Guzo Tech - Pioneering to Revolutionize
A software development, media, and advertisement service company that focuses on Extended Reality (XR), Robotics, and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Emerging Technologies. It is a term that has quickly become the buzzword of the twenty-first century. Innovations such as Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, and Robotics fall under the umbrella term "Emerging Technologies." In Ethiopia, a course titled "Emerging Technologies" was integrated into the country's higher education system in 2019, introducing the term to the general public. However, most people were still unfamiliar with the concept. But there was one startup that was already making headway. Loline mag invited Daniel Getachew, founder and CEO of Guzo Technologies, to a live Clubhouse discussion of their startup.
How it started
Guzo Tech is a software development, media, and advertisement service company that focuses on Extended Reality (XR), Robotics, and the Internet of Things (IoT). Daniel recalls working on his first VR projects while still in college, developing his passion for emerging technologies. He then founded a company after completing his undergraduate degree. It didn't last long. Not long after that, he enrolled in a master's degree program in software engineering. He says he was unprepared for the business world and was overconfident in his abilities at that time. Daniel joined Gebeya, a marketplace that works on connecting clients with African IT talent, after completing his master's degree. He credits his time in Gebeya for the opportunity to work with international clients and gain an understanding of the business world.
Daniel founded Guzo Tech in July of 2019 with the help of like-minded friends. Guzo Tech got its name from its most notable product, GuzoMap, which translates into a travel map. GuzoMap is a platform that allows users to visit Ethiopia's ever-so-many heritage sites virtually. Sites like Bakaffa’s palace and Adwa can be visited through Guzo Map. According to Daniel, the word Guzo, which means travel, represents the never-ending journey of technological development.
The mission of Guzo Tech
“Guzo technologies, in short, is a company that works with a focus on innovation,” Daniel says. Their primary goal is to bring solutions derived from emerging technologies to solve problems in Ethiopia. Through this, Guzo Tech aims to create skilled manpower. Daniel says that they plan to build a community around their company by preparing training and facilitating events, “A platform without a community is deemed to fail,” he adds.
Secondly, Guzo Tech intends to establish itself as an African brand with a trusted reputation in emerging technologies. They plan to become a powerful entity capable of transforming Ethiopia's technological environment. Furthermore, they aspire to instill a sense of "Ethiopian Pride" in Ethiopia's technology sector. They aim to empower young people by demonstrating success in a challenging environment.
As a company that introduced a novel concept to its environment, Guzo Tech’s challenges were numerous. Even naming the company had posed trouble, as Guzo Tech was initially rejected by authorities. Daniel adds that people are more likely to doubt than recognize potential. Another aspect of their problem was a lack of awareness about emerging technologies. There is a misunderstanding of emerging technologies, even among those who claim to understand the concepts. This has limited the opportunities for collaboration because most people are unaware and often regard such endeavors as a luxury. Even though Daniel believes there are problems with government bodies, he says that they shouldn’t expect everything from the government, which is why they try to solve their problems on their own.
Epic Games Steps In
Six months into starting, the COVID pandemic broke out. Due to the nationwide lockdown, Guzo Tech was out of work for about eight months. Along with the financial consequences, the lockdown has caused them to fall behind on their plans.
While exploring solutions, Daniel had the chance to connect with different people. The connections he built have helped him a lot, Daniel says. He was later recommended to a program called Mega Grant. Epic Games facilitated the program, a video game and software development giant based in the US. The application process took about six months. Winning the grant was very exciting, Daniel says. As the company was going through challenges, the grant couldn’t have come at a better time. This helped recharge their motivation.
Current Staff and the Five Year Plan
During their trip to France representing Ethiopia as a delegation, Daniel observed that many Africans were working in the technology sector. Many European companies want to outsource their work to a reliable team. Daniel believes this to be a tremendous opportunity for Ethiopia. By creating a skilled workforce and building the trust of these companies, countless job opportunities can come to Ethiopia. Currently, Guzo Tech has a staff numbered about eleven. Apart from this, they outsource their work and collaborate with local and foreign professionals. Guzo tech plans to create as much skilled manpower to attract foreign outsourcing opportunities. By next year, Daniel confidently claims they will be able to train lots of individuals.
Advice for Other Startups
Daniel recognizes the lack of role models for people interested in technological endeavors. However, things are changing. People can look for role models and inspirations outside of their own country. Guzo Map also takes pride in being a pioneer in emerging technologies and a source of inspiration for anyone interested in joining the industry.
Daniel advises startuppers to develop an interest in what they are doing. As technology advances at a staggering rate, they should hone their skills to catch up to the level of technological advancement the world has reached. Daniel says that we must be able to create our own tech brands instead of just consuming foreign ones.
Pioneering is difficult. When there is no set path to follow, pioneers are the risk-takers and open doors for others. Guzo tech is a pioneer in emerging technologies. Ethiopia relies on such companies to catch up with the rest of the world. Through their innovations, training, and mere inspiration they provide, Guzo Tech is set to revolutionize technology in Ethiopia.