Meet Ghanaian Born Iddris Sandu: The black tech genius who created key algorithms employed by Uber, Instagram and Snapchat at age 21

by Duchess Magazine
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Meet Ghanaian Born Iddris Sandu: The black tech genius who created key algorithms employed by Uber, Instagram and Snapchat at age 21

“Where the world is going and with the digital revolution—everything is going to be an embodiment of tech in some way.”

Shaping the future through the creative space! Sandy has consulted for some of the world’s biggest tech companies in the world like Google, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Through Iddris Sandu’s incubator spatial LABS, he has worked with Beyoncé’s Ivy Park, Nipsey Hussle’s The Marathon Clothing Store, Rihanna’s Fenty line, and Kanye West’s Yeezy.

Black creatives in tech are breaking boundaries and pulling off super impressive revolutionary feats. Ghanaian-born, Compton-raised architectural technologist Iddris Sandu is on a mission to power inclusion and diversity, leveling the playing field for other vulnerable and marginalized communities. He has worked with a-list stars like Nipsey Hussle and Kanye West.

Born in Accra, Ghana, at age 3 he relocated to Harbor City, Los Angeles. A curious child, Sandu right from an early age caught on his passion for technology, from dissecting TV remotes and rewiring them, carving out new inventions he could play with to learn how to code at the Torrance Public Library in Compton library at age 13. At age 13, Sandu was an intern and worked on several Google projects including Google Plus. At age 15 he created a smartphone app that made it easier for his classmates to find their classrooms. After high school, Sandu delved into interning and consulting, working with such companies as Boeing, Twitter, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Uber, Snapchat, and Instagram.
Sandu built a mobile software program that earned him the honorary Presidential Scholars Award from Barack Obama. At 18, he sold an algorithm to Instagram and was consulting for Snapchat, moving to Uber to create the Autonomous Collision Detection Interface for their autonomous vehicle program.

More than a decade later, having consulted for companies such as Twitter and Snapchat and creating the software called Autonomous Collision Detection Interface, a software program that detects a driver’s hand motion and position for Uber, Sandu today with eyes sights firmly on shaping the world, he is also helping empower the next generation of kids to succeed, through mentoring schemes and building schools in Ghana.

“I wanted to see what could happen if the next generation of self-driving cars or computer vision technology could come from a kid from Compton, or a kid from Chicago, or a kid from Atlanta” – Iddris Sandu

Presently he is a design and tech consultant for West’s brand, and joined Adidas mission to help #EndPlasticWaste.

In 2017, the 24-year-old created the world’s first smart retail store experience along with Nipsey Hussle. The store is called “The Marathon Store.

More recently in October, this year 2021, Jay-Z’s investment firm Marcy Venture Partners invested in Iddris Sandu’s spatial LABS.

“spatiaLABS is essentially an immersive visual studio/ agency that has experience and creates a lot of volumetric content. What is volumetric content? There’s a spectrum of Immersive experiences.”

On working with Nipsey Hussle and Kanye West, and importance of mentors:

“Nipsey is a huge reason why I feel like my work in the cultural space has been amplified. I was able to take my technical skills, my concrete understanding of design, hardware and software, vertical integration, and his relentless curiosity to want to bring those worlds to hip hop. Kanye is an artist that’s known for being able to take different palettes from so many different places, especially in dragging from spaces that you would normally not see in hip hop, or are coming from someone that is Black, and be able to color outside of the lines and deliver a masterpiece. Nipsey worked the same way, but from a business standpoint, Nipsey was able to take the high-level business thinking and design thinking associated with business and finance, and apply it to his brand. The crux of what they both represent was very crucial to how I think, and being able to collaborate with large artists like them definitely just opened my mind up to the possibilities.”

The 24-year-old has been sought out to speak everywhere from TED to ComplexCon, Iddris speaks on a variety of topics including culture of design, how people interact with their environment through tech, and the democratization of technology in Africa and in urban neighborhoods around the US.

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