“The truth is that if TECHTEE was to truly be successful, we couldn’t be everything for everyone”
In our latest interview, we chatted with Tobi Ajala, the Founder and CEO of TECHTEE. Tobi told us about her predictions for the world of tech in the years ahead, her inspiration behind the business, and more.
Can you tell us a bit about your background before TECHTEE. Had you always aspired to be an entrepreneur?
I grew up as an artist. I always loved design and loved to create. It was drawing that led me to creating my own inventions, and out of frustration, that later led me to software development. I actually grew up never wanting to own a business. I generally understood entrepreneurship growing up but from those that I knew, I could never really understand what they did so I specifically didn’t want that.
I went on to work as a software developer for the BBC and Apple, and after doing well, a couple of promotions and some more, I started a business without realizing it. It was at that point I realized I could create the optimal business structure that suited all the amazing things I liked about technology whilst still creating a positive impact.
What was the inspiration behind your company?
Truthfully, the inspiration behind TECHTEE is about creating the best and coolest thing we can and make everything possible because it is. And more times than not, the most interesting things are those that are pushing the boundaries of innovation which is the core of what we do. In everything we do we aim to surprise ourselves as well as our partners and their target audiences. That’s the driving force behind TECHTEE.
As I began building the team, my sole aim was to find people who get a kick out of really beautiful and well-built solutions and systems. There really is nothing like it because a lot of time, when software works, users generally don’t bat an eyelid. However, when people experience bad software systems, we tend to find that’s when they appreciate and can identify what a good piece of software feels like whether they understand the intricacies of software development or not.
You’ve been listed in the Forbes 30 under 30 and as a rising star in J.P. Morgan’s 2023 power list. Has such recognition proved beneficial for you and your business?
Funnily enough, both of these awards were surprises to me. However, they’re awards for Tobi Ajala and not TECHTEE as an entity. And TECHTEE is a combination of a number of people, all of who deserve their own individual awards for the amazing work they do.
What I can say is that, as the person also responsible for business development at TECHTEE, awards have acted as a validation but also a facilitator for starting a conversation with the companies and brands that partner with TECHTEE. Especially with Forbes. The events and the peer network have allowed me to build amazing friendships and working relationships that I otherwise wouldn’t have if I wasn’t on the list and I will cherish these connections for a very long time to come.
Can you tell us more about your work making NFTs transcend the status of asset and possession into a means for activism, social inclusion and public service?
NFTs are one of my favorite topics to discuss because the perceived usability varies greatly from person to person and between different industries.
The most value I see for NFTs is based around their power to immediately create social inclusion and ownership. Earlier this year we partnered with Lobus to launch a series of rare images of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. facilitated by his estate and The Obsidian Collection. It was special to see how people reacted and saw the true beauty in the art of photography, then the technology requirements kicked in and people were learning about the blockchain and crypto vs fiat value of each NFT.
At the end of the day, what it did was provide highly valuable cultural assets to the winners of the NFTs outside the realm of an institutional organization that generated not only a currency exchange but a knowledge exchange around activism. We’ve already begun to see other organizations follow this model and I’m glad it’s been understood. We’re diving deeper into this space over the next few months and we’ll be able to show how true activism can be achieved through decentralized assets.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your entrepreneurial career?
The biggest challenge was definitely establishing an identity and sticking to it regardless of the critics. Technology influences almost everything, and having such a multi-talented team, as a company that builds technology, we are able to touch on a plethora of industries and niches. But as you can imagine that will pull the brand into a substantial amount of direction which isn’t efficient.
The truth is that if TECHTEE was to truly be successful, we couldn’t be everything for everyone. Therefore, having to establish that this is the kind of business that we are and standing firm in it and everything that comes with that was harder than I expected and definitely one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced.
What trends are you currently seeing in the worlds of Web3, the metaverse and blockchain?
I dare say the NFT bubble that completely overshadowed Web3 news in 2021 and a lot of 2022 has burst and we’re starting to see a more level playing feel when it comes to NFTs that matter. I believe we’re going to see a rise in these NFTs that have real purpose beyond resale value and intention towards public service and social inclusion projects.
I also believe digital experiences that fall within the public category of a ‘metaverse‘ will continue to rise within the fashion industry especially. That’s a big trend that’s not going anywhere any time soon. Most importantly, AI systems. The rise of ChatGPT and LenseAI over the last few weeks is not coincidental and showcases clear avenues to market and mass adoption that we’ll see more and more of as time goes on.
What are your predictions for the world of tech in the years ahead?
Web3 implementations within e-commerce are the biggest prediction I have for the future of tech. I can’t say what we’re working on at the moment in this space for obvious reasons, but it’s a huge industry that I believe the world will adopt.
I see gamification of processes across almost every industry becoming commonplace also. From finance to architecture, to oil & gas, the popular understanding of the metaverse as a virtual space that a user can create an avatar in and participate in a gamified manner will be everywhere. I see this as becoming a method of streamlining processes and providing improved experiences from remote locations.
And to accompany this, I foresee a rise in hardware specific to facilitation and enhancing Web3. AR/VR headsets and other hardware devices to facilitate real-life technology adaptations. In addition, what’s happening in hardware crypto wallets is really interesting and right now I think Ledger leads this space but I expect to see competitors right around the corner. I can talk about this all day if I’m being honest so for now, I’ll leave it to those predictions.
What are TECHTEE’s future plans?
We have many plans. The headline goal for TECHTEE is to continue creating early adoption technology that pushes the boundaries of how the average person uses technology today and in the future. Part of this involves education, and the best way to educate is to create and execute. So, we will continue to create the best software-based solutions that we can, to set an example of how things should be done.
Lastly, we plan to be more visible in the future. TECHTEE has operated as an underdog for a long time, creating world-leading tech experiences that people, unfortunately, don’t know about. We want to change that. We want as many people as possible to experience what we create and that involves people knowing what we do.