DesignWhine chats with Yann Le Beux, founder of YUX, a pan-African research and design company
Yann is the co-founder and General Manager of YUX, a research & design company based in Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire. Started in 2016, YUX mixes sociology and technology to co-create digital products and services tailored to African communities and their diversity. YUX is today a multicultural team of over thirty people that partners with large companies and startups for human centered design or UX-UI projects all over the continent.
In 2019, YUX also launched its Design Academy to train the new generation of African digital designers.
Yann describes himself as a French guy who is a material engineer but has never worked in France. After working in the U.K., Belgium, and the U.S.A. for quite a few years, he came to Senegal to work in a startup incubator. Five years ago Yann started YUX.
How did you start YUX, did you face any challenges?
Well, I guess I wanted to discover a little bit more about the continent. I started my first company when I was in the U.S.A. that failed. We tried to bridge the gap between technology universities in the U.S.A. and the emerging markets and I was responsible for covering the African continent. I didn’t know anyone, it was really hard to find reliable startups and I told my company that I need a bit more time there. Eventually, I found this great job in a startup providing me opportunity to learn from contacts, so it was a lot of fun.
Although there are so many brilliant engineers in Senegal and African countries But nobody talked about design, nobody talked about the values of having a localized experience. We were all frustrated to see that It was more of a copy paste from the western type of digital products that didn’t really relate to the culture, need and vision of the people. So, for the next six months or so we formed a group who talked about design and began training everyone in design informally but then clients came and offered us to pay and we said well, maybe yes! So we structured little by little like that and started working with startups in the country and eventually all over the continent.