Debo Olaosebikan is a Nigerian physicist and entrepreneur who was born and raised in Nigeria. He currently serves as a Co-founder and CEO of Gigster, a platform that offers freelance software designers, developers, and product managers automation tools for building on-demand tech projects. Debo Olaosebikan also catches up with his artistic spirit by rapping in his free time. He is currently based in San Francisco, California.
Early Life And Schooling
Debo Olaosebikan spent his early days in Nigeria. He was born to a chemist and a doctor who worked as entrepreneurs running a hospital, a branding firm, and a health magazine. During his early times, Debo acknowledges that he was majorly focused on his artistic side due to his love for music, words, and writing.
“I have always loved words, writing, and music. I wrote poems and essays in primary school. I danced to Michael Jackson and MC Hammer early in secondary school and then I started memorizing Coolio, Busta Rhymes, Nas, and Jay-Z and drumming on lockers for our “miming” sessions in the dormitories. I also started a little “group” that would sing every Sunday at the school service. It’s kind of funny, but one of the members of that group is doing pretty well as a singer in the music industry now. In any case, given my musical and poetic backgrounds, rap was an instant hit with me as a kid in junior secondary school.”
However, he later incorporated his studies to become a physicist cum rapper.
At the age of 16, Debo migrated to the US after getting a Presidential Scholar. He got admitted to Illinois Wesleyan University (IWU) where he studied junior-level physics. According to the institution’s chapter of Physics Students, Debo exhibited characteristics of “the one to approach” in case of any challenges. He was also inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and was awarded the IWU Anderson Scholar for the academic year 2005- 2006. In 2008, Debo Olaosebikan joined Cornell University for graduate work in Physics.
After his studies at Illinois Wesleyan University, Debo Olaosebikan went on to partake in internship roles before joining graduate school for further studies. In 2004, he worked as a Research Intern at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. While at the university, worked at Prof. Anthony Dinsmore’s Lab where he managed to build an optical tweezer for use in soft condensed matter research. He was also in the study and investigation of the effects of curved cylindrical surfaces on colloidal interactions.
In 2005, Debo worked as a Research Intern at International Business Machines Corporation (IBM). Here, worked under the Nanomagnetism Computation and Engineering to develop computational/theoretic frameworks for use in the analysis of experimentally observed transitions in spin transfer devices. The research was accomplished in collaboration with Barbara Jones and Yaroslaw Bazaliy.
The research activities in this project produced numerical and analytical results for phase diagrams of magnetic Neel and Vortex domain walls in presence of spin transfer currents. This project was published in the Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology and also presented at one of the American Physical Society meetings. His intern opportunity at IBM also gave him an opportunity to prototype and experimentally characterize the efficacy of novel magnetic memory technology.
In 2008, Debo joined Cornell University as a Doctoral Student working with the Cornell Nanophotonics Group. Here, he was majorly involved in Silicon Optoelectronics, Silicon Photonics, and Solar Energy. While working with the group, he represented Cornell in a collaboration with Stanford, MIT, and, Caltech to build the first-ever electrically activated silicon laser. The project was part of an effort to invent light-based computers and was supported by $6 million grant funding from the US Department of Defense. His work in the Cornell Nanophotonics Group led to two presentations at the Conference for Lasers and Electro-Optics as well as a publication in Optic Letters.
Debo Olaosebikan the black founder of Gigster alongside his business partner Roger Dickey in 2014. Gigster is a software development service that offers on-demand access to the best resources. The platform helps organizations that cannot hire full-time engineers for software development get access to exceptional freelance developers. Likewise, Gigster offers software developers a reliable framework for freelancing. In the end, the platform creates a win-win situation for companies and freelancers.
“For freelancers, we wanted to build the best place to work. Members of our network work in specialized areas and so all they have to do is write code and get paid. They no longer have to deal with the frustrating elements of freelancing, such as marketing themselves, doing sales, or chasing down payments. We have found that this specialization and approach allows us to attract truly incredible talent that typically would only be accessible to the likes of tech giants like Google and Facebook.”
According to Debo, his inspiration for creating Gigster was a result of an impulse to impact the community.
“I’ve always been driven to find a way to help a large number of people. I felt like technology was the most scalable way to make this kind of impact, so in collaboration with my co-founder, we created Gigster to address the problem of access to quality software development.”
After pitching to investors at Silicon Valley, Debo Olaosebikan and co-founder Roger Dickey received seed funding from Bloomberg Beta, Greylock Partners, and other angel investors and founders. The two entrepreneurs were also part of the Y-Combinator’s Summer 2015 class. The Y-Combinator is a technology startup accelerator that was launched in 2015. The company has received a total funding amount of 32.6 million in over 6 rounds, with the most recent investors being Andreessen Horowitz and Adam D’Angelo.
Currently, the company has worked with several clients ranging from different industries, including travel, financial services, manufacturing, hospitality, and consumer. The platform also leverages data from all projects in order to streamline and automate different processes from end to end. This way, it becomes easier for the platform to work on several projects at once.
Leadership Roles And Awards
Currently, Debo Olaosebikan is the Co-founder and CEO at G-Gigster. He is also the CEO and founder of Kepler Computing. His contribution to the world of tech has earned him a position as one of the first members appointed to the Industrial Advisory Committee (IAC) by the US Department of Commerce. The advisory body will be tasked with guiding the Secretary of Commerce on issues relating to domestic semiconductor research and development in support of the CHIPS for America Act.
As an epitome of black excellence, Debo has earned some prestigious awards in the industry. In 2011, he won the Best Use of Science Award at The Future Awards Africa (TFAA), a Nigerian youths award. He was also awarded the Robert M. Montgomery Outstanding Young Alumni Award in 2018 from Illinois Wesleyan University (IWU).
Debo Olaosebikan is an iconic entrepreneur who believes in giving back to society by innovating tools for fast, efficient, and reliable services.
Debo Olaosebikan is part of our Black Founders50 Series. Download the complete 2023 BBVA Founders50 list here.