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Seven Questions with Tolulope Ogunsina

15 February 2019

Tolulope Ogunsina (MSc Technology Entrepreneurship 2013) and co-founder of Playbrush talks about how his MSc was crucial in helping him make the transition from engineer to entrepreneur.

Tolulope Ogunsina Playbrush founder

What did you study and when did you graduate?
I studied MSc Technology Entrepreneurship in the UCL School of Management and I graduated in the summer of 2013 (the ceremony was in August 2014).

Why did you choose to study this subject and how has it informed your career path?
I chose to study Technology Entrepreneurship because I wanted to learn how to start a technology business. I have an engineering background and prior to coming on the course, I had worked in engineering roles and done a bit of freelancing/consulting on the side, but I had not been able to take the leap into properly starting a business.

After the course, I went back to get a job, but I resigned 2 years later to focus on Playbrush, a venture which I co-founded with one of my classmates on the course. We have developed a smart toothbrush that connects to mobile games, to make brushing more fun for kids but also to make them brush better. 

So taking the MSc was very crucial (in multiple ways) in helping me make the transition from Engineer to Entrepreneur.

What was the most interesting thing you did, or got involved with while at UCL?
I think the most interesting thing was actually exploring a lot of business ideas while on the course. It was the perfect place to try something out quickly, we had access to prototyping materials, a large community of students and teachers who were potential customers, hugely motivated colleagues who were pursuing their own ventures and willing to partner on even the craziest ideas. The access to support and funding from UCL Innovation & Enterprise through their business mentors and competitions such as UCL Bright Ideas Award, now the Launch £10,000 programme: Launch your business venture, was essential in helping us develop grow and launch Playbrush.

As a Nigerian, whose previous experience trying to start a business in Lagos was very humbling, I found the enabling environment at UCL very interesting and I did have a lot of fun exploring many ideas in a relatively safe place.

What do you miss most from your time at UCL?
I'd like to say the lectures, and I do miss some of them, but I miss the students the most. We  were a really diverse cohort and I had such a great time learning about other cultures and having a lot of fun. I have made friendships that will last a lifetime and I have so many fond memories from my time at UCL.

What one piece of advice would you like to share with UCL students?
Enjoy the experience, and use the resources. You will meet really motivated people who are able and willing to help you on your journey, whatever that may be. Don't waste it. Build meaningful relationships. Explore beyond your class and department and have a good time.

If you were back at UCL for the day what one thing would you do?
Say hello to some of my favourite teachers (and Jeremy Bentham!) and eat lunch at the Print room cafe. That was my favourite place to grab lunch as a student and I won't pass up a chance to grab a bite there again.

Who inspires you and why?
I am inspired by many things but I find stories of change wildly inspirational. Every time I see the prospect of impactful, long term change on either on a socio-economic or personal level, I get inspired to be better and do more. This is probably related to my background and the amount of personal transformations that I have seen. 

I am always excited to read a story of someone who has experienced a drastic positive change due to some combination of opportunity and diligence, and I get even more inspired seeing people try to make that kind of change possible for other individuals, groups and nations

What would it surprise people to know about you?
Completely random fact about me: I saw my first movie in a cinema when I was 20.