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December 18, 2019

Meet the Black Entrepreneur Who Invented the World’s First Ever Gaming Robots

Silas Adekunle

Silas Adekunle, a 28-year old Nigerian inventor and entrepreneur, has been credited with creating the first-ever intelligent gaming robots in the world. The robots, called MekaMon, were produced by his his company, Reach Robotics, and sold in Apple stores all over the U.S. and England.
From the beginning

Since his childhood, Adekunle has been fond of technology and robots. He was just 9-years old when he built his first robot. When his family moved to the UK, he continued his passion and enrolled at the University of the West of England where he received his Bachelor's degree in Robotics.

He actually got the idea of launch his own company while studying. When he was assigned as team leader of robotics in a school program that encourages students in STEM, his plan was to make robots more entertaining. That's when he started developing a revolutionary gaming robot.

From student to entrepreneur

In 2013, he co-founded Reach Robotics with Christopher Beck, who was then studying for his PhD in computer science, and John Rees, a robotics expert and engineering consultant. They helped develop Adekunle's robot prototype which was eventually called MekaMon.

MekaMon, which primarily allowed users to play around with the robot in both the real world and the virtual world, was officially released in 2017. Gamers and technology enthusiasts expressed their amazement over the robot's quality, especially its ability to show changing emotions. The company sold about 500 robots during its first launch and received a $7.5 million investment afterward.

Overcoming challenges

Sadly, millions of dollars in venture capital and a partnership with Apple don't always lead to automatic success.

In October 2019, Silas himself announced that Reach Robotics was closing up shop. He released a statement saying: "The consumer robotics sector is an inherently challenging space – especially for a start-up. Over the past six years, we have taken on this challenge with consistent passion and ingenuity. From the first trials of development to accelerators and funding rounds, we have fought to bring MekaMon to life and into the hands of the next generation of tech pioneers. Unfortunately, for Reach Robotics, in its current form at least, today marks the end of that journey."

But that is not the end of his story; Silas is working on some very promising new robotic ventures in Europe and the Middle East.

Follow him on Instagram to keep up with the latest @silasadekunle