Dr Wallen Mphepo is one of the founders of xShüu Technologies, currently based in Shenzhen, China. Their product is a 3D display technology that could be used for movie theatres so that people do not have to wear glasses to actually perceive 3D in a movie theatre.
My name is Dr Wallen Mphepo. I am one of the founders of xShüu Technologies, which is currently based in Shenzhen, China. Initially, this all started when I was an exchange student in Taiwan at Hsinchu Chiao Tung University. My interest there was to learn more about display technologies because I had just finished my masters degree in Sweden in display technologies.
I managed to do some, by luck, amazing 3D technologies, which was a 3D display technology that could be used for movie theatres so that people do not have to wear glasses to actually perceive 3D in a movie theatre. Simply put, this is a full-colour, high-resolution, full video electronic paper that is flexible. That’s basically what it is.
So with that in mind, I decided to take this little piece of technology that I just built and try to shop it around to see if anybody will be interested in seeing this being commercialised. To be very honest, I was completely naive. I had no idea what I was doing. Everybody in the industry in displays was excited about it, but every time I go to these VCs, that didn’t do anything at all.
But I realised, OK, maybe I really need to do that. I want to push this. So I’m going to have to build something with this. So what can I really build that would allow me to show how versatile this material was? Then the idea settled down to OK, we’re going to have to build a high heel shoe.
The next part was, when we actually brought this shoe to the VC’s offices, we’d put it on a desk, and we tried to explain what it was, and then they just look at us and wondering, does it actually really work or is this just a dummy mock-up of what you really are trying to build? Then I’ll take out my smartphone, turn on the app, click a couple buttons, and voila. The shoe would change. And just like that, you could see the atmosphere in the room changing.
But that wasn’t enough because the VCs are very smart. They could tell that I had no business experience. Neither did the people around me, and we really didn’t know what we were doing. So they were excited about it, but they were not that ready to actually put a bet on it.
It all boils down to, we have to make sure the core team has the tools that it needs to be able to make this work. I didn’t know what to expect until one of the classes, Assembling and Managing Innovative Teams. It changed a lot of things, a lot of assumptions, in a way that I didn’t quite expect. This was a different kind of learning.
I had only done natural sciences and engineering in my academic background, so this was very eye-opening for me. Maybe some students, this was not necessarily new for them. For me personally, this was new. I was engrossed by this material. I dove right into it, read voraciously, beyond what was being given.
And it began to show, even in my own venture. Some of the things I would apply almost immediately. Some I would store and bookmark for later because I knew further down the road I was going to need these things. And so far, I have applied a lot of these things in my venture, and the progress has been phenomenal. I can already sort of see where I’m going with this.
I have an intellectual capacity in entrepreneurship to figure out and map out my journey, something that I didn’t have before. Before, I just used to go by hunch. Maybe this will work, maybe this won’t. But I didn’t have any theoretical or fundamental understanding of the entrepreneurship methodologies that goes into making this happen. But now I do, and this is where I am right now.