A coffee with… Andrew Eniwumide, founder, Happaning
A principal technologist at BAE systems, Andrew ‘Ando’ Eniwumide left his well-paid job in 2019 to found the start up Happaning. The firm produces a multi-vantage video technology, ViiVid, described as ‘Google Streetview for events’ which allows viewers to navigate between vantage points in real-time or after the event, as if they were there.
Happaning also has the ability to detect post-production edits and verify the time and place that a video was taken, and the tech may also have applications in the field of content verification and deepfake detection.
TI caught up with the entrepreneur at Connected Britain this year, where he was on a panel talking funding opportunities for start ups.
What was the ‘lightbulb moment’ behind Happaning?
I was at a concert watching one of my favourite bassists play for one of my favourite artists D’Angelo (a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine). I couldn’t see much and, as a bassist, I wanted to get a close-up look. I thought, I’d love to see what that guy at the front is filming… imagine if I could whip out my phone, swipe in his direction and jump into his camera to see.
That’s when the lightbulb moment hit me. Happaning was initially designed to solve people’s anxiety when going to events.
You might want to see what a venue looks like and check the atmosphere before you visit. Is it too crowded? Am I going to like the music? What’s everyone wearing? You can send in a request and our users start recording and then you’re able to move between different perspectives like you’re actually there.
Deepfakes are such an issue right now, how can Happaning help?
ViiVid is collaborative, immersive and it’s also authentic because it can detect deepfakes. Instead of relying on one perspective you can rely on multiple perspectives and ViiVid can detect if the content has been edited – we’re not saying things can’t be edited, we just feel the user should know if it has been.
How are you funded?
We’ve had help from family and friends, start-up loans with Virgin – £25k to get it off the ground, and we’ve also raised money from angel investors, VCs and grant funding. We’ve shaken every tree that moves.
Investors don’t want to invest in people that need investment. The focus should be, ‘how do I build a sustainable business?’ If you can show you can make money and deliver value, investment will come.
What motivates you?
When I was an intern at one of my first jobs the founder was a black man from London (British/ Nigerian luxury designer Alexander Amosu), and he won an award for young entrepreneur of the year. That was the moment I realised that people that look like me and come from where I come from can compete at a high level – for context, I grew up as an orphan in a south-London council estate.
Twenty years later I was nominated for that same award.
I thought there’s somebody who’s not needed permission to do something amazing. He’s not playing at the level of your Musks or Bezos, but if his success could drive me to do something amazing, imagine the impact somebody could have that looks like me and plays at that level. It would have a galvanizing influence on young people and that’s what wakes me up in the morning.
What’s your biggest achievement to date?
My biggest success is making my nine-year-old son proud. One day at school his class had to explain what their parents do for a living, so I put together a short video for him. Unbeknown to me it was played to the whole school and his reaction made me so proud.
I’ve learned that you need to surround yourself with the right people who will best influence you. It’s about protecting that positive energy but also being around people who are going to tell you the truth, even if it may be tough at times.
If you had to choose, are you Team Musk or Team Bezos?
It’s got to be Musk. He’s a very questionable character and I wouldn’t want to be anything like him, but I admire his ability to disrupt the status quo. He’s done some amazing things that nobody else would’ve done because of his character, his tenacity.
Besides caffeine, how do you recharge your batteries during the working day?
I spend time in prayer and meditation. I also workout five times a week, not because I want to look good but because the person I want to be works out.
Click here to read TI’s A coffee with Deb Smith, VP marketing, Jitterbit
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