Tell us about yourself?
Ando (Andrew) Eniwumide. Software Developer and Principal Tech Consultant turned award-winning Techie-preneur inventor.
With 13+ years industry experience, Ando has managed and driven technical delivery in some of UK’s leading engineering firms including BAE Systems and partners such as Vodafone, EE, O2, Sky, Allen & Overy, TFL, National Rail and various other national security and government bodies.
As an avid rubix cube solver and board gamer, Ando is passionate about strategy and problem solving while holding a BSc in Maths and Computer Science.
Ando is recognised for speaking on some of the most prominent tech platforms in the world with his iconic ‘rap’ style pitch delivery, a throw back to his creative teen years.
What lessons has being an entrepreneur taught you?
Being an entrepreneur and being on this journey has taught me about being resourceful with the things and connections you have readily available.
Being reliant on anything that can come and lastly being an entrepreneur has taught me how to handle things with a human touch.
Being an entrepreneur commonly calls for you to make difficult choices no one else wants to make forcing most entrepreneurs to take a robotic-like approach however, this is when entrepreneurs should take a more human-like approach
If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
Leading on from the previous question, I would first and foremost advise being more human. An additional piece of advice is to know, understand and revolve your company around your why.
Lastly, involve your wife with everything – it just makes things easier. I’d also say expect a lot of rejection. Expect people to not understand what you’re doing, not everyone will get it and that is okay.
A lot of entrepreneurs find it difficult to balance their work and personal lives. How have you found that?
There is no balance. Honestly speaking, most like to imagine there’s an easy way to balance working and personal life but relativity is very different.
The life of an entrepreneur is much like an athlete, there is no balance just the pursuit of a goal.
The best way to achieve what some may perceive as “balance” is to have a family that not only understands the life you’re in but also can contribute to it.
Something I’m blessed to say I have in the form of a wife that’s as enthusiastic about entrepreneurship as I am. Additionally, having kids that are already tech-savvy from an early age helps.
Honestly speaking, I’m still in debt in terms of spending time with my family and it’s still something I’m still trying to work out.
Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?
The influence being Happaning is simple, to disrupt video. Making it more collaborative, immersive and authentic.
We feel a more collaborative and human approach to video is what the media landscape needs. For instance how many times have you seen fake news stories circle the internet?
Mainly because the story is only being told from one perspective – only one person is telling the story however, with Happaning multiple people can tell the same story allowing the user to gain a fuller picture about what’s Happaning.
What do you think is your magic sauce? What sets you apart from the competitors?
This one is interesting because first and foremost I’m a technologist. I’m a problem solver before anything.
However, through this process, I’ve realised my previous life as a rapper has meant I’m pretty comfortable getting up on stage and pitching.
And it’s no surprise that’s where we as a company have massively shone.
I’m able to take something people normally overlook into somewhat of a performance allowing me to deliver and frame Happaning in a way that connects, but also have fun while doing it.
So on one end, we have this industry-breaking patented technology but also a great way of packaging, delivering and selling this amazing technology.
How have you found sales so far? Do you have any lessons you could pass on to other founders in the same market as you just starting out?
I’ve been selling since I was very young so selling is honestly like second nature to me. I enjoy the rush of it. In terms of lessons I could pass on to other founders in the same market, that would be, don’t be afraid to ask.
It’s common to want to do it alone but no one that got anywhere far did it alone, you’re going to need people so don’t be afraid to ask for anything.
Additionally, I would say expect and accept rejection. If you have to go through 100 no’s before you get your yes, aim to ask 200 times.
It’s just on to the next, on to the next then on to the next.
There are going to be a lot of no’s and understanding and getting to grips with that is what will make it manageable.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far in your business, and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge would come in the form of relying on talent, unproven in what I needed done.
When you’re just starting out people often say outsource what you can but when you’re doing something new and branching into a new space you don’t always have that luxury.
So I made the mistake of hiring a reputable development house to handle most of our tech.
It just failed. They didn’t get what we were trying to do and they weren’t able to recreate what I was able to do in my bedroom.
Eventually, I ended up building my own internal delivery unit which is just a bunch of great guys allowing me to manage the risk a little closer.
This means the delivery is closer to the vision, the quality is vastly better and the delivery speed is much quicker as well.
So I would say how to overcome it is just by trusting in ourselves and our ability to deliver. And now I would say we’re a self-respecting technology company with our own IP and we did that.
We did that instead of relying on others. I’m not saying we never rely on others for stuff that sits outside our core USP but I’ve learned when it comes to our core USP, that work needs to stay in-house.
What do you find are the advantages of operating your business in London?
London is where it happens. Everything I know I love is in London. From a personal level to being able to manoeuvre and network here, nothing compares to London because I was born and raised here.
And on the same level, this is where to be in terms of time zones, the event scene, technology, and entertainment, this is literally the best place in the world to be.
As far as I’m concerned London is the capital of the earth.
Are there any issues with having a London based business? Have you experienced these?
No, not really, as I mentioned everything is at your fingertips here. There is no community or interest group that isn’t represented here in London.
You have access to so many parts of the world and so many different cultures.
How has the higher than UK average cost of living impacted your ability to work and live in London and how has this also impacted your ability as an employer?
In short, it hasn’t really. We’re very conscious that a lot of people work for us and they may be going through some things and we’re kind of just waiting for that bit to bite.
We’re almost bracing ourselves for what it’ll all mean for payroll and what it means for staying competitive in the market.
But we’re taking the human approach to this and remaining sensitive to the fact it’s going to be tight for a lot of people.
If you had to relocate your business to another city in the UK, which one would it be and why?
If I’m honest it’s not happening. But if I really had to, I would say I’m kind of envious of the tech culture they’ve got in Manchester.
I’ve got some friends up there doing some really impressive things so if I had to relocate, it would have to be to Manchester.
How has BREXIT impacted your business (if at all)?
Oh, massively, when it comes to our IP, our IP strategy in terms of patents and trademarks, but also legislation in terms of, privacy laws and, user-generated content and laws around mechanical rights etc. it’s been a costly operation, to say the least.
What is your vision for your company in the next 5 years?
To disrupt the media landscape. To make it more collaborative, immersive and authentic. That’s what we’re here for and what we will achieve.
And finally, if people want to get involved and learn more about your business, how should they do that?
On our website (www.happaning.com) but also on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/company/happaning/) , there’s always a stream of new information on LinkedIn, which is also where we post our quarterly updates.