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Do you have issues on business transaction in Nigeria?SafeTrader output AI-powered escrow service to secure your transaction for your business.

Africalocals team posted the article • 0 comments • 91 views • 2019-07-19 14:15 • data from similar tags

Q1: Hi, Daniel, What's your education background, what were you working on before this startup SafeTrader. What's your work experience, Can you introduce your business to our users?

I’m a student of Communication Technology from National open university. Before starting safeTrader

I was working at Kiakia.co. As a programmer. That was where I met my co-founder Adeniyi Mikail, and we came up with a solution to help stop the prevailing existence of online fraud in Nigeria.


Q2: How did you get into the programming world? and became a developer? How did that happen?


I’ve always been passionate about programming, I started coding as a hobby after my secondary school. While in the university, I decided to take it more seriously, from then on I’ve been building websites and web applications. 



Q3: What experience or idea inspires you to get started with SafeTrader and what does this mean to users in Nigeria? (If you can, please attach related photos about that experience )

SafeTrader was started out of genuine concern. We realized that the prevailing existence of fraud needed to be checked as it accounts for the loss of revenue to one or all parties involved in a business or trade agreement. We, therefore, designed a system that guarantees trust and provides a cushion of safety to enable smooth and hitch-free transactions both online and offline.



Q4: How SafeTrader works? What are the services you can offer on your website? How did you find clients who wanna buy your services? Why did users willing to use your products and services?

Safetrader is an AI-powered escrow service startup, established with the aim of providing safety and safeguarding the trust of parties to a business transaction in Nigeria, Africa and the world at large.

We use a chatbot with the aim of providing a system where business can be transacted with peace of mind, trust and without fear. We do this by acting as a trusted third party who ensures that all parties are held accountable to the terms of the agreement they entered in the course of transacting any business. 

Users are willing to use safeTrader because of the ease and simplicity of our services, It is accessible from your mobile phone or personal computer within minutes, and your transaction is secure.



Q5: What are your thoughts on the current state of IT industry and online shopping in Nigeria? How can your services help users?

The IT industry and online shopping in Nigeria is still developing, in the online shopping industry there have a been a lot of improvements, before it used to be order online and pay online, now there are other options like pay on delivery, even though most online stores still prefer pay before delivery because of the challenge of some sellers not trusting the buyers. In most cases, the buyers also don't trust the sellers or they’re are skeptical about paying for goods they’ve not received. This is where SafeTrader comes in, our services help to allow that environment of trust, so business owners can do business without fear and the buyers also can shop with anybody knowing that they run no risk to their funds.



Q6: How did you find your co-founders and employees? What's the story of how you set up your team? (please attach some team photos and co-founders photos)

My co-founder and I were both colleagues at a former place of employment. I was in the tech department and he was in the business support department, from interactions we realized that we had aligned interest. That was what started the journey for us. 

The members of the team were past colleagues from our separate places of employment before we met each other. The team is made of people that we need to achieve the goals that we set. We also have someone on the team that was based on the recommendation from a trusted senior colleague in the industry.

That is how the team is set up.


Q7: When you guys began to build this startup, what were the difficulties your team faced and how did you guys fix them?

An essential difficulty we faced was funding, but we dipped into our personal savings along with support from an angel investor, and we were able to overcome this initial hurdle. 



Q8: How did you get initial money to start the business? Did you raise some investment from angel investors like other companies?


We are currently running on funds from an angel investor and our personal seed capital.

Q9: How did you attract new users to your website and scale your business? What are the useful and practical operation methods you can share?

Currently, we get news users from social media and referrals. Social media marketing is one of the fastest ways to gain exposure to any type of business. 


Q10: How can you secure your services are reliable and trustable? How can you ensure security between buyers and sellers? How can you fix transaction disputes between buyers and sellers? Would bad services exist? How to avoid these happen? Can you recommend one successful client example from your website? What did he get after he used your services? What is the link to it? (If you can, please attach related photos about these )

We are very reliable, An example is a client in Ibadan who needed the services of an app developer in Abuja. Because of SafeTrader he felt comfortable to do a transaction with someone he doesn’t have physical contact with. The client was very understanding saw the progress the developer has made and opted to give him an extension to enable him to complete the project. At the end of the day, everybody was happy.

Would there be bad services? 

Definitely, Some people are out to defraud people, some just disappoint. An example is an artisan that takes too much work and is unable to meet with the delivery date and ends up disappointing his clients.

Q11. How do you fix transaction dispute? 

The full details of a transaction (the kind of services they want, when the job will be delivered) are filled before the transaction starts. When a due date is approaching we reach out to both party to be sure the service provider will be able to deliver on that day, and that the client is still on course and understands what is going on. If the service provider is unable to deliver we reach out to both parties to find an alternative solution and to know if it’s a minor delay or we need to cancel the transaction and make a refund. 

We try to ensure there’s no dispute in the first place that’s why we are constantly communicating with both parties.



Q12: How did you grow your revenue? What's the story behind how you got your first revenue from clients?


The first revenue stream and first few clients were people we know (Friends/Family). They, in turn, helped to inform the other members of the public, and word of mouth spread the message. 


Q14: What is the advice do you have for newcomers who want to get into the Internet and programming area?

Everyone is zero at the time of starting, make lots of mistakes, always find time to learn and most importantly Invest in yourself!


Q15: What're your goals for your business?  Why do those goals are important for you?

we are looking to become the household name and the go-to company when it comes to safety and security in commerce. We hope to be the game-changer, the narrative changer with respect to transacting with Nigerians internationally. We hope to make Nigerian businesses and business owners attractive and trustworthy to completely eradicate the fear factor associated with dealing with our countrymen internationally. 


Q16: How do you keep learning? Where do you go to learn more?


I create time to always learn, I learn from industry experts, I learn from my mentors, Online course.

Some of the sites I go to learn:

Scotch io - https://scotch.io/

Udacity - https://www.udacity.com/

LinkedIn Learning - https://www.linkedin.com/learning/


Q17: What do you do on a daily or a weekly basis that you think is important in terms of forming your skills and opinions on this area?

What is the one day like you usually do? (e.g. 9:00- 12:00 programming, 13:30- 15:30 meet clients)

I set goals for myself on a weekly basis, things I need to read, things I need to learn, areas I need to improve. And most importantly brainstorm on areas we need to make safeTrader better.


Q18: What's your biggest surprise over the last three, four years in the internet industry where you have been working? What happened that you didn't expect?

That has to be “Amazon surpassing Microsoft as the largest company by market value”

Q19: What's your plan for your business in the next months? What's your business roadmap for next year?


For many parts of our early development, it has been about fine-tuning the service and we are now convinced that the priority for 2019 is to expand further and grow the number of users. We intend to achieve this through increased expenditure in the area of advertisement and sensitization, an area we have neglected before.
We are also looking at collaborating with more businesses that would require our services regularly in line with the kind of operations they carry out.


Q20: Where can we know more official info about you and your companies?

Our Official website

https://www.safetrader.ng

facebook

https://www.facebook.com/safetrader.ng/

Twitter

https://twitter.com/_Safetrader

ISHOLA DANIEL

Co-Founder/CTO

SafeTrader 

P:  +2348188001165

E: [email protected]

W: www.safetrader.ng view all

Q1: Hi, Daniel, What's your education background, what were you working on before this startup SafeTrader. What's your work experience, Can you introduce your business to our users?

I’m a student of Communication Technology from National open university. Before starting safeTrader

I was working at Kiakia.co. As a programmer. That was where I met my co-founder Adeniyi Mikail, and we came up with a solution to help stop the prevailing existence of online fraud in Nigeria.



Q2: How did you get into the programming world? and became a developer? How did that happen?


I’ve always been passionate about programming, I started coding as a hobby after my secondary school. While in the university, I decided to take it more seriously, from then on I’ve been building websites and web applications. 



Q3: What experience or idea inspires you to get started with SafeTrader and what does this mean to users in Nigeria? (If you can, please attach related photos about that experience )

SafeTrader was started out of genuine concern. We realized that the prevailing existence of fraud needed to be checked as it accounts for the loss of revenue to one or all parties involved in a business or trade agreement. We, therefore, designed a system that guarantees trust and provides a cushion of safety to enable smooth and hitch-free transactions both online and offline.



Q4: How SafeTrader works? What are the services you can offer on your website? How did you find clients who wanna buy your services? Why did users willing to use your products and services?

Safetrader is an AI-powered escrow service startup, established with the aim of providing safety and safeguarding the trust of parties to a business transaction in Nigeria, Africa and the world at large.

We use a chatbot with the aim of providing a system where business can be transacted with peace of mind, trust and without fear. We do this by acting as a trusted third party who ensures that all parties are held accountable to the terms of the agreement they entered in the course of transacting any business. 

Users are willing to use safeTrader because of the ease and simplicity of our services, It is accessible from your mobile phone or personal computer within minutes, and your transaction is secure.




Q5: What are your thoughts on the current state of IT industry and online shopping in Nigeria? How can your services help users?

The IT industry and online shopping in Nigeria is still developing, in the online shopping industry there have a been a lot of improvements, before it used to be order online and pay online, now there are other options like pay on delivery, even though most online stores still prefer pay before delivery because of the challenge of some sellers not trusting the buyers. In most cases, the buyers also don't trust the sellers or they’re are skeptical about paying for goods they’ve not received. This is where SafeTrader comes in, our services help to allow that environment of trust, so business owners can do business without fear and the buyers also can shop with anybody knowing that they run no risk to their funds.



Q6: How did you find your co-founders and employees? What's the story of how you set up your team? (please attach some team photos and co-founders photos)

My co-founder and I were both colleagues at a former place of employment. I was in the tech department and he was in the business support department, from interactions we realized that we had aligned interest. That was what started the journey for us. 

The members of the team were past colleagues from our separate places of employment before we met each other. The team is made of people that we need to achieve the goals that we set. We also have someone on the team that was based on the recommendation from a trusted senior colleague in the industry.

That is how the team is set up.



Q7: When you guys began to build this startup, what were the difficulties your team faced and how did you guys fix them?

An essential difficulty we faced was funding, but we dipped into our personal savings along with support from an angel investor, and we were able to overcome this initial hurdle. 



Q8: How did you get initial money to start the business? Did you raise some investment from angel investors like other companies?


We are currently running on funds from an angel investor and our personal seed capital.

Q9: How did you attract new users to your website and scale your business? What are the useful and practical operation methods you can share?

Currently, we get news users from social media and referrals. Social media marketing is one of the fastest ways to gain exposure to any type of business. 


Q10: How can you secure your services are reliable and trustable? How can you ensure security between buyers and sellers? How can you fix transaction disputes between buyers and sellers? Would bad services exist? How to avoid these happen? Can you recommend one successful client example from your website? What did he get after he used your services? What is the link to it? (If you can, please attach related photos about these )

We are very reliable, An example is a client in Ibadan who needed the services of an app developer in Abuja. Because of SafeTrader he felt comfortable to do a transaction with someone he doesn’t have physical contact with. The client was very understanding saw the progress the developer has made and opted to give him an extension to enable him to complete the project. At the end of the day, everybody was happy.

Would there be bad services? 

Definitely, Some people are out to defraud people, some just disappoint. An example is an artisan that takes too much work and is unable to meet with the delivery date and ends up disappointing his clients.

Q11. How do you fix transaction dispute? 

The full details of a transaction (the kind of services they want, when the job will be delivered) are filled before the transaction starts. When a due date is approaching we reach out to both party to be sure the service provider will be able to deliver on that day, and that the client is still on course and understands what is going on. If the service provider is unable to deliver we reach out to both parties to find an alternative solution and to know if it’s a minor delay or we need to cancel the transaction and make a refund. 

We try to ensure there’s no dispute in the first place that’s why we are constantly communicating with both parties.




Q12: How did you grow your revenue? What's the story behind how you got your first revenue from clients?


The first revenue stream and first few clients were people we know (Friends/Family). They, in turn, helped to inform the other members of the public, and word of mouth spread the message. 


Q14: What is the advice do you have for newcomers who want to get into the Internet and programming area?

Everyone is zero at the time of starting, make lots of mistakes, always find time to learn and most importantly Invest in yourself!


Q15: What're your goals for your business?  Why do those goals are important for you?

we are looking to become the household name and the go-to company when it comes to safety and security in commerce. We hope to be the game-changer, the narrative changer with respect to transacting with Nigerians internationally. We hope to make Nigerian businesses and business owners attractive and trustworthy to completely eradicate the fear factor associated with dealing with our countrymen internationally. 


Q16: How do you keep learning? Where do you go to learn more?


I create time to always learn, I learn from industry experts, I learn from my mentors, Online course.

Some of the sites I go to learn:

Scotch io - https://scotch.io/

Udacity - https://www.udacity.com/


LinkedIn Learning - https://www.linkedin.com/learning/


Q17: What do you do on a daily or a weekly basis that you think is important in terms of forming your skills and opinions on this area?

What is the one day like you usually do? (e.g. 9:00- 12:00 programming, 13:30- 15:30 meet clients)

I set goals for myself on a weekly basis, things I need to read, things I need to learn, areas I need to improve. And most importantly brainstorm on areas we need to make safeTrader better.


Q18: What's your biggest surprise over the last three, four years in the internet industry where you have been working? What happened that you didn't expect?

That has to be “Amazon surpassing Microsoft as the largest company by market value”

Q19: What's your plan for your business in the next months? What's your business roadmap for next year?


For many parts of our early development, it has been about fine-tuning the service and we are now convinced that the priority for 2019 is to expand further and grow the number of users. We intend to achieve this through increased expenditure in the area of advertisement and sensitization, an area we have neglected before.
We are also looking at collaborating with more businesses that would require our services regularly in line with the kind of operations they carry out.



Q20: Where can we know more official info about you and your companies?

Our Official website

https://www.safetrader.ng

facebook

https://www.facebook.com/safetrader.ng/

Twitter

https://twitter.com/_Safetrader

ISHOLA DANIEL

Co-Founder/CTO

SafeTrader 

P:  +2348188001165

E: [email protected]

W: www.safetrader.ng
135
Views

Thrive Agric (Nigeria): The company helps smallholder farmers in Nigeria access crowdfunded loans to help grow their crops, as well as help them sell their produce.

Africalocals team posted the article • 0 comments • 135 views • 2019-06-15 12:45 • data from similar tags

Q1: Hi, Uka, What's your educational background, what were you working on before this startup Thrive Agric, What's your work experience, and can you introduce your business to our users?


I am a graduate of Biochemistry from Covenant University, Ota Nigeria. Before starting Thrive Agric in 2017, in 2014 I had previously co-founded a supply chain company called Quick Leap with my longtime business partner Ayodeji Arikawe who is also the co-founder of Thrive Agric, at Quick Leap we linked farmers in Benue state, Nigeria to premium off-takers so as to solve the problem they face of having 6 middlemen between them and premium off-takers. After 2 years of running the company, we got selected into Ventures Platform (An acceleration program that trains and equips startup co-founders with the right business knowledge).

During the acceleration program, we decided to research more on what are the real problems Nigerian smallholder farmers face so as to provide lasting solutions in order to boost their production and income, we then realized that they lacked access to finance, quality inputs, and premium off-takers. With this, we founded Thrive Agric in 2017, an agricultural technology-enabled company that works with smallholder farmers in Nigeria to give them access to finance through linkages with institutional investors and via crowdfunding where Nigerian urban dwellers both home and abroad can fund a local farmer and get predictable returns after harvest for every farming cycle, with this Thrive Agric has been able to provide tech-enabled precision farming services, data-driven advisory and increased yield per hectare of these smallholder farmers in Nigeria and link them to premium market



Q2: How did you get into the agricultural industry? How did it happen?


Upon graduation, I traveled home to visit my parents and I decided to explore the agriculture value chain considering where I was from was an agrarian community I started a small scale farming at the back of my parent's house. In 2014, I realized that in Benue state, most farmers find it hard to link up with premium off-takers and even if they do they were not able to easily transport their goods. With this, I decided to start up a  supply chain company called Quick Leap which has now evolved into Thrive Agric.


Q3: What experience or idea inspired you to get started with Thrive Agric and what does it mean to you in today's Nigeria agricultural industry? (If you can, please attach related photos about that experience )


Today there are over 32 million smallholder farmers in Nigeria alone and it increases across Africa who occupy the bulk of the food production chain, yet Nigeria imports almost 70% of the food it consumes because the smallholder farmers are still not able to cater to the populations daily consumption not to talk of exporting their produce, due to all the difficulties they face all along the agricultural value chain; they cannot acquire quality inputs and farming technologies and are still using the old farming method.

Food insecurity is increasing by the number, today we have 46.1 million persons of the entire population food insecure, while 24.8% of the entire population is prevalent to food insecurity and the population of Nigeria is also growing massively. Nigeria is projected to increase by more than 50% in the coming two decades, and during this, its rural population is projected to increase by more than 25%, and the agricultural component is expected to grow by a slightly lower proportion, moderated by climate change and undercapitalization of the smallholder farmers.

If the agricultural sector is not well developed and farmers well equipped so as to increase their present production capacity and at the same time increased in number so as to meet the growing demand, then we are in deep trouble as a Nation. Hence, I am very much more inspired to continue the work we are doing in the agricultural space, so as to bring about food security to my lovely country as well as help in developing more tech-related solutions that would help the entire sector and boost the countries economy.

Q4: How does Thrive Agric work? How do you find farmers who want to work with you? Why do buyers fund into your farms? How can they get profitable returns back

At Thrive Agric we are very farmers centered oriented, hence all we do is to make sure our farmers are well sorted out in order to bring about more quality yield, so as to increase the profitability of both our farmers and subscribers (this are our co-farmers who fund farms).

How we do this is through backward integration, by first getting the off-takers, then the farmers, before the subscribers. We make sure that we meet and secure deals with premium off-takers in both the grain and livestock sector, after which we carry out a farmer onboarding process whereby our field agents and extension service experts go into the farming community that we are interested in, get a lead farmer who is then able to identify all farmers in that community, we then talk to the community leader who guarantees the farmers, after which our field agents collect the farmers database through our farmer onboarding app.

Our co-farmers who we get through both our crowdfunding platform and from institutional investors invest in our farmers because we give them the platform to work with farmers thereby contributing to the development of the Nation, they also get competitive ROI within a reasonable time frame of our farming cycle, they have the opportunity of rolling over, as our co-farmers they get regular updates through their mobile devices, and have the opportunity of visiting their farms if  they want to.

Our co-farmers get profitable returns back through their bank account before any farm is funded they see their ROI through our platform www.thriveagric.com and it easy for them to know their exact date of return and what amount to expect.




Q5: What are your thoughts on the current state of online funding investment in farms and agriculture industry in Nigeria? Why should buyers and investors give funds via your platform?

We think we have been able to figure out the key things, provide visibility of the farmers and their processes, provide the extension services to ensure optimal productivity , insurance against losses and a ready market for the produce.

Q6: How did you find your co-founder (s) and employees? What's the story on how you setup your team? (please attach some team photos and co-founders photos)

I and my co-founder Ayodeji Arikawe have known each other since our first year in the university as we were both studying for our undergraduate degree courses, he is a tech enthusiast and very intelligent person, we have been doing business dealings together and have co-founded a company before Thrive Agric as I have previously stated.

My awesome A-Team (Employees) are enthusiasts of agriculture as regards technology, development, and empowerment. We find our teammate mostly through referrals and job advert placement. Most of our teammates have been with us before we even registered Thrive Agric as a company and because they believe in the vision of the company.
 



Q7: When you guys began to build this startup, What were the difficulties your team faced and how did you guys fix them?


We had difficulty getting the right people to join the team and had to rely heavily on referrals. We also needed to gain credibility to investors and did this by sharing regular updates.


Q8: How did you get the initial money you used to start your business? Did you raise some investment from some angel investors like other companies?

We started the company through individual funds and was able to raise our first seed capital from Ventures Platform in 2017.

Q9: How did you attract new users to your platform and scale your business?  How do you find more co-farmers to use your platform? What are the useful and practical operation methods you can share?


We can proudly state that we have spent less than $100 on advertisements, most of our new users are gotten through referrals, our platform has been scaled through our social media platform, all thanks to the companies growth team. The company has scaled from inception to date by being goal oriented driven, whatever target we set we make sure we work hard to hit the target, we started with just 100 farmers and in 18 months we are working with 17,000 farmers and by the end of 2019 we would be working with 35,000 farmers and we plan to scale up to 1 million farmers in 3 years.


Our operational method is to make sure that the Operations team are well equipped, all our field agents are gotten from the community we farm this way we are also creating job opportunities for the youths of the community we work with, thereby creating accountability and easy process.


Q10: How can you secure your farmers are reliable and trustworthy? Would investors lose their money and get nothing possibly? How to avoid this happen? Can you recommend one successful fund investing examples from your website? What is the link of it? (If you can, please attach related photos about these )

Our farmers onboarding process is very thorough, because we want to make sure we get the right farmers, who are accountable and trustworthy. We make sure that we get a lead farmer in the community who then get other farmers that he or she can vouch for, these farmers are then verified by the community leader and their data collected. All the farmers are then put in a cooperative where everyone is accountable for each other, we make sure that their farms are not more than 5 kilometers away from each other and all the inputs and services are given at the same time and harvest is done at the same time.

We make sure that our farmers receive weather update and also extension services through SMS as a preventive measure. In all this, we still make sure all our farms are insured and our co-farmers are guaranteed their capital in case of anything. So far, all our funding opportunities have been successful and we have paid over 16 cycles.


Q11: Have you experienced startup failures before? If YES, what did you learn from it?

Yes , in our earliest days, we had people on the team who didn't fit into startup culture and felt guilty about trying to let them go. We then realized that by keeping them we were holding on to their growth. Also and just really learnt to hire quick and fire quick.


Q12: How did you grow your revenue? What's the story behind how you got your first revenue from clients?


Our very first clients where our close friends and family members, we pitched the idea to them and told them how much profit they would get and due to the act that they believed in us, they invested their money and that's how we bought our very first good and sent to Lagos for our first Royal Exchange, with this we got accepted into Ventures Platform acceleration program who then gave us our seed fund in which we used to start working with farmers.


Q13: What operational data can you share? Your user amounts, revenues, employee numbers, etc.


In just 19 months, Thrive Agric has worked with over 17,000 smallholder farmers on majorly crops and livestock production who indirectly employ at least 3 people to work with them across 13 States in Nigeria, have reared 2 million poultry birds being the largest poultry farm in the country, this operation has been funded by over 5,000 subscribers, and on average have increased their yield threefold as a result. And our team comprises of 25 fully employed staff.


Q14: What advice do you have for newcomers who want to get into agriculture?


I would encourage everyone to go into the agriculture space, the space comprises of different sectors, its not only about farming of crops, we have different aspects of farming such as horticulture, livestock rearing(poultry and ruminant), micro livestock (snail, grasscutter etc), fish farming, vegetable farming etc. And in the agricultural value chain you could go into transportation, processing, buying from farmers and selling to processing companies, selling of inputs etc.

So my advice to any newcomer is to make sure they start small and smart, do not expect to make it immediately, be ready for failure and disappointment, but make sure you get back on your fit, correct your mistakes and start again. Insure your farms, read and learn new ways to do what you want to do effectively, get a mentor, and make sure you get the of-taker buy in before starting the business.


Q15: What's your goals for your business? Why are the goals important to you?


Our long term goal is to have on-boarded close to 10 million farmers in the next 6 years, a million farmers in 3 years, rear 10 million poultry birds in 3 years time, be the number one go to agricultural technology in the agricultural space of Africa, help Nigeria and Africa as a whole attain food security and SDG Goal 1 by 2030, be the number 1 agricultural exporting company in Nigeria, expand to other African countries, improve the agricultural value chain in Nigeria and some parts of Africa by 50% and overall aid in the affordability of quality food for all in Nigeria and most parts of Africa.


This is very important to us because we want to build an Africa that feeds itself and the world, thereby curbing unemployment, malnutrition, underdevelopment, and achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 2 (End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture).


Q16: How do you keep learning? Where do you go to learn more?


I learn from my mentors, experts with long term experience in the space, business experts in the space, online courses, acceleration and incubation programs and most importantly I read a lot and learn from doing (personal experience)


Q17: What do you do on a daily or weekly basis that you think is important in terms of forming your opinions on the agriculture space or sector?


On a daily and weekly basis I make sure I read on the improved ways of doing agriculture, I go to visit my farms in different states of the nation, I have meetings with experts in the space, I watch videos on agriculture, and or the past 2-3 months I have been learning from experts within and outside the country.


Q18: What's your biggest surprise over the last three or four years in the agricultural industry where you have been working? What happened that you didn't expect?


My biggest surprise was farmers orientation and mindset, most Nigerian farmers have the sense of entitlement and are used to a particular archaic mindset on how to farm, what to expect from loaners, and not wanting to pay back loans. But we are here to change the narrative to a better one and we are already doing so.



Q19: What's your plan for your business in the next few months? What's your business roadmap for next year?


By the end of 2019 we plan to have worked with 35,000 smallholder farmers and reared 3 million poultry birds


Q20: Where can we get more official info about you and your company?


Please visit our website www.thriveagric.com


Read about us on;

Business Day (http://www.businessdayonline.c ... ture/ ),
Quartz (http://disrupt-africa.com/2018 ... ward/ ),
Techpoint (https://techpoint.africa/2018/ ... africa) ,
Techcrunch (https://techcrunch.com/2019/03 ... o-day/)  ,
and Disrupt Africa (http://disrupt-africa.com/2018 ... rmers/) .
Read online Articles on the CEO Uka Eje;
https://www.bellanaija.com/201 ... rity/
https://techmoran.com/2018/03/ ... gric/
https://www.theafricaceoforum. ... /eje/
https://innovation-village.com ... gric/
https://www.theafricaceoforum. ... /eje/ view all
Q1: Hi, Uka, What's your educational background, what were you working on before this startup Thrive Agric, What's your work experience, and can you introduce your business to our users?


I am a graduate of Biochemistry from Covenant University, Ota Nigeria. Before starting Thrive Agric in 2017, in 2014 I had previously co-founded a supply chain company called Quick Leap with my longtime business partner Ayodeji Arikawe who is also the co-founder of Thrive Agric, at Quick Leap we linked farmers in Benue state, Nigeria to premium off-takers so as to solve the problem they face of having 6 middlemen between them and premium off-takers. After 2 years of running the company, we got selected into Ventures Platform (An acceleration program that trains and equips startup co-founders with the right business knowledge).

During the acceleration program, we decided to research more on what are the real problems Nigerian smallholder farmers face so as to provide lasting solutions in order to boost their production and income, we then realized that they lacked access to finance, quality inputs, and premium off-takers. With this, we founded Thrive Agric in 2017, an agricultural technology-enabled company that works with smallholder farmers in Nigeria to give them access to finance through linkages with institutional investors and via crowdfunding where Nigerian urban dwellers both home and abroad can fund a local farmer and get predictable returns after harvest for every farming cycle, with this Thrive Agric has been able to provide tech-enabled precision farming services, data-driven advisory and increased yield per hectare of these smallholder farmers in Nigeria and link them to premium market




Q2: How did you get into the agricultural industry? How did it happen?


Upon graduation, I traveled home to visit my parents and I decided to explore the agriculture value chain considering where I was from was an agrarian community I started a small scale farming at the back of my parent's house. In 2014, I realized that in Benue state, most farmers find it hard to link up with premium off-takers and even if they do they were not able to easily transport their goods. With this, I decided to start up a  supply chain company called Quick Leap which has now evolved into Thrive Agric.


Q3: What experience or idea inspired you to get started with Thrive Agric and what does it mean to you in today's Nigeria agricultural industry? (If you can, please attach related photos about that experience )


Today there are over 32 million smallholder farmers in Nigeria alone and it increases across Africa who occupy the bulk of the food production chain, yet Nigeria imports almost 70% of the food it consumes because the smallholder farmers are still not able to cater to the populations daily consumption not to talk of exporting their produce, due to all the difficulties they face all along the agricultural value chain; they cannot acquire quality inputs and farming technologies and are still using the old farming method.

Food insecurity is increasing by the number, today we have 46.1 million persons of the entire population food insecure, while 24.8% of the entire population is prevalent to food insecurity and the population of Nigeria is also growing massively. Nigeria is projected to increase by more than 50% in the coming two decades, and during this, its rural population is projected to increase by more than 25%, and the agricultural component is expected to grow by a slightly lower proportion, moderated by climate change and undercapitalization of the smallholder farmers.


If the agricultural sector is not well developed and farmers well equipped so as to increase their present production capacity and at the same time increased in number so as to meet the growing demand, then we are in deep trouble as a Nation. Hence, I am very much more inspired to continue the work we are doing in the agricultural space, so as to bring about food security to my lovely country as well as help in developing more tech-related solutions that would help the entire sector and boost the countries economy.

Q4: How does Thrive Agric work? How do you find farmers who want to work with you? Why do buyers fund into your farms? How can they get profitable returns back

At Thrive Agric we are very farmers centered oriented, hence all we do is to make sure our farmers are well sorted out in order to bring about more quality yield, so as to increase the profitability of both our farmers and subscribers (this are our co-farmers who fund farms).

How we do this is through backward integration, by first getting the off-takers, then the farmers, before the subscribers. We make sure that we meet and secure deals with premium off-takers in both the grain and livestock sector, after which we carry out a farmer onboarding process whereby our field agents and extension service experts go into the farming community that we are interested in, get a lead farmer who is then able to identify all farmers in that community, we then talk to the community leader who guarantees the farmers, after which our field agents collect the farmers database through our farmer onboarding app.


Our co-farmers who we get through both our crowdfunding platform and from institutional investors invest in our farmers because we give them the platform to work with farmers thereby contributing to the development of the Nation, they also get competitive ROI within a reasonable time frame of our farming cycle, they have the opportunity of rolling over, as our co-farmers they get regular updates through their mobile devices, and have the opportunity of visiting their farms if  they want to.

Our co-farmers get profitable returns back through their bank account before any farm is funded they see their ROI through our platform www.thriveagric.com and it easy for them to know their exact date of return and what amount to expect.




Q5: What are your thoughts on the current state of online funding investment in farms and agriculture industry in Nigeria? Why should buyers and investors give funds via your platform?

We think we have been able to figure out the key things, provide visibility of the farmers and their processes, provide the extension services to ensure optimal productivity , insurance against losses and a ready market for the produce.

Q6: How did you find your co-founder (s) and employees? What's the story on how you setup your team? (please attach some team photos and co-founders photos)

I and my co-founder Ayodeji Arikawe have known each other since our first year in the university as we were both studying for our undergraduate degree courses, he is a tech enthusiast and very intelligent person, we have been doing business dealings together and have co-founded a company before Thrive Agric as I have previously stated.

My awesome A-Team (Employees) are enthusiasts of agriculture as regards technology, development, and empowerment. We find our teammate mostly through referrals and job advert placement. Most of our teammates have been with us before we even registered Thrive Agric as a company and because they believe in the vision of the company.

 



Q7: When you guys began to build this startup, What were the difficulties your team faced and how did you guys fix them?


We had difficulty getting the right people to join the team and had to rely heavily on referrals. We also needed to gain credibility to investors and did this by sharing regular updates.


Q8: How did you get the initial money you used to start your business? Did you raise some investment from some angel investors like other companies?

We started the company through individual funds and was able to raise our first seed capital from Ventures Platform in 2017.

Q9: How did you attract new users to your platform and scale your business?  How do you find more co-farmers to use your platform? What are the useful and practical operation methods you can share?


We can proudly state that we have spent less than $100 on advertisements, most of our new users are gotten through referrals, our platform has been scaled through our social media platform, all thanks to the companies growth team. The company has scaled from inception to date by being goal oriented driven, whatever target we set we make sure we work hard to hit the target, we started with just 100 farmers and in 18 months we are working with 17,000 farmers and by the end of 2019 we would be working with 35,000 farmers and we plan to scale up to 1 million farmers in 3 years.


Our operational method is to make sure that the Operations team are well equipped, all our field agents are gotten from the community we farm this way we are also creating job opportunities for the youths of the community we work with, thereby creating accountability and easy process.


Q10: How can you secure your farmers are reliable and trustworthy? Would investors lose their money and get nothing possibly? How to avoid this happen? Can you recommend one successful fund investing examples from your website? What is the link of it? (If you can, please attach related photos about these )

Our farmers onboarding process is very thorough, because we want to make sure we get the right farmers, who are accountable and trustworthy. We make sure that we get a lead farmer in the community who then get other farmers that he or she can vouch for, these farmers are then verified by the community leader and their data collected. All the farmers are then put in a cooperative where everyone is accountable for each other, we make sure that their farms are not more than 5 kilometers away from each other and all the inputs and services are given at the same time and harvest is done at the same time.

We make sure that our farmers receive weather update and also extension services through SMS as a preventive measure. In all this, we still make sure all our farms are insured and our co-farmers are guaranteed their capital in case of anything. So far, all our funding opportunities have been successful and we have paid over 16 cycles.



Q11: Have you experienced startup failures before? If YES, what did you learn from it?

Yes , in our earliest days, we had people on the team who didn't fit into startup culture and felt guilty about trying to let them go. We then realized that by keeping them we were holding on to their growth. Also and just really learnt to hire quick and fire quick.


Q12: How did you grow your revenue? What's the story behind how you got your first revenue from clients?


Our very first clients where our close friends and family members, we pitched the idea to them and told them how much profit they would get and due to the act that they believed in us, they invested their money and that's how we bought our very first good and sent to Lagos for our first Royal Exchange, with this we got accepted into Ventures Platform acceleration program who then gave us our seed fund in which we used to start working with farmers.


Q13: What operational data can you share? Your user amounts, revenues, employee numbers, etc.


In just 19 months, Thrive Agric has worked with over 17,000 smallholder farmers on majorly crops and livestock production who indirectly employ at least 3 people to work with them across 13 States in Nigeria, have reared 2 million poultry birds being the largest poultry farm in the country, this operation has been funded by over 5,000 subscribers, and on average have increased their yield threefold as a result. And our team comprises of 25 fully employed staff.


Q14: What advice do you have for newcomers who want to get into agriculture?


I would encourage everyone to go into the agriculture space, the space comprises of different sectors, its not only about farming of crops, we have different aspects of farming such as horticulture, livestock rearing(poultry and ruminant), micro livestock (snail, grasscutter etc), fish farming, vegetable farming etc. And in the agricultural value chain you could go into transportation, processing, buying from farmers and selling to processing companies, selling of inputs etc.

So my advice to any newcomer is to make sure they start small and smart, do not expect to make it immediately, be ready for failure and disappointment, but make sure you get back on your fit, correct your mistakes and start again. Insure your farms, read and learn new ways to do what you want to do effectively, get a mentor, and make sure you get the of-taker buy in before starting the business.



Q15: What's your goals for your business? Why are the goals important to you?


Our long term goal is to have on-boarded close to 10 million farmers in the next 6 years, a million farmers in 3 years, rear 10 million poultry birds in 3 years time, be the number one go to agricultural technology in the agricultural space of Africa, help Nigeria and Africa as a whole attain food security and SDG Goal 1 by 2030, be the number 1 agricultural exporting company in Nigeria, expand to other African countries, improve the agricultural value chain in Nigeria and some parts of Africa by 50% and overall aid in the affordability of quality food for all in Nigeria and most parts of Africa.


This is very important to us because we want to build an Africa that feeds itself and the world, thereby curbing unemployment, malnutrition, underdevelopment, and achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 2 (End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture).


Q16: How do you keep learning? Where do you go to learn more?


I learn from my mentors, experts with long term experience in the space, business experts in the space, online courses, acceleration and incubation programs and most importantly I read a lot and learn from doing (personal experience)


Q17: What do you do on a daily or weekly basis that you think is important in terms of forming your opinions on the agriculture space or sector?


On a daily and weekly basis I make sure I read on the improved ways of doing agriculture, I go to visit my farms in different states of the nation, I have meetings with experts in the space, I watch videos on agriculture, and or the past 2-3 months I have been learning from experts within and outside the country.


Q18: What's your biggest surprise over the last three or four years in the agricultural industry where you have been working? What happened that you didn't expect?


My biggest surprise was farmers orientation and mindset, most Nigerian farmers have the sense of entitlement and are used to a particular archaic mindset on how to farm, what to expect from loaners, and not wanting to pay back loans. But we are here to change the narrative to a better one and we are already doing so.



Q19: What's your plan for your business in the next few months? What's your business roadmap for next year?


By the end of 2019 we plan to have worked with 35,000 smallholder farmers and reared 3 million poultry birds


Q20: Where can we get more official info about you and your company?


Please visit our website www.thriveagric.com


Read about us on;

Business Day (http://www.businessdayonline.c ... ture/ ),
Quartz (http://disrupt-africa.com/2018 ... ward/ ),
Techpoint (https://techpoint.africa/2018/ ... africa) ,
Techcrunch (https://techcrunch.com/2019/03 ... o-day/)  ,
and Disrupt Africa (http://disrupt-africa.com/2018 ... rmers/) .
Read online Articles on the CEO Uka Eje;
https://www.bellanaija.com/201 ... rity/
https://techmoran.com/2018/03/ ... gric/
https://www.theafricaceoforum. ... /eje/
https://innovation-village.com ... gric/
https://www.theafricaceoforum. ... /eje/
98
Views

How to send your packages online with lower cost in South Africa? Sendeddy built a disruptive logistics platform

Africalocals team posted the article • 0 comments • 98 views • 2019-02-14 00:54 • data from similar tags

Q1: What's your background, what were you working on before this startup Sendeddy, What's your work experience, Can you introduce your business to our users?


My past roles were as non-executive Director to Transman 2002-13; CIO Strategist Radiospoor; management of the Anglo American Outsource in 2001 and 2008 as well as Program Manager for End User Computer Strategy build for Old Mutual in 2014. 

I am a co-founder and current CEO of Sendeddy Technologies and has developed the business over the past 3 years along side with co-founder Maria Tsingos. Together they developed a prototype which was released in 2016, for On-demand Logistics, securing investment, produced a phone app in 2017, then web app, in 2018, to confirm the white label and e-commerce demand requirements. 

As a co-founder I am fully responsible for all Financial Management and Reporting, Investor Negotiations and Relations and Strategic Planning and Projects. Maria Tsingos handles the operations and marketing aspect of Sendeddy.

Sendeddy is a disruptive logistics platform that disintermediates the supply chain, connects Logistics companies, Couriers and self-employed transporters, crowd-souring, with companies, or individuals, sending on demand and harnessing Convenience, Optimization and Economies of scale through the routing and system algorithms.




Q2: What are your thoughts on the current state of online transport services in South Africa?

The idea behind Sendeddy is to help enhance and improve the state of current online transport services. Our platform is designed to allow for any transport business (small or large) to jump on and use the site to their advantage. We are building towards offering a complete offering of all three major factors within todays logistics and delivery environment namely; convenience, affordability and optimisation.



Q3:  How did you find your co-founders and employees? What’s the story of how you setup your team? (please attach some team photos and co-founders photos)

I approached Maris in 2016 to help build the business up with me. Together we established a board of directors and started bringing in shareholders to help fund the business.



Q4: When you guys built the initial products and service, What were the difficulties your team faced and how did you fix them?

We initially faced a lack of available resources in terms of labour and we had to make up for it by working extremely efficiently and hard to ensure we kept up with as many expectations as possible.


Q5: How did you get initial money to start the business? Did you raise some investment from some angel investors like other internet companies?

I  used my entire savings as well as sold my Audi to initially fund the business. We were then fortunate enough to come across our first seed capital investor and used those funds to develop our first ever mobile application, which we intend to rebrand as to reflect our current sleek black and white CI.



Q6: How did you attract new users to your website and use your software?  What are the useful operation methods you can share?

We had a very limited marketing budget to begin with however we believe we effectively utilised our resources and pulled together some small to medium sized promotional and training events used to inform and educate prospects on Sendeddy and the disruptive technology that we are trying to introduce. The approach we took was to reduce unnecessary costs by trying to do it right the first time. We had acquired an in-house designer who’s level of skill was excellent and was in fact extremely affordable for the high quality service she provided. We also ensured that the people we did employ on a full time basis were equipped to wear many hats and work within various sectors of the business. It is so important to  hire the right people during the Dev/POC phases of the business because you cannot afford the costs of negligence or severe mistakes.



Q7: Have you experienced start-up failures before? If YES, what did you learn from it?

Not yet.


Q8: How did you grow your revenue? What’s the story behind how you got your first revenue from clients?

Our initial approach was to target the consumer to consumer market however we found that our best revenue generating market was in fact the small business to SME sectors. During our initial application launch we gained traction from users who saw our product as an “Uber” replicant and used us as an alternative to send themselves around, however we decided to shelve the application and build the current website to allow for businesses to utilise us for the purpose of true on-demand delivery. We approached these businesses face to face and with extensive calling and email marketing strategies as to avoid high Marketing costs.


Q9: What operational data you can share? The user amounts, revenues, employee numbers, GMV, etc.

Our site officially went live last year March/April and from then until now we have generated over 20 000 $ that we have paid out to transporters (Individuals and logistics companies)

There are two full time employees and several shareholders that operate within the business however we have employed people on a part-time and internship basis in between to help with administrative and operational duties.


Q10: How do you attract senders to place orders on your website?  What is the  average cost for per package in South Africa? What is the cost for sending a package on Sendeddy?

We ensure that we provide excellent customer service which in turn results in word of mouth and organic growth. The beauty about Sendeddy is that our pricing structure doesn’t work like your general couriers. We do not charge per volume, weight, height etc and instead we offer a service that is based on per km rates (local ofcourse). When it comes to intercity transportation, the couriers and logistic companies signed up with quote accordingly. Our system is also the first online platform with a routing function in which the user can select a vehicle and then route as many packages as he/she likes and witness the incredible price savings on being able to

With Sendeddy a user is able to fill a motorbike/sedan/van and only pay per as per the distance. Although the system is still being developed and AI will be implemented that takes in account volumetric considerations and time, we will always strive to be different to any other platform out there.



Q11: How do you ensure transporter quality?

All of our transporters are verified through Intergreatme and are required to have a valid PRDP licence before we allow them to transport and goods on our site.

Intergreatme is an online verification application that you can download off your IOS/Playstore that uses facial recognition to ensure the transporter is who they say they are as well as checks their proof of residence, criminal record and ID/Drivers License.

We also provide training prior to any delivery being done to ensure the transporters are capable of using the platform correctly as well as on customer service and any potential emergency procedures.



Q12: What’s your goals for your business? Why do that goals are important  for you?

We are aiming at onboarding thousands of transporters and hundreds of thousands of clients to create a true crowd sourcing on-demand service. We are also focussed on bringing Sendeddy into the township areas to help grow and stabilise the economies within. The township project has always been close to my heart and we are set on bringing on as many transporters as possible to help provide them with a steady income through our site.

We want to be the big brother of disruptive logistics within South Africa and to start off with, and to gradually grow within other African regions and internationally as well.



Q13: What’s your view on your competitors?

We like to know who are competitors are as well as what they are offering because it really helps us measure our performance and ensure that our service stands out from the rest. We have not come across anything quite like Sendeddy just yet, although there are smaller digital couriers out there which we have taken a stance of not seeing them as our competitor but too rather approach them and offer them Sendeddy as an add on to their income generation.






  view all
Q1: What's your background, what were you working on before this startup Sendeddy, What's your work experience, Can you introduce your business to our users?


My past roles were as non-executive Director to Transman 2002-13; CIO Strategist Radiospoor; management of the Anglo American Outsource in 2001 and 2008 as well as Program Manager for End User Computer Strategy build for Old Mutual in 2014. 

I am a co-founder and current CEO of Sendeddy Technologies and has developed the business over the past 3 years along side with co-founder Maria Tsingos. Together they developed a prototype which was released in 2016, for On-demand Logistics, securing investment, produced a phone app in 2017, then web app, in 2018, to confirm the white label and e-commerce demand requirements. 

As a co-founder I am fully responsible for all Financial Management and Reporting, Investor Negotiations and Relations and Strategic Planning and Projects. Maria Tsingos handles the operations and marketing aspect of Sendeddy.

Sendeddy is a disruptive logistics platform that disintermediates the supply chain, connects Logistics companies, Couriers and self-employed transporters, crowd-souring, with companies, or individuals, sending on demand and harnessing Convenience, Optimization and Economies of scale through the routing and system algorithms.





Q2: What are your thoughts on the current state of online transport services in South Africa?

The idea behind Sendeddy is to help enhance and improve the state of current online transport services. Our platform is designed to allow for any transport business (small or large) to jump on and use the site to their advantage. We are building towards offering a complete offering of all three major factors within todays logistics and delivery environment namely; convenience, affordability and optimisation.



Q3:  How did you find your co-founders and employees? What’s the story of how you setup your team? (please attach some team photos and co-founders photos)

I approached Maris in 2016 to help build the business up with me. Together we established a board of directors and started bringing in shareholders to help fund the business.



Q4: When you guys built the initial products and service, What were the difficulties your team faced and how did you fix them?

We initially faced a lack of available resources in terms of labour and we had to make up for it by working extremely efficiently and hard to ensure we kept up with as many expectations as possible.


Q5: How did you get initial money to start the business? Did you raise some investment from some angel investors like other internet companies?

I  used my entire savings as well as sold my Audi to initially fund the business. We were then fortunate enough to come across our first seed capital investor and used those funds to develop our first ever mobile application, which we intend to rebrand as to reflect our current sleek black and white CI.



Q6: How did you attract new users to your website and use your software?  What are the useful operation methods you can share?

We had a very limited marketing budget to begin with however we believe we effectively utilised our resources and pulled together some small to medium sized promotional and training events used to inform and educate prospects on Sendeddy and the disruptive technology that we are trying to introduce. The approach we took was to reduce unnecessary costs by trying to do it right the first time. We had acquired an in-house designer who’s level of skill was excellent and was in fact extremely affordable for the high quality service she provided. We also ensured that the people we did employ on a full time basis were equipped to wear many hats and work within various sectors of the business. It is so important to  hire the right people during the Dev/POC phases of the business because you cannot afford the costs of negligence or severe mistakes.



Q7: Have you experienced start-up failures before? If YES, what did you learn from it?

Not yet.


Q8: How did you grow your revenue? What’s the story behind how you got your first revenue from clients?

Our initial approach was to target the consumer to consumer market however we found that our best revenue generating market was in fact the small business to SME sectors. During our initial application launch we gained traction from users who saw our product as an “Uber” replicant and used us as an alternative to send themselves around, however we decided to shelve the application and build the current website to allow for businesses to utilise us for the purpose of true on-demand delivery. We approached these businesses face to face and with extensive calling and email marketing strategies as to avoid high Marketing costs.


Q9: What operational data you can share? The user amounts, revenues, employee numbers, GMV, etc.

Our site officially went live last year March/April and from then until now we have generated over 20 000 $ that we have paid out to transporters (Individuals and logistics companies)

There are two full time employees and several shareholders that operate within the business however we have employed people on a part-time and internship basis in between to help with administrative and operational duties.



Q10: How do you attract senders to place orders on your website?  What is the  average cost for per package in South Africa? What is the cost for sending a package on Sendeddy?

We ensure that we provide excellent customer service which in turn results in word of mouth and organic growth. The beauty about Sendeddy is that our pricing structure doesn’t work like your general couriers. We do not charge per volume, weight, height etc and instead we offer a service that is based on per km rates (local ofcourse). When it comes to intercity transportation, the couriers and logistic companies signed up with quote accordingly. Our system is also the first online platform with a routing function in which the user can select a vehicle and then route as many packages as he/she likes and witness the incredible price savings on being able to

With Sendeddy a user is able to fill a motorbike/sedan/van and only pay per as per the distance. Although the system is still being developed and AI will be implemented that takes in account volumetric considerations and time, we will always strive to be different to any other platform out there.




Q11: How do you ensure transporter quality?

All of our transporters are verified through Intergreatme and are required to have a valid PRDP licence before we allow them to transport and goods on our site.

Intergreatme is an online verification application that you can download off your IOS/Playstore that uses facial recognition to ensure the transporter is who they say they are as well as checks their proof of residence, criminal record and ID/Drivers License.

We also provide training prior to any delivery being done to ensure the transporters are capable of using the platform correctly as well as on customer service and any potential emergency procedures.




Q12: What’s your goals for your business? Why do that goals are important  for you?

We are aiming at onboarding thousands of transporters and hundreds of thousands of clients to create a true crowd sourcing on-demand service. We are also focussed on bringing Sendeddy into the township areas to help grow and stabilise the economies within. The township project has always been close to my heart and we are set on bringing on as many transporters as possible to help provide them with a steady income through our site.

We want to be the big brother of disruptive logistics within South Africa and to start off with, and to gradually grow within other African regions and internationally as well.




Q13: What’s your view on your competitors?

We like to know who are competitors are as well as what they are offering because it really helps us measure our performance and ensure that our service stands out from the rest. We have not come across anything quite like Sendeddy just yet, although there are smaller digital couriers out there which we have taken a stance of not seeing them as our competitor but too rather approach them and offer them Sendeddy as an add on to their income generation.






 
285
Views

FineArt opened an online art gallery portal designed to celebrate Nigerian Artists,giving younger artists an online present to showcase their talent to the world

Africalocals team posted the article • 0 comments • 285 views • 2019-02-08 17:00 • data from similar tags

Q1: What's your background, what were you working on before this startup FineArt, What's your work experience, Can you introduce your business to our users?


I am a fine artist, with specialization in drawing and painting and also a computer scientist with specialization in software and web development, I am also fortunate to have graduated as both fine artist and computer scientist, with a Master degree in Information Technology, my detail CV can be found on http://nemsacademy.com/ben/cv.html

 



However on like the IT, I grew up knowing that I can draw, I love Art and want to be an artist when I grew up, but in 2004 I was drifted to have a taste IT although as a backup plan incase if the passion for Art could not sustain me this was like 15 years ago, and here I am loving every bit of my second passion and career as a professional Software and web developer. From 2004 to 2008 I worked full-time as a programmer and web designer with some IT firms in Lagos, I quit in 2008 to become self-employed and registered my IT company Bengallery Information Technology in same year (2008), therefore I have been fortunately to work as a freelancer for both some multination IT firms as a software engineering consultant, as well as built website and software solutions for several other organization and individuals, also note that while this was going was not losing focus of my Art passion as I was in the college studying to graduate as a Fine Artist, at the same time as a Computer Scientist, it is worth noting also that the finance to pull this up was possible because of my success in my IT career.


Now my startup FineArt.com.ng is an idea I convinced long time ago, around 2004, but I started implementing it around 2006, but it was too premature then, as I was lacking in technical capacity to build such solution and secondly I was not able to interpret and develop the idea properly.

FineArt.com.ng is an online art gallery portal designed to celebrate Nigerian Artist; giving younger artist an online present to showcase their talent to the world, and be inspired by the Older or well established Artist, through the Artist-on-Focus section where be celebrate older or well established Nigerian Visual Artists.









Q2:  What experience or idea inspire you to get started with FineArt and what does this mean to you in today’s Nigeria online art industry? (If you can, please attach related photos about that experience )


As I a young artist I have experience the fear of uncertainty of never finding my voice, being unknown, and my talent locked down and never gaining exposure let alone making some money from my Art, this is was push me to explore IT in 2004. I have dream of using IT to expose my Artwork and career to the world, and also to make some money to sustain my passion for Art (even though I have dive too deep to IT as a software and developer for close to 15 year), this is what inspires me to start FineArt.com.ng, although this idea was conceived in 2004 to took me so long to implement it because I was learning to be a programmer and web designer, I was supporting myself in college, I was working, gaining experiences and exposure I needed to fine tune the concept, several attempts was made that never saw the light of the day, not until 2015 when I started redesigning the code and fine-tuning the idea





Q3: What's your technical architecture of your website? How long did your team accomplish the website until it launched?


My website FineArt.com.ng has come a long way, taking different form and name while I learn and put my idea into retrospect. I built the website using simple incremental architecture; that is I build on each function as the need arises, I hate complexity and useless experimentation with visitors’ time, I simple observe the challenges and feedback from my user before implementing the function. It took us three (3) years to get it up and launched, many of this time where spent doing non-technical stuff like talking to artists, and doing some paper works and brainstorming.




Q4: What are your thoughts on the current state of online art services in Nigeria?


When I conceived the idea of online art gallery in Nigeria around 2004, I don’t think there is anything like that in Nigeria, and even when we launched in 2015 I still cannot notice major online art gallery in Nigeria. Currently very few art galleries are embracing technology in connecting with their clients, here people still believe in going to galleries physical to enjoy or buy some good works of art, while running such gallery space can be very expensive in Lagos Island where this galleries are clustered because of high patronage on the Island, so the problem of space in Lagos can be very challenging and many young talented artists can’t afford the high cost of paying galleries. This is what inspires us to startup FineArt.com.ng






Q5:  How did you find your co-founders and employees? What’s the story of how you setup your team? (please attach some team photos and co-founders photos)


I was very open to teaching and motivating younger programmer in my community, overtime I have this number of young people grew, many becomes friends and some later share in my dream. One of the most outstanding people I have such contact with in teaching PHP and MySQL was a young lady name Blessing, who later becomes my wife in 2016 and we recently welcome our first child last September 2018. She shares in my dream and has contributed immensely to sustaining this dream of FineArt.com.ng along with another young man called Toluwalope. For now we are small team of 3 passionate young people doing what we love. Sometime we also get some students coming to join us during their compulsory 6 months industrial training from the University.






Q6: When you guys built the initial products and service, What were the difficulties your team faced and how did you fix them?


One of the major challenges we face is how we want FineArt.com.ng (although then we have not agreed on the name) will be run; idea of limiting number of works to be uploaded by each artist, challenges of convincing artist as at 2005 or 2006 to visit this strange website to upload the pictures of their artworks was strange and terrifying to some of them, some even suspect and accuse us that we may expose their art concept to be stolen by other artist online, financial challenges was the least challenges them because we are sure we are not going to be making money then. Anyway most of this challenges where taken care of as social media started gaining popularity everything was blown open, everybody is now finding their voices online, and there is very little challenges about one artist idea being stolen as everyone is now putting up the pictures of their artwork everywhere, so that tension just goes away with time.





Q7: How did you get initial money to start the business? Did you raise some investment from some angel investors like other internet companies?



We did not raise money through some angel investors when we are starting, as I said my small team of three (3) are friends, so they support the dream on part-time basis while maintaining their full-time jobs, the cost of hosting the site is from my other IT company. It was worth to note that when we started angel investors sees no reason to put their money in out startup because the physical art gallery is still new and gaining more attention. Although as I talk to you we are currently pitching FineArt.com.ng to investors to enable us grow beyond our current level.



Q8: How did you attract new users to your website and use your software?  What are the useful operation methods you can share?


I am a visual artist myself, and while studying in college I have lots of artist friends whom I also connect with on social media, therefore introducing them to FineArt.com.ng so my passion for art is what has kept us going, and the love of younger artists in giving them a platform to showcase there artworks is motivation behind we getting users to register with us. So the LOVE for what we do and the LOVE for the people concern is the key operation method.






Q9: Have you experienced startup failures before? If YES, what did you learn from it?


FineArt.com.ng was initially a fail startup 2005 to 2008, so we quickly learn how lesson by understanding that we launched too prematurely with wrong motives of how-do-we-make-money-from-this to let’s-just-do-what-we-love-and-have-fun so there is no pressure on us for now, so we are just having fun.






Q10: How did you grow your revenue? What’s the story behind how you got your first revenue from clients?


As I said earlier the initial startup fund was from my other IT business and currently we are looking at getting some investors



Q11: How to attract buyers give orders on your site? 

The idea of FineArt.com.ng is to connect buyer directly to seller, and for now we make the process so simple, that an order places by the buyer appears at an in-mail to the seller, giving the seller the opportunity to reach the buyer directly.



Q12: How do you ensure sellers quality in your site?


I simply spell out the terms of condition to the sellers, and ensure they comply.


Q13: What’s your goals for your business? Why do that goals are important  for you?


My goal is to provide all Nigerian/African artists the opportunity to showcase their artworks to the world without hindrance. And motivates them by celebrating the older or well established artist, and recently we have started celebrating even some of this new and younger artist as well.



Q14: What’s your views on your competitors?


Competitors are very important, the keep you on your toes, however we are more focus on our goals knowing that the environment here varies from that which is obtainable in Europe or America. Ours is majorly for the local market for now.





Q15: How do you keep learning? Where do you go to learn more?


Apart from graduating from college, where I have learnt the basics and formal processes of Art in Nigeria, the internet is now one big open university for my continues learning, I also invest a whole lot on printed books (home library).




Q16: What do you do on a daily or a weekly basis that you think is important in terms of forming your opinions on the Africa art industry?


I study and learn on a daily basis, if I am not busy working on a web/software projects or painting/drawing in my study. Over the weekend I most time access my progress or review that which I have done during the weekdays, and sometime I attends Art exhibitions or talks around Lagos.



Q17: What’s  your biggest surprise over the last three, four years on software and internet industry where you have been working? What happened that you didn’t expect?


It takes a whole lot to remain focus in this era of information overloading or outbursts on the internet. And new technologies keep popping up every day and someone somewhere is expecting you to know it all. view all
Q1: What's your background, what were you working on before this startup FineArt, What's your work experience, Can you introduce your business to our users?


I am a fine artist, with specialization in drawing and painting and also a computer scientist with specialization in software and web development, I am also fortunate to have graduated as both fine artist and computer scientist, with a Master degree in Information Technology, my detail CV can be found on http://nemsacademy.com/ben/cv.html

 




However on like the IT, I grew up knowing that I can draw, I love Art and want to be an artist when I grew up, but in 2004 I was drifted to have a taste IT although as a backup plan incase if the passion for Art could not sustain me this was like 15 years ago, and here I am loving every bit of my second passion and career as a professional Software and web developer. From 2004 to 2008 I worked full-time as a programmer and web designer with some IT firms in Lagos, I quit in 2008 to become self-employed and registered my IT company Bengallery Information Technology in same year (2008), therefore I have been fortunately to work as a freelancer for both some multination IT firms as a software engineering consultant, as well as built website and software solutions for several other organization and individuals, also note that while this was going was not losing focus of my Art passion as I was in the college studying to graduate as a Fine Artist, at the same time as a Computer Scientist, it is worth noting also that the finance to pull this up was possible because of my success in my IT career.


Now my startup FineArt.com.ng is an idea I convinced long time ago, around 2004, but I started implementing it around 2006, but it was too premature then, as I was lacking in technical capacity to build such solution and secondly I was not able to interpret and develop the idea properly.

FineArt.com.ng is an online art gallery portal designed to celebrate Nigerian Artist; giving younger artist an online present to showcase their talent to the world, and be inspired by the Older or well established Artist, through the Artist-on-Focus section where be celebrate older or well established Nigerian Visual Artists.










Q2:  What experience or idea inspire you to get started with FineArt and what does this mean to you in today’s Nigeria online art industry? (If you can, please attach related photos about that experience )


As I a young artist I have experience the fear of uncertainty of never finding my voice, being unknown, and my talent locked down and never gaining exposure let alone making some money from my Art, this is was push me to explore IT in 2004. I have dream of using IT to expose my Artwork and career to the world, and also to make some money to sustain my passion for Art (even though I have dive too deep to IT as a software and developer for close to 15 year), this is what inspires me to start FineArt.com.ng, although this idea was conceived in 2004 to took me so long to implement it because I was learning to be a programmer and web designer, I was supporting myself in college, I was working, gaining experiences and exposure I needed to fine tune the concept, several attempts was made that never saw the light of the day, not until 2015 when I started redesigning the code and fine-tuning the idea





Q3: What's your technical architecture of your website? How long did your team accomplish the website until it launched?


My website FineArt.com.ng has come a long way, taking different form and name while I learn and put my idea into retrospect. I built the website using simple incremental architecture; that is I build on each function as the need arises, I hate complexity and useless experimentation with visitors’ time, I simple observe the challenges and feedback from my user before implementing the function. It took us three (3) years to get it up and launched, many of this time where spent doing non-technical stuff like talking to artists, and doing some paper works and brainstorming.




Q4: What are your thoughts on the current state of online art services in Nigeria?


When I conceived the idea of online art gallery in Nigeria around 2004, I don’t think there is anything like that in Nigeria, and even when we launched in 2015 I still cannot notice major online art gallery in Nigeria. Currently very few art galleries are embracing technology in connecting with their clients, here people still believe in going to galleries physical to enjoy or buy some good works of art, while running such gallery space can be very expensive in Lagos Island where this galleries are clustered because of high patronage on the Island, so the problem of space in Lagos can be very challenging and many young talented artists can’t afford the high cost of paying galleries. This is what inspires us to startup FineArt.com.ng






Q5:  How did you find your co-founders and employees? What’s the story of how you setup your team? (please attach some team photos and co-founders photos)


I was very open to teaching and motivating younger programmer in my community, overtime I have this number of young people grew, many becomes friends and some later share in my dream. One of the most outstanding people I have such contact with in teaching PHP and MySQL was a young lady name Blessing, who later becomes my wife in 2016 and we recently welcome our first child last September 2018. She shares in my dream and has contributed immensely to sustaining this dream of FineArt.com.ng along with another young man called Toluwalope. For now we are small team of 3 passionate young people doing what we love. Sometime we also get some students coming to join us during their compulsory 6 months industrial training from the University.






Q6: When you guys built the initial products and service, What were the difficulties your team faced and how did you fix them?


One of the major challenges we face is how we want FineArt.com.ng (although then we have not agreed on the name) will be run; idea of limiting number of works to be uploaded by each artist, challenges of convincing artist as at 2005 or 2006 to visit this strange website to upload the pictures of their artworks was strange and terrifying to some of them, some even suspect and accuse us that we may expose their art concept to be stolen by other artist online, financial challenges was the least challenges them because we are sure we are not going to be making money then. Anyway most of this challenges where taken care of as social media started gaining popularity everything was blown open, everybody is now finding their voices online, and there is very little challenges about one artist idea being stolen as everyone is now putting up the pictures of their artwork everywhere, so that tension just goes away with time.





Q7: How did you get initial money to start the business? Did you raise some investment from some angel investors like other internet companies?



We did not raise money through some angel investors when we are starting, as I said my small team of three (3) are friends, so they support the dream on part-time basis while maintaining their full-time jobs, the cost of hosting the site is from my other IT company. It was worth to note that when we started angel investors sees no reason to put their money in out startup because the physical art gallery is still new and gaining more attention. Although as I talk to you we are currently pitching FineArt.com.ng to investors to enable us grow beyond our current level.



Q8: How did you attract new users to your website and use your software?  What are the useful operation methods you can share?


I am a visual artist myself, and while studying in college I have lots of artist friends whom I also connect with on social media, therefore introducing them to FineArt.com.ng so my passion for art is what has kept us going, and the love of younger artists in giving them a platform to showcase there artworks is motivation behind we getting users to register with us. So the LOVE for what we do and the LOVE for the people concern is the key operation method.






Q9: Have you experienced startup failures before? If YES, what did you learn from it?


FineArt.com.ng was initially a fail startup 2005 to 2008, so we quickly learn how lesson by understanding that we launched too prematurely with wrong motives of how-do-we-make-money-from-this to let’s-just-do-what-we-love-and-have-fun so there is no pressure on us for now, so we are just having fun.






Q10: How did you grow your revenue? What’s the story behind how you got your first revenue from clients?


As I said earlier the initial startup fund was from my other IT business and currently we are looking at getting some investors



Q11: How to attract buyers give orders on your site? 

The idea of FineArt.com.ng is to connect buyer directly to seller, and for now we make the process so simple, that an order places by the buyer appears at an in-mail to the seller, giving the seller the opportunity to reach the buyer directly.



Q12: How do you ensure sellers quality in your site?


I simply spell out the terms of condition to the sellers, and ensure they comply.


Q13: What’s your goals for your business? Why do that goals are important  for you?


My goal is to provide all Nigerian/African artists the opportunity to showcase their artworks to the world without hindrance. And motivates them by celebrating the older or well established artist, and recently we have started celebrating even some of this new and younger artist as well.



Q14: What’s your views on your competitors?


Competitors are very important, the keep you on your toes, however we are more focus on our goals knowing that the environment here varies from that which is obtainable in Europe or America. Ours is majorly for the local market for now.





Q15: How do you keep learning? Where do you go to learn more?


Apart from graduating from college, where I have learnt the basics and formal processes of Art in Nigeria, the internet is now one big open university for my continues learning, I also invest a whole lot on printed books (home library).




Q16: What do you do on a daily or a weekly basis that you think is important in terms of forming your opinions on the Africa art industry?


I study and learn on a daily basis, if I am not busy working on a web/software projects or painting/drawing in my study. Over the weekend I most time access my progress or review that which I have done during the weekdays, and sometime I attends Art exhibitions or talks around Lagos.



Q17: What’s  your biggest surprise over the last three, four years on software and internet industry where you have been working? What happened that you didn’t expect?


It takes a whole lot to remain focus in this era of information overloading or outbursts on the internet. And new technologies keep popping up every day and someone somewhere is expecting you to know it all.
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Views

Is agricultural business not a rosy future for the young Nigerians now? Grospam gave a different answer.

Africalocals team posted the article • 0 comments • 322 views • 2018-12-20 10:07 • data from similar tags

Q1: What's your background, what were you working on before this startup Grospam, What's your work experience before this startup, Can you introduce your business to us?

I am Osemudiamhen V.  Aimiosior from Edo state (Ewato south east of Nigeria, Africa).i grew up in a middle class community in Lagos, a family of five with three children including myself (two boys and a girl).

I attended St. Bernadette nursery and primary school in gowon estate lagos, where after my graduation got admitted to Christ the king catholic college (C.K.C.C) odoleu ijebu ode, Ogun state. I completed my secondary school education in the year 2008/2009 academic calendar before furthering my education by going to Ghana to attend university of Ghana, Legon where I completed my studies with a bachelor degree in psychology in 2012 but had to wait two more years to formally graduate due to some complications which was resolved by 2014, after which I went for my National youth corps service (NYSC).
 


I am a very passionate patriot of my country Nigeria, it fuels my every decision and is one of the driving force that supports my endeavour in life and business.

I love football and was a very good player in my younger days in school (I was a striker), I love reading business & personal development books, and I am also an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Management Nigeria (NIM).





Q2:  What experience or idea inspire you to get started with Grospam and what does this mean to you in today’s Nigeria agriculture industry? (If you can, please attach related photos about that experience )

I started Grospam during my NYSC in sokoto state (A state in the upper northern part of Nigeria). The birth of Grospam (Officially) was aligned by the stars, I say this because I remember applying for a loan to fund my business during my NYSC, I got selected and was asked to register my business if they were ever going to fund it for us, that was what lead to Grospam getting officially registered October, 2016.

Before the creation of grospam I previously have a cake business (was building it into a cup cake and ice cream franchise, but my soul was calling me for something bigger so I cut it loose to focus on Grospam). It has always been my dream to create products and services that developed Nigeria on a large scale. I started Grospam right after my university education and focused more intensively on it after my NYSC program.

I have worked in a few prominent establishments mostly during the holidays during my university days but I never stayed for more than one month, I just couldn’t sit down doing some work while there are many things (opportunities) wrong outside waiting for someone to fix, so most of the time I always ended my contract even sometimes without pay which I really didn’t care much about at that time.
Gropam is an agricultural company from Nigeria, the company grospam was birth due to my commitment to a better Nigeria. We are set out to advances the Nigerian (African) agricultural system, provide food and resource needed to develop people and nations. We believe with the right knowledge, quality and skilled people more can be done in the Nigerian agricultural industry, and not only farming but mass industrialization of commodities.  


Grospam is divided into three departments; we have the commercial farming department, the agribusiness service department (Providing agribusiness finances, and other related services to technically improve the effectiveness and efficiency in the agricultural sector and finally the manufacturing and processing (level I & II). Grospam is a very small company but we are convinced we are building on the right part. We also just put out a new (Minimum viable product) into the market to watch its development and scale it up as soon as possible.




Q3: What's your technical architecture of your website fudafrick? How long did your team accomplish  the website until it launched?

The technical architecture of our website fudafrick- the main reason we put out the platform was for people living outside Nigeria to purchase locally made food stuffs and get it delivered to their doorstep, while having a happy experience when purchasing Nigeria food stuffs off the platform and living good life without any burden all from the website with their address credit/debit card.

Q4: What are your thoughts on the current state of agriculture business in Nigeria?

The Nigerian agricultural landscape is very promising, and I say so, firstly because of global population growth- not only in the areas of food production but processing of raw material to other value added products for other industries. Nigeria’s agricultural sector is still at its juvenile stage (with all the investment and campaigns towards the industry). Nigeria’s agricultural sector accounts for 40% of our GDP and provides employment for about 60% of Nigeria’s 170 million plus people.

Looking at the Nigerian agricultural sector within the last five years a lot has been done to promote and develop the industry with regards to funding, technical assistance, man power development, and policies to facilitate these development. A major contributing factor to the slow down in the industries development and Nigeria as a country not quick to harness the potentials of the sector is largely due to inadequate business structuring knowledge, self-destructive attitudes and decision (both by the people and government) and the non-shift in paradigm as seeing agriculture as a large contributor to our industrialization (many find it hard to transition from farming crops to setting up a bankable structural business that adds value through processes and technical knowhow).

I remember I read from an online newspaper source (www.m.guardian.ng/business) it was very insightful because looking at the history and development of the first world countries you  will be amazed to find out that they have had less and less people working in the agricultural sector without any significant or next to zero drop in production output. In England roughly 75% of the population were into farming by 1700, by 1841 only 22%; in USA 90% in 1830 by 1870 it was 50% and by 2008 just 2%, in chain the trend can be seen (Number don’t lie) 80% by 1990 it was down to 60% and at 2015 it was 28%. It is no news that Nigeria was in a time in history (In the 60’s) one of the biggest agricultural producing countries, and more than 40 years after we are still looking to employ more people into the agricultural sector, this is really bad and very backwards. A good policies that I feel can fast track our development could be having as a requirement for companies; them show a validated road map/plan on how they will industrialize their business that provides job for a minimum number of people, I think that could work.

Yes agriculture can and in the past has been used to elevate a country and its people but if and when a fewer people are not in the farms but in industries and developing other sectors of the economy .




Q5:  How did you find your co-founders and employees? What’s the story of how you setup your team? (please attach some team photos and co-founders photos)

I did not have a co-founder at the beginning of Grospam



Q6: When you guys built the initial products and service, What were the difficulties your team faced and how did you fix them?

The very first product we launched was package chicken meat, I remember vividly one of our major challenge was our product handling we were always not getting the standards we wanted, and it was always difficult, one, because we were small.  We have been able to learn from it so I went for further studies about our product production, it was clear we had to remodel, fix and adjust our operations (which involved starting all over again).


Q7: How did you get initial money to start the business?

I was able to get funding at the beginning from my family members most especially my mum and a little money I had in my account.

Q8: How did you attract new users to your website and use your products?  What are the useful operation methods you can share?

Talking about “fudafrick” I would like to say we are actually preparing to remodel the website (due to our newly found knowledge on our company operations).we have been using the leverage social media as offered us and networking with people we know. We use a lot of pictorial graphics on social media and some curated post that are relevant to our brand.



Q9: Have you experienced startup failures before? If YES, what did you learn from it?

I have experienced failures several times some outside the works of Grospam, but I have learnt a thing or two from theme, to mention a few:
Knowledge and a unique insight about whatever business or endeavour you want to embark on is key to your sustainability, note I didn’t say success, because success is a mix of many ingredients and knowledge is just one of them.Have a plan before taking any form of riskNever settle for anything less than the very best in whatever you do or say
Your company will be built on giving the customer solution and anything that makes them better humans.


Q10: How did you grow your revenue? What’s the story behind how you got your first revenue from clients?

During our first year in business we had a huge negative on our balance sheets, our finance was in a dreadful condition. A huge chunk of our revenue was coming from one single client of ours (we got this client through a family referral).

Q11: What operational data you can share? The user amounts, revenues, employee numbers, GMV, etc.

 Grospam was built with about N2.5 million plus in cash, employed about 6 (six) people directly and indirectly  (everything vanished into thin air, with us having losses and debts to pay our suppliers), hard times.we learnt from it and we are growing the company all over again with the proper structures to make it work and the journey feels good; and the future looks visible and known.

Q12: How do you ensure your agriculture product quality and security  in your site? Such as chicken and fertilizer?

We put in place processes and structures to ensure we get the very best product to the end user and also try to educate our workers .

Q13: What’s your goals for your business? Why do that goals are important  for you?

Our present go as a company is to scale and develop our dried bitter leave MVP in the market and increase production output to our targeted planed figure within 3years.

Q14: What’s your view on your competitors?

Our clients and consumers are the only thing we see, we know who they are (The competitors), that’s all I can say.


Q15: How do you keep learning? Where do you go to learn more?

I love to read “educative” books, researching and observing people’s behaviour towards events in life and life itself, whatever I observe in other people that piss me off or I find displeasing I try to work on it in my life,  I also learn on a different level through private silent meditations.


Q16: What do you do on a daily or a weekly basis that you think is important in terms of forming your opinions on the agriculture industry?

I subscribe to relevant sources of information and news, I do a lot of research and go for seminars when I can.


 
 
 
  view all
Q1: What's your background, what were you working on before this startup Grospam, What's your work experience before this startup, Can you introduce your business to us?

I am Osemudiamhen V.  Aimiosior from Edo state (Ewato south east of Nigeria, Africa).i grew up in a middle class community in Lagos, a family of five with three children including myself (two boys and a girl).

I attended St. Bernadette nursery and primary school in gowon estate lagos, where after my graduation got admitted to Christ the king catholic college (C.K.C.C) odoleu ijebu ode, Ogun state. I completed my secondary school education in the year 2008/2009 academic calendar before furthering my education by going to Ghana to attend university of Ghana, Legon where I completed my studies with a bachelor degree in psychology in 2012 but had to wait two more years to formally graduate due to some complications which was resolved by 2014, after which I went for my National youth corps service (NYSC).

 


I am a very passionate patriot of my country Nigeria, it fuels my every decision and is one of the driving force that supports my endeavour in life and business.

I love football and was a very good player in my younger days in school (I was a striker), I love reading business & personal development books, and I am also an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Management Nigeria (NIM).






Q2:  What experience or idea inspire you to get started with Grospam and what does this mean to you in today’s Nigeria agriculture industry? (If you can, please attach related photos about that experience )

I started Grospam during my NYSC in sokoto state (A state in the upper northern part of Nigeria). The birth of Grospam (Officially) was aligned by the stars, I say this because I remember applying for a loan to fund my business during my NYSC, I got selected and was asked to register my business if they were ever going to fund it for us, that was what lead to Grospam getting officially registered October, 2016.

Before the creation of grospam I previously have a cake business (was building it into a cup cake and ice cream franchise, but my soul was calling me for something bigger so I cut it loose to focus on Grospam). It has always been my dream to create products and services that developed Nigeria on a large scale. I started Grospam right after my university education and focused more intensively on it after my NYSC program.

I have worked in a few prominent establishments mostly during the holidays during my university days but I never stayed for more than one month, I just couldn’t sit down doing some work while there are many things (opportunities) wrong outside waiting for someone to fix, so most of the time I always ended my contract even sometimes without pay which I really didn’t care much about at that time.
Gropam is an agricultural company from Nigeria, the company grospam was birth due to my commitment to a better Nigeria. We are set out to advances the Nigerian (African) agricultural system, provide food and resource needed to develop people and nations. We believe with the right knowledge, quality and skilled people more can be done in the Nigerian agricultural industry, and not only farming but mass industrialization of commodities.  


Grospam is divided into three departments; we have the commercial farming department, the agribusiness service department (Providing agribusiness finances, and other related services to technically improve the effectiveness and efficiency in the agricultural sector and finally the manufacturing and processing (level I & II). Grospam is a very small company but we are convinced we are building on the right part. We also just put out a new (Minimum viable product) into the market to watch its development and scale it up as soon as possible.





Q3: What's your technical architecture of your website fudafrick? How long did your team accomplish  the website until it launched?

The technical architecture of our website fudafrick- the main reason we put out the platform was for people living outside Nigeria to purchase locally made food stuffs and get it delivered to their doorstep, while having a happy experience when purchasing Nigeria food stuffs off the platform and living good life without any burden all from the website with their address credit/debit card.

Q4: What are your thoughts on the current state of agriculture business in Nigeria?

The Nigerian agricultural landscape is very promising, and I say so, firstly because of global population growth- not only in the areas of food production but processing of raw material to other value added products for other industries. Nigeria’s agricultural sector is still at its juvenile stage (with all the investment and campaigns towards the industry). Nigeria’s agricultural sector accounts for 40% of our GDP and provides employment for about 60% of Nigeria’s 170 million plus people.

Looking at the Nigerian agricultural sector within the last five years a lot has been done to promote and develop the industry with regards to funding, technical assistance, man power development, and policies to facilitate these development. A major contributing factor to the slow down in the industries development and Nigeria as a country not quick to harness the potentials of the sector is largely due to inadequate business structuring knowledge, self-destructive attitudes and decision (both by the people and government) and the non-shift in paradigm as seeing agriculture as a large contributor to our industrialization (many find it hard to transition from farming crops to setting up a bankable structural business that adds value through processes and technical knowhow).

I remember I read from an online newspaper source (www.m.guardian.ng/business) it was very insightful because looking at the history and development of the first world countries you  will be amazed to find out that they have had less and less people working in the agricultural sector without any significant or next to zero drop in production output. In England roughly 75% of the population were into farming by 1700, by 1841 only 22%; in USA 90% in 1830 by 1870 it was 50% and by 2008 just 2%, in chain the trend can be seen (Number don’t lie) 80% by 1990 it was down to 60% and at 2015 it was 28%. It is no news that Nigeria was in a time in history (In the 60’s) one of the biggest agricultural producing countries, and more than 40 years after we are still looking to employ more people into the agricultural sector, this is really bad and very backwards. A good policies that I feel can fast track our development could be having as a requirement for companies; them show a validated road map/plan on how they will industrialize their business that provides job for a minimum number of people, I think that could work.

Yes agriculture can and in the past has been used to elevate a country and its people but if and when a fewer people are not in the farms but in industries and developing other sectors of the economy .





Q5:  How did you find your co-founders and employees? What’s the story of how you setup your team? (please attach some team photos and co-founders photos)

I did not have a co-founder at the beginning of Grospam



Q6: When you guys built the initial products and service, What were the difficulties your team faced and how did you fix them?

The very first product we launched was package chicken meat, I remember vividly one of our major challenge was our product handling we were always not getting the standards we wanted, and it was always difficult, one, because we were small.  We have been able to learn from it so I went for further studies about our product production, it was clear we had to remodel, fix and adjust our operations (which involved starting all over again).


Q7: How did you get initial money to start the business?

I was able to get funding at the beginning from my family members most especially my mum and a little money I had in my account.

Q8: How did you attract new users to your website and use your products?  What are the useful operation methods you can share?

Talking about “fudafrick” I would like to say we are actually preparing to remodel the website (due to our newly found knowledge on our company operations).we have been using the leverage social media as offered us and networking with people we know. We use a lot of pictorial graphics on social media and some curated post that are relevant to our brand.



Q9: Have you experienced startup failures before? If YES, what did you learn from it?

I have experienced failures several times some outside the works of Grospam, but I have learnt a thing or two from theme, to mention a few:
  • Knowledge and a unique insight about whatever business or endeavour you want to embark on is key to your sustainability, note I didn’t say success, because success is a mix of many ingredients and knowledge is just one of them.
  • Have a plan before taking any form of risk
  • Never settle for anything less than the very best in whatever you do or say

  • Your company will be built on giving the customer solution and anything that makes them better humans.



Q10: How did you grow your revenue? What’s the story behind how you got your first revenue from clients?

During our first year in business we had a huge negative on our balance sheets, our finance was in a dreadful condition. A huge chunk of our revenue was coming from one single client of ours (we got this client through a family referral).

Q11: What operational data you can share? The user amounts, revenues, employee numbers, GMV, etc.

 Grospam was built with about N2.5 million plus in cash, employed about 6 (six) people directly and indirectly  (everything vanished into thin air, with us having losses and debts to pay our suppliers), hard times.we learnt from it and we are growing the company all over again with the proper structures to make it work and the journey feels good; and the future looks visible and known.

Q12: How do you ensure your agriculture product quality and security  in your site? Such as chicken and fertilizer?

We put in place processes and structures to ensure we get the very best product to the end user and also try to educate our workers .

Q13: What’s your goals for your business? Why do that goals are important  for you?

Our present go as a company is to scale and develop our dried bitter leave MVP in the market and increase production output to our targeted planed figure within 3years.

Q14: What’s your view on your competitors?

Our clients and consumers are the only thing we see, we know who they are (The competitors), that’s all I can say.


Q15: How do you keep learning? Where do you go to learn more?

I love to read “educative” books, researching and observing people’s behaviour towards events in life and life itself, whatever I observe in other people that piss me off or I find displeasing I try to work on it in my life,  I also learn on a different level through private silent meditations.


Q16: What do you do on a daily or a weekly basis that you think is important in terms of forming your opinions on the agriculture industry?

I subscribe to relevant sources of information and news, I do a lot of research and go for seminars when I can.


 
 
 
 
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Wanna have your own online wedding catalogue? Two young Nigerian techpreneur built a new fashion wedding service platform

Africalocals team posted the article • 0 comments • 209 views • 2018-12-13 17:03 • data from similar tags

The following is a transcript of a conversation between Africalocals team and Oyetayo Oyewolu, Co-Founder of Palmfront, about wedding service and startup experience.Palmfront is an online wedding catalogue with a collection of different wedding solutions aimed at helping couples plan and communicate their wedding easily. With Palmfront couple easily reach out to wedding vendors, communicate wedding details, select preferred gifts, tell love story and share wedding pictures with friends and family.
 

 
 Q1: What's your background, what were you working on before this startup Palmfront, What's your work experience, Can you introduce your business to our users?

Oyetayo Oyewolu: My name is Oyetayo Oyewolu, a techpreneur based in Nigeria. I am the  Co-founder and CEO of Palmfront [www.palmfront.com], an online wedding planning platform. Before launching Palmfront back in August 2015, I worked on two early stage startups namely Monitor9ja.com which was an information portal for Nigerian news and allsoccerplanet.com a football information site.
 


Q2:  What experience or idea inspire you to get started with Palmfront and what does this mean to you in today’s Nigeria wedding service industry?

Oyetayo Oyewolu: The inspiration was birthed after seeing the void of wedtech solutions in Nigeria and Africa at large. Palmfront which is the 1st of its kind in Africa serves as a multi-solution wedding planning platform that has been able to infuse the use of technology into the wedding planning process.

Q3: What's your technical architecture of your website? 

Oyetayo Oyewolu: Palmfront provides users with an easy to use wedding planning web application.

Q4: What are your thoughts on the current state of wedding services in Nigeria?

Oyetayo Oyewolu: Personally, I feel wedding services in Nigeria is growing and constantly evolving. From the introduction of wedding exhibitions and trainings for wedding professionals to the innovation of wed-tech solutions, the Nigerian wedding industry has been able to gain lots of relevance at a global scale.

Q5:  How did you find your co-founder and employees? What’s the story of how you setup your team?

Oyetayo Oyewolu: My co-founder [Dimeji Onatunde] and I are childhood friends. We attended the same high-school and have also worked on previous projects together. In establishing the rest of the team, the principal thing we put into consideration was getting people onboard that had the skill set we were lacking.  
 


Q6: When you guys built the initial products and service, What were the difficulties your team faced and how did you fix them?

Oyetayo Oyewolu: We released the beta test version of Palmfront August 2015 making it possible for us to test the application with actual users. At first, the whole system was new to users most especially the non-tech savvy audience but as time went on we were able to get feedback from user which now helped us to commence full operations in August 2017.

Q7: How did you get initial money to start the business?

Oyetayo Oyewolu: Well at the start we didn’t source for external funding, we were able to bootstrap and get support from family and friends. 

Q8: How did you attract users to your website and What are the useful operation methods you can share?

Oyetayo Oyewolu: There are different ways we attract users. The fact that Palmfront solves more than one wedding planning challenge couples experience when planning a wedding was a big plus, we majorly leverage on various digital marketing techniques and most especially referral marketing.

Q9: Have you experienced startup failures before? If YES, what did you learn from it?


Oyetayo Oyewolu: Yes, I’ve experienced startup failure with my first startup [Monitor9ja] and what I learnt was that your team plays pivotal role in the success of a startup. There as to be a great level of understanding and communication between team members before a startup can succeed.

Q10: How did you grow your revenue? What’s the story behind how you got your first revenue from clients?

Oyetayo Oyewolu: Palmfront in its beta testing days was a totally free to use application, this was to get users on board easily. But as time went on, when we launched the full application and introduced premium packages, users were open to the new features that were added and didn’t mind paying a subscription fee to use this features.     

Q11: What operational data you can share? The user amounts, revenues, employee numbers ,etc.

Oyetayo Oyewolu: Since we commenced full operation in August 2017, we’ve had over 700 registered couples.

Q12: What’s your goals for your business? 

Oyetayo Oyewolu: Our goal is to serve as a collection of different wedding solutions that would help to-be-weds in planning and communicating their wedding effectively.



Q13: What’s your view on your competitors? 

Oyetayo Oyewolu: We have quite a number of competitors, but our advantage still remains that we are a one-stop shop for more than one wedding planning need.


Q14: How do you keep learning? Where do you go to learn more?

Oyetayo Oyewolu: Learning plays a pivotal role in all our decision making process. We ensure that we get time to time feedbacks from our users in other to help us learn and understand what the users really want.

Q15: What do you do on a daily or a weekly basis that you think is important in terms of forming your opinions on the wedding service?

Oyetayo Oyewolu: Our entire users are assigned an account officer who keeps in touch with users on regular basis.
 
 
 
 
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The following is a transcript of a conversation between Africalocals team and Oyetayo Oyewolu, Co-Founder of Palmfront, about wedding service and startup experience.Palmfront is an online wedding catalogue with a collection of different wedding solutions aimed at helping couples plan and communicate their wedding easily. With Palmfront couple easily reach out to wedding vendors, communicate wedding details, select preferred gifts, tell love story and share wedding pictures with friends and family.
 

 
 Q1: What's your background, what were you working on before this startup Palmfront, What's your work experience, Can you introduce your business to our users?

Oyetayo Oyewolu: My name is Oyetayo Oyewolu, a techpreneur based in Nigeria. I am the  Co-founder and CEO of Palmfront [www.palmfront.com], an online wedding planning platform. Before launching Palmfront back in August 2015, I worked on two early stage startups namely Monitor9ja.com which was an information portal for Nigerian news and allsoccerplanet.com a football information site.
 


Q2:  What experience or idea inspire you to get started with Palmfront and what does this mean to you in today’s Nigeria wedding service industry?

Oyetayo Oyewolu: The inspiration was birthed after seeing the void of wedtech solutions in Nigeria and Africa at large. Palmfront which is the 1st of its kind in Africa serves as a multi-solution wedding planning platform that has been able to infuse the use of technology into the wedding planning process.

Q3: What's your technical architecture of your website? 

Oyetayo Oyewolu: Palmfront provides users with an easy to use wedding planning web application.

Q4: What are your thoughts on the current state of wedding services in Nigeria?

Oyetayo Oyewolu: Personally, I feel wedding services in Nigeria is growing and constantly evolving. From the introduction of wedding exhibitions and trainings for wedding professionals to the innovation of wed-tech solutions, the Nigerian wedding industry has been able to gain lots of relevance at a global scale.

Q5:  How did you find your co-founder and employees? What’s the story of how you setup your team?

Oyetayo Oyewolu: My co-founder [Dimeji Onatunde] and I are childhood friends. We attended the same high-school and have also worked on previous projects together. In establishing the rest of the team, the principal thing we put into consideration was getting people onboard that had the skill set we were lacking.  
 


Q6: When you guys built the initial products and service, What were the difficulties your team faced and how did you fix them?

Oyetayo Oyewolu: We released the beta test version of Palmfront August 2015 making it possible for us to test the application with actual users. At first, the whole system was new to users most especially the non-tech savvy audience but as time went on we were able to get feedback from user which now helped us to commence full operations in August 2017.

Q7: How did you get initial money to start the business?

Oyetayo Oyewolu: Well at the start we didn’t source for external funding, we were able to bootstrap and get support from family and friends. 

Q8: How did you attract users to your website and What are the useful operation methods you can share?

Oyetayo Oyewolu: There are different ways we attract users. The fact that Palmfront solves more than one wedding planning challenge couples experience when planning a wedding was a big plus, we majorly leverage on various digital marketing techniques and most especially referral marketing.

Q9: Have you experienced startup failures before? If YES, what did you learn from it?


Oyetayo Oyewolu: Yes, I’ve experienced startup failure with my first startup [Monitor9ja] and what I learnt was that your team plays pivotal role in the success of a startup. There as to be a great level of understanding and communication between team members before a startup can succeed.

Q10: How did you grow your revenue? What’s the story behind how you got your first revenue from clients?

Oyetayo Oyewolu: Palmfront in its beta testing days was a totally free to use application, this was to get users on board easily. But as time went on, when we launched the full application and introduced premium packages, users were open to the new features that were added and didn’t mind paying a subscription fee to use this features.     

Q11: What operational data you can share? The user amounts, revenues, employee numbers ,etc.

Oyetayo Oyewolu: Since we commenced full operation in August 2017, we’ve had over 700 registered couples.

Q12: What’s your goals for your business? 

Oyetayo Oyewolu: Our goal is to serve as a collection of different wedding solutions that would help to-be-weds in planning and communicating their wedding effectively.



Q13: What’s your view on your competitors? 

Oyetayo Oyewolu: We have quite a number of competitors, but our advantage still remains that we are a one-stop shop for more than one wedding planning need.


Q14: How do you keep learning? Where do you go to learn more?

Oyetayo Oyewolu: Learning plays a pivotal role in all our decision making process. We ensure that we get time to time feedbacks from our users in other to help us learn and understand what the users really want.

Q15: What do you do on a daily or a weekly basis that you think is important in terms of forming your opinions on the wedding service?

Oyetayo Oyewolu: Our entire users are assigned an account officer who keeps in touch with users on regular basis.
 
 
 
 
      
169
Views

Who is your biggest supporter in life?

linda replied • 3 users followed • 2 replies • 169 views • 2016-10-30 14:59 • data from similar tags