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Derick Smith: Building Decentralised Infrastructure That Closes Gaps

Ammbr builds decentralised infrastructure that closes gaps. We enshrine privacy and self-sovereign digital identity in the infrastructure, and solve specific use cases in partnership with subject matter experts and companies that align with our mission.

Tell us about yourself?

I grew up in Pretoria, South Africa, during the time of the invention of the PC. I became a Cobol developer and rapidly acquired more programming languages and skills as the industry exploded in the 1980s and 1990s.

I founded my first real startup in 1998 and have been building startups ever since. I live for the thrill of creating something new, working in small and highly effective teams, where titles and structures are irrelevant and only reaching goals is.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

Follow your instinct and not advice. Very often the well-intended advice of others can lead us astray.

What problem does your business solve?

We aim to make technology and the results of technology available to underserved and unserved people and communities worldwide. We have had a particular focus on the decentralised space because of the highly inclusive business models it engenders.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

Growing up in Africa made me keenly aware of the massive disparities that exist in society. For me that is an example of inefficiency and wastefulness that leads to injustices, bad practices, many of the problems of climate change and species loss.

The solutions can be imagined, but with technology we have an opportunity to scale them massively, and thereby affect a lot of people and vast areas.

What is your magic sauce?

Imagination and the experience and network of people to find solutions. Without highly talented people who share your mission, your efforts simply cannot result in the scale one desires.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

We are extending our mission to the Metaverse, and this is a truly enormous undertaking. I see us being completely swamped and focused on this new frontier over the coming years.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

We started the company to close the rural telecoms gap, and developed the necessary hardware solution for it. As we were on the cusp of massive success we were trapped by the advent of COVID. This taught us the fickle nature of supply chains and reiterated the elegance of software and it’s near instant global reach.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

We are seeking projects that share our vision of an open and inclusive Metaverse, underpinned by self-sovereign digital identity and the protections it affords people. Our social media channels and a direct e-mail approach are all open and we look forward to helping good projects take root in this magical new frontier.

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