“I want to tell you a story, and it’s a good one,” Sean Akadiri told me as we sat in a conference room at i2E Inc.’s offices in the University Research Park.
A native of Nigeria by way of England, Akadiri came to Oklahoma more than a dozen years ago to study biology and chemistry at East Central University in Ada.
Sean and I became acquainted at the recent Biotechnology International Organization convention in San Diego. He was among 70 Oklahomans who pitched the state to more than 15,000 people at the BIO show from around the world.
Akadiri, 32, is an emerging Oklahoma entrepreneur who founded a company last year called Agric-Bioformatics LLC. Akadiri proposes to use bioinformatics and genetic testing to help small ranchers improve the performance of their livestock.
Agric-Bioformatics is still developing the software prototype starting first with cattle, before scaling up to other livestock like pigs and sheep. The software will provide genetics, nutrition and health data in an easy-to-understand format for ranchers with herds of fewer than 500 head of cattle.
Akadiri’s journey into entrepreneurship began with a surprise when his plane landed in Oklahoma City before his first semester at ECU.
“When I came here I didn’t know my school was going to be in Ada,” he said. “I thought it was going to be in the city. When I got to Ada I said, ‘Is this where I’m going to stay for the next four years?’”
Akadiri stayed and completed his undergraduate degree. He also married his college sweetheart and then moved on to the University of Oklahoma, where he earned another undergraduate degree in chemical engineering. Then he earned an MBA at Mid-America Christian University.
A two-year tenure at Oklahoma City’s DNA Solutions showed him the potential of genetics in breed selection. He also began thinking about creating his own company.
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