This month we zoomed in on UBER East Africa’s zealous and vibrant General Manager Loic Amado, the globe trotter who has a visionary belief for the continent. He is inspiring every emerging market in Africa with his entrepreneurial spirit creating new horizons for disruptive technology in the silicon savannah and beyond. A man of league pushing the envelope of business sovereignty, Loic has an impressive history, in fact we felt under qualified to interview him. Thanks to the kind-heart tsar, the man with soul gives every little being there day to learn from the wise. A maverick with hope to change the world, we do not think he is far from it, because his robust business ethics and entrepreneurial conscience can build deserts into cities and a village into a conurbation of technological revolutions. Keep your listening keys tuned in and grasp onto the insights we caught from this UBER maestro about the world’s most valuable resource.
To be the don of global dominion it’s not about rigging oil but it’s keen to know that the economy is all about data mammoths, and UBER is making a center stage in the forefront of technology companies with an agenda to transform consumer lives. The Belgian and Swiss descendant has spent three years setting up businesses from scratch in Germany, Casablanca, Egypt, Croatia and Pakistan. With a stealth foundation in economics and finance, Loic did not hesitate to think out of the box, he surfed along with his passions and travelled the extra mile to complete an exchange master’s program in Hong Kong where he developed a passion for several languages from Mandarin, Flemish, Spanish, Dutch, French or our good old English.
For starters Loic, tell us why UBER? “Well UBER hmmm… long story short. After completing my masters in Hong Kong I ventured in working in a travel startup and the hotel business. I also got some technology exposure and taught myself to code python and java. After which I got to work with a startup incubator based in Kuala Lumpur. A year later I met an international launcher of UBER who suggested I should work for them. I was always an UBER fan; it kept me in touch with the local community. Three weeks after ten rounds of successful interviews, they called me on a Friday and asked me to start on Monday! Right away! It was perfect timing. What I have learned from working at UBER is do not be afraid to trust your instincts and take that leap of faith. Risk it all. I have taken risks and challenges in different environments and launching different markets in different countries with different regulatory frames. It’s been a journey with UBER but above all! Uber alles”
There must have been several challenges you have overcome as GM, tell us Loic what has been your most proud moment in history with UBER? “Well, there was this time when I was working in Athens, Greece and the taxi association in the city went on upheaval. I was literally chased and had to flee my hotel room from a service elevator. UBER went out on all to keep me safe and secure. They incentivized the hotel to sneak me out, onto a helicopter landing from where I was rescued. I must say that overcoming these challenges with UBER has made me even more passionate about leaving an impact with and for UBER.”
What is your relationship with Kenya? “More and more I see myself really love Kenya. The environment and people are really friendly. I am passionate about leaving an impact here and connecting Kenya to a world of change in technology. It’s a passionate place and I love the impact we are making here. Smartphone technology is well adopted in Kenya, and this is the silicon savannah. UBER has a long-term relationship with developing new mechanisms of opportunity for our drivers and their families. Building a strong relationship from ground up we are now providing training programs in financial literacy to uplift the financial independence of our driver partners. I am definitely here to stay and support this environment of UBER empowerment across Kenya.”
Loic, what should we prioritize as entrepreneurs? “Two things, passion and believe in what you do. Even if you have never done what you are doing before it is crucial to prioritize a little risk taking. You need to take leaps because you will never have all the information you need. Go with the flow even if you don’t have an informed decision, because if you are not comfortable with it then others will go ahead and take the leap. Go out of your comfort zone and regain some resilience in your independence. The difference is that there will always be an innovative space between perception and reality. This has been applicable to my UBER career as well; I have travelled around the world and was interested in owning my startups. Nevertheless, you learn to fail and trust yourself to try out new things and different avenues in this process itself you develop an educative experience after which you will never make the same mistake twice. Always believe in where reality is and do not be hesitant about leaving an impact by voicing for change. Our commitments keep us going and often here in Kenya, startups come up with extremely interesting ideas. Kenya is a hub of superbly talented people. So folks put in the work, go harder than everyone else, be passionate, it isn’t about rocket science. Work smart and work hard!”
Loic in 5 years, where do you see yourself? “Uber is a tech platform and I love it. But in time I am thinking about starting up my own thing. With UBER I have managed to launch and start up new businesses across the globe and learn the challenges which come with building your own business. I would want to see myself start my own company and make is as sustainable and self-sufficient as UBER.”
Everyone has a role model, Loic who makes your ideal? “Well first of all my Dad and secondly, Travis our CEO at UBER. I am inspired by where Travis has got us today. UBER has grown from a startup in Silicon Valley to a titanic technology firm across the globe. We have centered the stage in the data economy with partners like Google and as a result we are now amongst the world’s most valuable resources. We see a dominant representation of Travis in the eye of media, but candidly speaking I respect his aggressive approach. I believe we wouldn’t be where we are today without him. The vision he brings to the company is extremely important to notice our success story. Travis didn’t take no for an answer, he pushed hard and showed us the resilience one builds from ground up even under pressure. He was not afraid of acknowledging his own mistakes and the fact that he openly stated he too needs help, is simply amazing! Travis stuck to his commitments after surfacing difficulties, in my eye this is thought leadership.”
Loic we know you’ve made a move but for old times’ sake tell us what made UBER love our office space and how together we’ve made good memories? “It’s a great space! The Garage is getting busier as new startups are constantly arriving at your doorstep. Your rooms are always booked and busy which is definitely a good thing for any enterprise. The office space is growing and the business is thriving with a diversity of talented people, fresh processes and a new expansion plan for space. My short time here at this co-working heaven has been exciting but let me tell you the truth, I will be back here! I am not going too far from our cool Garage ecosystem.”
What is your piece of advice for the youth? “Believe in what you do every single day, never give up and go the extra mile. Challenges will always arise however stick to your vision, be passionate and do not hesitate about taking risks. Stay put and go towards reality. Be strong and go for that UBER dream with all stealth.”
Here you have it, another awesome Garager to keep you inspired until the next month. Stay tuned to see who our next #ZoomIn candidate will be! Learn more here of the other entrepreneurial elites, awesome and innovative people that the Nairobi Garage houses. Thought leadership powered by Nairobi Garage’s network of coworkers, creators and connectors. Peace out