“Out hustle the competition”, these are among the words that Michael Bloomberg once said while giving his top 7 tips to young entrepreneurs at the university of North Carolina and Co- founders Shameer and Tabi seem to be applying that to their daily lives. Entrepreneurship has never been easy, but it is not rocket science if you have ambition like Shameer and Tabi to make Africa a global economic power. As Roy Ash once said, “An entrepreneur tends to bite off a little more than he can chew hoping he’ll quickly learn how to chew it”, not unlike the most famous search engine which started in a garage and not to forget the software giant “Microsoft” which was founded by young school dropout “Bill Gates”, AVR Plato started at the MIT GSL (Massachusetts Institute of Technology Global Starts Up Labs) which took place at the Mauritius telecom campus in EBENE.
Back In 2017, we were not yet known as AVR Plato Technology, we started as AVR Tech. The company name was inspired by technology and Greek philosopher “Plato”, AVR stands for augmented and virtual reality and the team wanted to show that knowledge should evolve as Plato mentioned in its application in different eras.
The MIT GSL is a program that brings young people with an entrepreneurial spirit around the transformation of their idea into a start-up, all focused on the theme of new technologies with the aim for participants to acquire the entrepreneurial reflexes that will serve them far beyond this training. Through this 8-week program, we attended guest lectures, networking events, we were surrounded by like-minded peers and we attended a pitching session which was an opportunity to draw investors’ attention to our project. The coaching, mentorship and expertise that we obtained from top notch MIT resources have made the entire experience challenging.
The two co-founders of AVR Plato Technology were complete strangers, having met only once during the competition “Present around the world” by the Institution of Engineering & Technology. Tabi being Nigerian and Shameer being Mauritian, they both came from different cultural backgrounds and countries. They were working on different projects. Tabi was there with a project of developing a platform to connect handymen to the general public and Shameer was there with his project of smart parking- a project which had already led him to win the merit prize in the technopreneurship competition hosted by the National Computer Board. At that time they were unaware that they would be the two sides of a single coin in the future, “It all comes down to the values we share and work principle" says Shameer, "A business co-founder is just like a life partner. One needs to have an understanding for it to work and never settle for less. Know your value and find people who share the same with you. As co-founder, the core value we share is the desire to make Africa a global economic power. The aim is to make Africa a brain gain rather that a brain drain continent.”.
“The team, the team, the team”- BO Schembechler. It was beyond both co-founders’ imagination that they would merge together. “Being very interested with technology, science and innovation, we click together to move from where we are now”, says Shameer. And from this moment on, AVR Plato simply mushroomed. At the MIT GSL Demo day, we presented our first project called MED AR, an educational app intended for medical students.
“Our mission and core values drive our culture and are the foundation of our practice. We measure each decision against these standards.”-Chris Hanslik. And it was no surprise that this would lead the two co-founders to participate in the Demo day and end the journey by winning the "Most Innovative Technology Award"
Opposite values are unfortunately not always complementary to each other and those who strive for excellence always find meaning in what they intend to do perhaps even because of their willingness to sacrifice. The whole team at MIT GSL did not stick together and when some of the teammates decided to set on their own journey each with their own strategy, the two co- founders who remained have embraced this decision and let it guide them.
In 2017, we took part in the Inspire program at Turbine incubator and by 2018 we incorporated the company under the name AVR Plato Technology. Roy Ash’s saying is a reminder that we must be confident in our abilities and intelligence in order to overcome obstacles on our way to success. And as Tabi always reminds us: “The journey is uncertain but when you have the will and a team with value, then the sky is not the limit but only the beginning”.
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