i3 - January/February 2018 - 32

Policy

By Sara Garvin

FAC E S O F I N N OVAT I O N

Adetayo Adesanya,
Founder and CEO, Agbara Life

 A 

s a tech category, wearables are
continually innovating. But Agbara
Life based in Oakland, CA, is taking
a new approach by creating fashionable
wearables designed for young, working professionals on the go, while also giving back to
local communities. "The passion behind Agbara
Life was in designing apparel of all sorts to use
technology as an increased utility for the consumer," said Adetayo Adesanya, CEO of Agbara
Life, who recently spoke with i3.
Q

What inspired you to create
wearable tech fashion?
A The inspiration comes
from my family. I'm a son of
two Nigerian immigrants who
came here when they were
very young. I grew up around
a large, extended family who
cared about fashion and
expressing ourselves. I knew
I wanted to be an entrepreneur, to create something
I would want to wear that's
affordable and I could be
proud of. My vision for Agbara
Life is to marry the things
I'm most passionate about:
fashion, technology and
social good. We are a wearable tech company built
around a benefits corporation. This all stemmed from
the community service work
I've been doing focusing on
the underprivileged,
underrepresented, urban
communities I identify with.

Q

Could you talk about
your products?
A The idea behind Agbara
Life is to use technology to
enhance the lifestyle, not
to be the focal point or the
gimmick. Our products are
32

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018

tailored for a group of people
always on the move - parents
included. Users on the go
can carry all their electronics
in a luxe matte black bag
that's TSA checkpoint friendly.
We're also working on jackets
with charging capability in
between the pockets, so you
can charge from one compartment to the other.

Q

What challenges have you
faced starting Agbara Life?
A I'm a young professional
who's been trying to do my
own thing for quite some
time and I'm still not there.
Time management is a huge
challenge for any entrepreneur with all the late nights
and early mornings trying
to deal with manufacturing
companies, launching the
website, marketing plans and
even creating the business
plan. Questions arise: Who are
we going to sell to? How are
we going to sell this to them?
Ninety percent of startups fail
because of improperly managed cash flow. I poured my
own investments into the company, but access to capital is
still a huge challenge as well.

More than just a backpack,
Agbara provides the highest
utility with social impact.

The idea
behind Agbara
Life is to use
technology to
enhance the
lifestyle, not to
be the focal
point or the
gimmick.
Q How can the tech industry

encourage diversity?
A There are a lot of things tech
companies can do. They just
have to want to do them. If you
think about it, not a lot of tech
companies have metrics for
their senior management and
leadership to actively try and
bring in diverse people. Until

these companies start holding themselves accountable
in encouraging diversity, it's
going to be difficult for us
to bridge the gender and race
gap within the tech industry.
What I challenge my community
to do is to build their own
[businesses]. If I'm able to
achieve my goals with what I'm
doing, others will start to see
that as an opportunity for them
to do the same kind of thing.

Q What's next for Agbara Life?
A We're still in growth mode,

looking for solutions to
a problem we've been seeing
for a long time. We'd like to
provide scholarships for young
adults to come with us and
experience the journey. We're
a startup, so right now we're all
over the place. But Agbara Life
is still growing and I have so
much more to do and create.

I T I S I N N O VAT I O N



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i3 - January/February 2018

Contents
i3 - January/February 2018 - Cover1
i3 - January/February 2018 - Cover2
i3 - January/February 2018 - Contents
i3 - January/February 2018 - 2
i3 - January/February 2018 - 3
i3 - January/February 2018 - 4
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i3 - January/February 2018 - Cover3
i3 - January/February 2018 - Cover4
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http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/manifest/i3_20170506
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