece of advice from Nahum; always be optimistic and positive.
Silas Adekunle is 29 years old. He developed the world’s first-ever intelligent gaming robot, which got him a partnership with Apple and Amazon. Adekunle was born in Nigeria and migrated to the United Kingdom when he was just 11 years old. Since his childhood, he has been extremely obsessed with science and new technology, which made him play a lot with Lego robots and watching videos to try and learn how to build robots. Adekunle graduated with a first-class degree in Robotics from the University of the West of England.
His company, Reach Robotics, is an augmented reality gaming company that focuses on developing intelligent robots for gaming, as well as for STEM education. His partnership with Apple is a distribution deal that enables him to sell his products in Britain and the United States. He featured in the Financial Times list of the ‘Top 100 minority ethnic leaders in technology’ 2018 edition. After raising about $7.8 million in funding, Reach Robotics launched MekaMon gaming robots in 2016, which combined Augmented Reality (AR) with a four-legged toy robot. The company also launched MekaMon 2.0 in December 2018.
Most of you use Instagram and Snapchat daily as well as Instagram, but I bet a few of you have heard about Iddris Sandu, the brain behind the technology running these tech giants.
Iddris Sandu is 22 years old from Ghana and started learning to program when he was just ten years old, on his own. He was later discovered by a designer from Google, who offered him the prestigious internship at the company’s headquarters. When he was 13, he started working on various programs, including Google Plus, Google blogger, and many more. He also developed a mobile application for his high school that helped students navigate their classrooms. At 16, Iddris developed mobile software that even caught the attention of the then United States President Barrack Obama, and was invited to the White House where he was given an honorary presidential award. Iddris Sandu is living in Los Angeles and has accomplished virtually everything, including creating an algorithm behind Uber, Snapchat, and Instagram. He thinks of himself as a “cultural architect” who aims “to level the playing field” between young minorities and the Silicon Valley.
Iddris Sandu was attracted to technology when he saw the first version of the iPhone. He was quoted saying, “I got super excited. I thought the device was going to change the world. The reason why the iPhone was so important was that it was the first time regular consumers could develop for other regular consumers. Before, you had to work at a tech company for multiple years to be able to offer any sort of input or create an app. But Apple made it to the mainstream. I knew the future.”With his huge drive to make a change among the African youths, this tech genius has already made considerable strides to becoming an inspiration to the next generation of influencers, as well as entrepreneurs.
Ime Archibong is Nigerian born and the Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at the social media giant, Facebook. His roles include directing activities at the company while leading the team on fast-tracking product strategies by establishing partnerships, unraveling new business opportunities with leading firms across various sectors, and driving product integrations. Archibong has been seen with CEO Mark Zuckerberg on many occasions that he is sometimes referred to as his deputy, and has contributed significantly to transforming the company into something beyond just a social media platform. He is one of the most trusted people at Facebook, and you will see him with the company's top brass at every function and trip.
Archibong is the key to Facebook’s 10-year vision: Connecting billions of more people around the world to the internet, and to Facebook. The vision entails the company investing in all kinds of new hardware, including drones and antennas, and work with partners all around the world to facilitate the internet connection and into the Facebook community.
At Facebook, Archibong ensures that internet access is affordable as well as raising awareness on the benefits of being online and not just on Facebook alone.
Before joining Facebook, Archibong was an Advanced Technology Business Development Professional at another tech giant IBM, where he focused on licensing the company’s storage research portfolio. It was at IBM that Archibong started his software engineering career, and was stationed at Systems and Technology Group, before being moved to the corporate strategy team and business development team.
Archibong holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Yale University, as well as an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He is also one of the 40 Under 40 Tech Diversity launched in 2015 in Silicon. The individuals in this group are considered to have heightened the focus in the tech industry to embrace diversity.