Rahmon Ojukotola tells us how Prydence monitors your electricity usage to help you save money.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Rahmon Ojukotola: The impacts of COVID-19 on work and social life have created a generational paradigm shift in societal interactions and have also accelerated trends expected in the future, such as the shift to home working. I have fully embraced the benefits of working from home that saves me time and money wasted commuting to the office and more time with my family, although there are more distractions due to working from home at times.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Prydence.
Rahmon Ojukotola: I founded both Prydence and StartCredits. I started my career in the banking industry with Union Bank of Switzerland and then moved into central banking before founding both companies. I also gained a Masters in finance from the London School of Economics and holds Chartered status from the institute of chartered accountants in England and Wales and the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment.
I founded StartCredits to build proprietary credit risk models for financial institutions, utilizing big data analytics to help facilitate affordable lending to underserved qualified borrowers. The firm has helped thousands of borrowers to save millions in interest rate payments.
I then went on to build Prydence, which is an IoT start-up utilizing machine learning to monitor and measure power usage in residential and commercial buildings. We also conduct an in-depth analysis of our customer’s home to identify the optimal specification and efficiency of the solar installation.
How does Prydence innovate?
Rahmon Ojukotola: At Prydence, we are constantly innovating. We have taken a data-driven analytical approach to home solar installations that accurately match power capacity to the expected energy demand within the customer’s budget constraints.
Our inverter battery optimizer is constantly being trained with new data sources on appliance’s energy consumption levels and drain patterns.
Our innovation primarily focuses on delivering a better service to our customers, which requires constant feedback and dialogue with them.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Rahmon Ojukotola: The pandemic has affected the economy and was a key driver for the recession. While the direct impact on the business has been minimal, as a technology-enabled start-up, the firm has manifested through the lower purchasing power of customers.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Rahmon Ojukotola: We had to make adjustments to our staff numbers at the initial onset of the pandemic lockdown when the uncertainty was at its highest. We have organically grown our numbers in line with demand from our customers.
The key lesson here for start-ups is to be flexible and dynamic. Start-ups are competing with established companies with sizable financial assets, and it’s these traits that provide a competitive advantage over older established companies.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Rahmon Ojukotola: Like most other firms, we have embraced video conferencing applications such as Zoom to replace physical meetings. The difficulties associated with remote working meant we had to streamline our code versioning apps. I have placed a greater emphasis on innovation in team meetings as it provides the competitive advantage that keeps Prydence growing during the crisis.
Your final thoughts?
Rahmon Ojukotola: While the pandemic has unfortunately created hardships for millions around the globe, it has also provided the opportunity for those who are entrepreneurial to create solutions to the myriad of issues.
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