In honour of the Champlain Saint-Lambert’s 50th anniversary, the college has followed up with 50 of its alumni to see where their paths have led after their time in Cegep. These 50 former students have gone on to accomplish amazing things and their paths show just how much is possible for a Champlain grad.
Adekambi “Kambi” Laleye
This grad went from securing a Division 1 basketball scholarship to starting his own tech company.
Kambi (Film, 2006) is the co-founder of a company called Uptaste which he started with fellow Champlain alum and ex-Cavaliers teammate Maxime Paulhus Gosselin.
Uptaste is a network of automated in-store tasting machines which offer customers free tastings of products in stores.
“Retailers are struggling to find staff, brands need visibility and for consumers to try their products, and consumers want to taste products before buying. Click. Taste. Grab. It’s a win-win-win for everyone,” he said.
In an era of self-checkout machines and increasing automation amid the labour shortage, Kambi and Max developed a machine that offers free samples and plays advertising ads on the screen of the Uptaster.
For Kambi, whose education was primarily focused on film and media studies, working to create ad campaigns and video content for brands seems like a natural way to turn his passion into a successful career.
Following his graduation, Kambi worked for nearly two years in Dubai for a technology company where he was able to use his passion for film and storytelling in a more corporate environment.
Before starting Uptaste, Kambi started a digital agency 10 years ago focused on emerging technology specifically augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) with three other partners.
After the acquisition of that agency, Kambi ran Key Accounts for KLIK and was Head of Corporate Experiences at C2 International before deciding to go back into the world of entrepreneurship.
He described the agency work as a creative outlet where he could use his skills in video creation and develop immersive experiences.
Kambi first began to study film at Champlain where he benefited from hands-on experiences in the editing suites in the creative arts department.
“The program allowed me to slingshot into my career. It allowed me to discover a new passion for film,” he said.
“Having the access to cameras and editing suites allowed me to go into university ahead of my classmates in terms of my capabilities.”
A star basketball player for the Cavaliers, Kambi secured a full athletic scholarship to the University of Buffalo where he completed both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in four years.
“Getting the chance to play basketball at a high level and getting the chance to get my academics paid for was just an incredible experience. I’m extremely grateful to my parents for the endless support, my coaches from high school, club/summer programs, and to my Champlain coaches, most notably John Dangelas,” he said.
Kambi said he will always remember his time at Champlain Saint-Lambert as having launched him to where is today.
“It was a remarkable time. It was the period that shaped me into the person I am today. My closest friends today are four teammates (Max, Rodney, Brad, and Maurice) that I played with 20 years ago during my years at Champlain. It’s a brotherhood and they are family.”
At the University of Buffalo, Kambi was nominated for the NCAA National Student-Athlete Development Conference Award and won the Taurus Aureus Award for outstanding academic achievement by a student-athlete. During his Master’s degree, he served as captain of the basketball team.
Now, embarking on his next chapter with Uptaste, Kambi is optimistic about his and Max’s chances of growing another company.
“We call ourselves Uppers because we uplift brands and people to embrace diversity through trial. We take risks, do everything with passion, learn, and share,” said Kambi.
Kambi’s advice for current students and recent grads: “Internships, internships, internships. Find out what you’re good at and the best way to understand that is through internships where you can experience many different things. Try everything and anything. Volunteer. The only way you can find out if you like and more importantly what you’re good at is by trying! Also, don’t be afraid to make mistakes or fail. Because the way I like to look at it is that you either win or you learn.”