Access to Innovation: Founders and the Blockchain with Samuel Ekpe

Can you empower people to come together to build the next big thing?

As for Samuel Ekpe, he immigrated from Lagos to the U.S. with one thing in mind – in order for him to create the kind of future he wants, he just needed the best people, to be in the right place, and a place that empowered him with the tools to build that platform.

As a result, Samuel, along with his co-founder, built Grupa, a startup accelerator that offers new opportunities for entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds. They aim to level the playing field by paying founders with equity, empowering them to create innovative solutions.

How Grupa is Creating an Entire Ecosystem 

  • Grupa strives to get startups to work with the best talents and the best products built on Grupa – making it an entire ecosystem rather than a marketplace.
  • At Grupa, you can hire expert developers and pay them with equity.
  • By creating this level playing field for entrepreneurs of all backgrounds, Grupa hopes to empower people to create new solutions that are innovative and beneficial for society as a whole.

The Importance of Looking Technology Shifts and Changes

  • When it comes to innovation, you don’t have to be too attached to technology.
  • Technology only creates the platform. The real winners who consume most value in the platform are those companies that can affect real world use cases, solving soft problems.
  • So if you think about when the iPhone released an accelerometer for GPS tracking, the biggest winner is actually Uber that grew to become a $5 billion company, just from that accelerometer.
  • Seeing the platform, we’ve got to see who’s going to build on these to capitalize on things like mobility, blockchain, payments, and housing (ex. Airbnb).

For Samuel, getting a visa from Lagos is not an easy task. In general, getting your visa and green card is like this whole chicken and egg thing with money and company, funding and investors, and proving your legitimacy to the U.S. government. It’s a long road, but if you really want to do it, then you’ve got to start now.

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