Hogan Bassey’s company, LivFul, is on a mission to identify and combat preventable diseases, and ultimately heal the world. His conversation with BE Modern Man underscores his determination to make a positive contribution to society through the use of biotechnology.
Name: Hogan Bassey
Profession: Entrepreneur; CEO and co-founder of LivFul, L.L.C.
BLACK ENTERPRISE: How do you think you have changed or contributed to your industry?
Bassey: We, at LivFul, are changing our industry by shifting the paradigm of mosquito and bacteria-borne disease prevention. Traditional prevention methods for mosquito-borne diseases are limited in their ability to protect us from diseases. LivFul has created plant-based, micro-encapsulation technology, which allows us to deliver a number of solutions to address this problem.
Because of our technology, we’re able to impact our industry in two ways. For the world at large, our technology allows us to create solutions that are significantly more effective, safer, and easier to use as part of your daily, healthy lifestyle. For those who are threatened with mosquito-borne illnesses in developing countries, our aim is to make solutions accessible to those who can least afford it.
BE: How could LivFul become a model for other health institutions?
Bassey: More than being a model for international health organizations, we want to inspire more companies to create market solutions for public health issues. We want to encourage collaboration between public health institutions and the private sector.
BE: What inspired you to launch LivFul?
Bassey: Growing up in Nigeria, I saw people suffering and dying from easily preventable diseases. They didn’t have the opportunity to fulfill their potential. As American citizens, hope is built into our society. What wakes me up every day is my passion for spreading that hope to people around the world, so people can live to their fullest potential. That’s why my company is called “LivFul.”
BE: What struggles from your past would you say have changed you for the better, by motivating you to strive for a greater future and make a positive impact on the world around you?
Bassey: As a child living in Nigeria, I contracted malaria several times. Mosquito nets and traditional prevention tools were limited in their ability to protect me from the pain and suffering that comes with this mosquito-borne disease. I was tired of living in fear of the disease.
Because I was tired of living in fear of the disease, when I was 10-years-old, I gathered a few chemicals I found at home and mixed up a batch of mosquito repellent in our bathtub. It was a big moment for me, in a world where repellents didn’t exist. My homemade repellent worked—a little—but my best discovery was finding my passion for problem solving and helping people avoid the kind of suffering that hinders the ability to live life to the fullest potential.
BE: How could others learn to utilize technology to combat health issues?
Bassey: I would encourage people to be curious and become active learners about the world at large. One of our goals at LivFul is to be a resource on health issues and disease prevention, which we provide via our website and newsletter (that I encourage your readers to sign up for).
BE: Could you talk a little about the significance of representation in the biotechnology industry?
Bassey: In any industry, diversity is important. We have a diverse world, and you need diverse backgrounds to solve complex global problems. Someone who hasn’t lived where I’ve lived and seen what I’ve seen wouldn’t be able to create solutions for the problems that LivFul is solving.
BE: What are your thoughts on how black men are portrayed in today’s mainstream media?
Bassey: The more people of color achieve success, the more difficult it is for stereotypes to be believable. I’m just one more person trying to achieve success—not just for me, but for others, too.
BE: What are some of your greatest achievements?
Bassey: Professionally, what our team has done and continues to do at LivFul has exceeded my greatest expectations. What started out as my idea to help people, has—with the help of my team—grown into an extraordinary vision to change the world, by ending the suffering from easily preventable diseases.
My greatest personal achievement is my marriage to my wife, Vickie. She’s been amazingly supportive. The work that I do every day is very serious, but she keeps the rest of my life very light-hearted.
BE: How have you created impactful moments throughout your life?
Bassey: I’ve sacrificed a lot, been persistent, and worked really hard. But, I’ve also gathered a group of people at LivFul with common values, who all share the same vision. It’s rarely about the actions of one person.
BE: How would you define “quality of character”? How can men, in particular, develop a strong sense of character?
Bassey: I’m extremely grateful for the values impressed upon me by my family. But a strong character isn’t something that simply happens; developing good character is a life-long pursuit, and you have to be intentional in the process. It’s important to clearly understand the source from which you get your values, beyond or in spite of what you may have experienced or learned in your early life. Then, you’ve got to live them out, irrespective of circumstance or feelings, and actively look for opportunities to share your journey, or find ways others may be encouraged.
BE: What are some of your own unique qualities that you are most proud of?
Bassey: I don’t think I’m that special. I’m getting to be a part of something special.
BE: What does being a BE Modern Man mean to you?
Bassey: To me, it’s about breaking the mold.
BE: What advice could you give to other BE Modern Man hopefuls?
Bassey: Even if you’re not sure exactly what it is, you must have some kind of dream about who you could become or what life could be like. This dream is what will ultimately help you persist through all the challenges that are going to come your way, as a person of color.
The people that get ahead in life are those that solve problems—and take action. As a young black person, you usually get one shot. There aren’t too many opportunities for second chances. So, keep your eyes open for opportunities to solve problems and don’t be afraid of hard work.
To find out more information about Hogan Bassey and how you can become involved in “saving lives and transforming communities,” click here to visit the LivFul website.
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