As founder, president and CEO of data analytics company Agric-Bioinformatics, Sean Akadiri is helping cattle ranchers across the country better manage their herd, improve efficiency and increase profitability. Through AgBoost, the database and analytics system he developed at his company, ranchers can now be equipped with the genetic profile of each animal and “crystal ball” for breeding stronger characteristics and increasing the value of their herd.
Akadiri’s big idea started halfway across the world in Nigeria where he was born and raised. He completed high school in Nigeria, and at age 19 and with only $200 and no knowledge of agriculture or ranching, he left home to pursue his dream of higher education in Oklahoma.
“The only thing I knew about Oklahoma was the Oklahoma City bombing, and it is a plains state like my home,” Akadiri said. “But the USA is the land of opportunity for people in Nigeria. All I needed was a chance, and ingenuity and perseverance helped me get to where I wanted to go.”
Akadiri began pursuing his American dream at East Central University studying pre-med. He remembers that as an immigrant student with no one to rely on but himself, he was usually stressed, never secure in his housing, working several jobs to afford his education and constantly wondering how he was going to survive. Still, he continued doing his best in his courses and impressing instructors with his commitment and determination. Admiring Akadiri’s resolve to achieve his goals, one professor even generously paid his past due fees so he could continue his education.
"I learned so much about myself while at ECU – how I can survive in an unfamiliar place, how to rely on new friends and how I can improve the world around me"
The idea for a data-driven tool to boost the Oklahoma beef industry, one of the nation’s largest, came to him while he was working in a lab. Genetic testing of cattle isn’t a new concept, but Akadiri realized he could make the results comparable and measurable in a way that hadn’t been possible before for one of Oklahoma’s most important economic drivers. With the discipline he gained from ECU and the encouragement and backing from professors and his wife, Akadiri was able to turn the spark of an idea into AgBoost, now a critical information tool for thousands of ranchers around the nation.
“I learned so much about myself while at ECU – how I can survive in an unfamiliar place, how to rely on new friends and how I can improve the world around me,” acknowledged Akadiri, who became a US citizen three years ago. “I owe much of my success to ECU and the opportunity the university gave me and my family.”
Today Akadiri travels the world introducing AgBoost to ranchers and producers. As they adopt the new technology and his business continues to grow, Akadiri is confident he’s helping improve the production, quality and profitability of the beef and cattle industry. However, he doesn’t forget the bravery and determination required of those with a great idea. He is an entrepreneur in residence at the University of Oklahoma’s Tom Love Innovation Hub where he mentors college students through their entrepreneurship goals.
He also teaches his four young children about the value of hard work and success.
“I don’t chase the traditional meaning of success: money, accolades, material things,” Akadiri said. “Those are quick to come and even faster to disappear. Rather, I wake up every day trying to better myself and my community. These things are more lasting and impactful to humanity and will grow you more than you can imagine. That’s the most important legacy I hope to leave.”