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1 October 2019
From Dentistry to Decentralised Ecosystems
Considering that he started out as a dentist and now develops innovative digital-based businesses, Dr Dhiveshan Govender is his own proof of concept as far as his philosophy goes.

By the time Dhiveshan matriculated, he had not really decided the career direction he wanted to go in. He only knew that he wanted to work with and help people. Since it seemed an appropriate, even if conventional fit for that purpose, he enrolled in the BChD course at UWC’s Faculty of Dentistry in 2002. After completing his community service in the SANDF, he started his dental practice in 2007.

He says, “Dentistry was good for me in the sense that it gave me the security of having a job and the ability to make decent money. But, over time, I realised that there were other facets of me that weren’t being expressed, and things that I wanted to do that were more important to me.”
Reflecting on his undergraduate experience, Dhiveshan says, “I had to go to university to figure out who I am, what kind of things are important to me, what I really care about. I only figured that out after I graduated and started working.

“That period for me, those years of just coming through Udubs, I found that a lot of the time people give you the material and then tell you what to study, what to say, but we are very rarely given the opportunity to think for ourselves. We are not taught how to think. However, I am deeply grateful and indebted to the many lecturers and administrators who cared about the institution’s standards and materials, putting up with me and my frequent cavalier attitude.”

After much reflection on his career, what he enjoyed doing and where he could contribute value, Dhiveshan concluded that “I could still work with people. I could still help, but I could use these other skills that I had and I could also develop them further to make an impact in different ways.”

By 2014, knowing that he wanted to transition to the business and technology world, he felt he needed to improve his credentials to be taken seriously. He enrolled for a part-time MBA at Stellenbosch University and completed his last modules at San Jose University, focusing on technology.

While completing his MBA and maintaining his dental practice, he developed a venture to test his technology theory application. Sovrgnmusic was set up as a competitor to global streaming platforms like Spotify, challenging their business and remuneration models.

Sovrgnmusic, using blockchain technology as an enabler, allowed musicians as content generators to digitise and control their catalogues (effectively, better monetising their streaming music as a tracked intellectual property). He sold the technology in 2016 and was subsequently invited to IBM headquarters in California where he worked for a short period.

After graduating, he was selected to attend the MBA World Summit in Miami as one of the top 100 global graduates for 2016. He was elected to a three-person steering committee for the MBA World Summit 2018 hosted in Cape Town, their first World Summit hosted in an emerging market.

Dhiveshan was invited to move to the Netherlands to work with stakeholders and further develop technology as an executive at the Brightlands Innovation and Smart Services Centre. He founded ATMA Technologies as an innovation lab, and for the last two years has been working alongside the Dutch Pension Fund, completing blockchain-based infrastructure that enables global pension funds to securely invest their members’ savings in secured digital assets. ATMA is currently contracted to build technology to support autonomous (driverless) vehicles. Dhiveshan uses the Netherlands as a base and continues to travel, working on diverse projects. ‚Äč