Founder Story

Founder Story

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Views

"Airbnb-style" also can be used for transporters in South Africa, the startup GetTruck make the booking time can be between 10 minutes to 2 hours.

OthersAfricalocals team posted the article • 0 comments • 307 views • 2019-06-24 04:46 • data from similar tags

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

Back in 2017 i studied audio engineering, it was a 3 years course but i decided to drop out of college to pursue GetTruck full-time. 
I have very limited work experience, you can say GetTruck was my first job.

GetTruck is an online platform that aims to help clients who relocating homes find reliable transporters without the hassle of paperwork

Q2: How did you get into the transportation and programming world? How did that happen?

I have always had an interest in computing, i taught myself programming back in high school and fell in love with it ever since.

My father owns a transportation company called Mr Cheap Transport which deals with home removals and about 4 years back the company took a massive dip in revenue. That was all due to the digital disruption. 

GetTruck was a concept in order to solve most these issues within Mr Cheap Transport, basically i took the concept and made it reality by building the initial prototype.
Basically, i grew up in the industry and i understand how tough the transportation industry really is.

Q3:  What experience or idea inspires you to get started with gettruck.co.za and what does this mean to your potential users in South Africa? 

Growing up in the industry, very little people actually know how much effort goes into moving a home or flat. There are so many moving parts to it such as having a good workforce, quality drivers and so forth. 

There are a ton of home removals companies out there but a large majority of them don’t have any trained workforce and in some cases untrained drivers.

I am inspired to change this throughout the industry by providing those things to transporting companies and as well as providing excellent transporters to our clients.

Q4: How  GetTruck works? What are the services you can offer on your website? How did you find users who wanna buy your services? Why did drivers and transporters willing to use your services? How can you make transportation costs lower than before?

GetTruck works by a client who wants to move home or flat coming to the site and filling out our form. What we do is then send that move request to our network of transporters who are closest to the client’s area and they provide a quote on that move. The client will automatically receive the transporters quote.

They can choose to accept the quote and pay the booking fee online, once payment is confirmed, they will receive a calendar event and the transporter profile with full details. Both remain anonymous until booking is confirmed through payment.

Due to the nature of this, the booking time can be between 10 minutes to 2 hours. Depending on the network of transporting companies. Keep in mind that the industry average is 1 - 2 days, we have managed to bring that process down to an average of 30 minutes.




Q5: What are your thoughts on the current state of online transportation services in South Africa? How can your services help users?


Their are a few services that attempt to do an Uber-style home removals service but their are a few key issues with that model.
Instead of disrupting the industry, we intend on taking what exists and make it more manageable and formal. 



Q6:  How did you find your co-founders and employees? What's the story of how you set up your team?

At this point, my father is also a founder as he has a lot more experience with the industry. I am jumped on board to get the project rolling. So now it is mostly just myself that is working on growing the company as my father is way to busy working on an exit strategy for Mr Cheap Transport, so that he can work full time on GetTruck.
 





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


There was a lot of confusion between my father and i between which model do we go for. A more Uber-style one or more of a Airbnb-style one. Personally i think this was the biggest challenge but at the end i made a convincing argument on why the Airbnb-style was a better fit at this point.


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


We are actually self-funded. I don’t truly believe in the whole “funding-is-requirement” idea that the startup world makes it seem.


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?

We do a lot of email marketing and we recently launched GetTruck News where users can read all about what’s happening at GetTruck.
We also do ads on Facebook, Google and so forth


Q10: How can you get drivers and transporters to your platform? How can you fix transaction disputes? Can you recommend one successful user example from your website? What did he get after he used your services? What is the link to it? 

The payment process is a very tricky area. We just add a markup to the transporter’s quote and the client pays us the markup in order to process the quote. Once paid the client and transporter receives the balance of what needs to be paid.


Q11: How did you grow your revenue? What's the story behind how you got your first revenue from clients?


Pretty simple, the selling point of GetTruck is that we get you a reliable transporter to move your home/flat goods without any hassle. Users love this, they absolutely dislike paperwork and want a quick and easy solution, so this fits into how we market to them



Q12: What is the advice do you have for newcomers who want to get into the area?


Focus on the customer, as you not dealing with their furniture. Items that they hold dear, if you show their goods as much love and care as they would. You will succeed in so many areas that transporting companies fail


Q13: What're your goals for your business?  Why do those goals are important for you?

Like i mentioned earlier, we intend on formalizing the industry. This is the end goal of GetTruck/ 


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

I learn something new everyday. Being the CTO, i have to keep up with what’s happening in the tech space. I attend a large amount of meetup, i run a co-working space as well as i work a lot on open-source projects. I host the Vue.js in Cape Town meetup and do part-time lecturing on programming

I would say that meetups are the most important thing if you really want to connect with people and the understand the industry.







Q15: 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?

The internet is a massive place, their are so many things going on but the biggest surprise is just how big of a community the software space is! The software industry probably has the biggest community in the world and i am honored to be apart of it.
 





Q16: What's your plan for your business in the next months? What's your business roadmap for next year?

We intend on focusing on building revenue and make the client UX as smooth as possible, so a a lot of progressive enhancement 

Q17: Where can we know more official info about you and your companies?

We are still working on a transporter portal, but you can find out what’s happening at GetTruck News which is our very own blogging platform.





  view all
Q1: Hi, Shailen, What's your education background, what were you working on before this startup gettruck.co.za. What's your work experience, Can you introduce your business to our users?

Back in 2017 i studied audio engineering, it was a 3 years course but i decided to drop out of college to pursue GetTruck full-time. 
I have very limited work experience, you can say GetTruck was my first job.

GetTruck is an online platform that aims to help clients who relocating homes find reliable transporters without the hassle of paperwork

Q2: How did you get into the transportation and programming world? How did that happen?

I have always had an interest in computing, i taught myself programming back in high school and fell in love with it ever since.

My father owns a transportation company called Mr Cheap Transport which deals with home removals and about 4 years back the company took a massive dip in revenue. That was all due to the digital disruption. 

GetTruck was a concept in order to solve most these issues within Mr Cheap Transport, basically i took the concept and made it reality by building the initial prototype.
Basically, i grew up in the industry and i understand how tough the transportation industry really is.

Q3:  What experience or idea inspires you to get started with gettruck.co.za and what does this mean to your potential users in South Africa? 

Growing up in the industry, very little people actually know how much effort goes into moving a home or flat. There are so many moving parts to it such as having a good workforce, quality drivers and so forth. 

There are a ton of home removals companies out there but a large majority of them don’t have any trained workforce and in some cases untrained drivers.

I am inspired to change this throughout the industry by providing those things to transporting companies and as well as providing excellent transporters to our clients.

Q4: How  GetTruck works? What are the services you can offer on your website? How did you find users who wanna buy your services? Why did drivers and transporters willing to use your services? How can you make transportation costs lower than before?

GetTruck works by a client who wants to move home or flat coming to the site and filling out our form. What we do is then send that move request to our network of transporters who are closest to the client’s area and they provide a quote on that move. The client will automatically receive the transporters quote.

They can choose to accept the quote and pay the booking fee online, once payment is confirmed, they will receive a calendar event and the transporter profile with full details. Both remain anonymous until booking is confirmed through payment.

Due to the nature of this, the booking time can be between 10 minutes to 2 hours. Depending on the network of transporting companies. Keep in mind that the industry average is 1 - 2 days, we have managed to bring that process down to an average of 30 minutes.




Q5: What are your thoughts on the current state of online transportation services in South Africa? How can your services help users?


Their are a few services that attempt to do an Uber-style home removals service but their are a few key issues with that model.
Instead of disrupting the industry, we intend on taking what exists and make it more manageable and formal. 



Q6:  How did you find your co-founders and employees? What's the story of how you set up your team?

At this point, my father is also a founder as he has a lot more experience with the industry. I am jumped on board to get the project rolling. So now it is mostly just myself that is working on growing the company as my father is way to busy working on an exit strategy for Mr Cheap Transport, so that he can work full time on GetTruck.
 





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


There was a lot of confusion between my father and i between which model do we go for. A more Uber-style one or more of a Airbnb-style one. Personally i think this was the biggest challenge but at the end i made a convincing argument on why the Airbnb-style was a better fit at this point.


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


We are actually self-funded. I don’t truly believe in the whole “funding-is-requirement” idea that the startup world makes it seem.


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?

We do a lot of email marketing and we recently launched GetTruck News where users can read all about what’s happening at GetTruck.
We also do ads on Facebook, Google and so forth


Q10: How can you get drivers and transporters to your platform? How can you fix transaction disputes? Can you recommend one successful user example from your website? What did he get after he used your services? What is the link to it? 

The payment process is a very tricky area. We just add a markup to the transporter’s quote and the client pays us the markup in order to process the quote. Once paid the client and transporter receives the balance of what needs to be paid.


Q11: How did you grow your revenue? What's the story behind how you got your first revenue from clients?


Pretty simple, the selling point of GetTruck is that we get you a reliable transporter to move your home/flat goods without any hassle. Users love this, they absolutely dislike paperwork and want a quick and easy solution, so this fits into how we market to them



Q12: What is the advice do you have for newcomers who want to get into the area?


Focus on the customer, as you not dealing with their furniture. Items that they hold dear, if you show their goods as much love and care as they would. You will succeed in so many areas that transporting companies fail


Q13: What're your goals for your business?  Why do those goals are important for you?

Like i mentioned earlier, we intend on formalizing the industry. This is the end goal of GetTruck/ 


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

I learn something new everyday. Being the CTO, i have to keep up with what’s happening in the tech space. I attend a large amount of meetup, i run a co-working space as well as i work a lot on open-source projects. I host the Vue.js in Cape Town meetup and do part-time lecturing on programming

I would say that meetups are the most important thing if you really want to connect with people and the understand the industry.







Q15: 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?

The internet is a massive place, their are so many things going on but the biggest surprise is just how big of a community the software space is! The software industry probably has the biggest community in the world and i am honored to be apart of it.
 





Q16: What's your plan for your business in the next months? What's your business roadmap for next year?

We intend on focusing on building revenue and make the client UX as smooth as possible, so a a lot of progressive enhancement 

Q17: Where can we know more official info about you and your companies?

We are still working on a transporter portal, but you can find out what’s happening at GetTruck News which is our very own blogging platform.





 
518
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.

Local PeopleAfricalocals team posted the article • 0 comments • 518 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/
659
Views

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

Local PeopleAfricalocals team posted the article • 0 comments • 659 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.


 
 
 
 
502
Views

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

Local PeopleAfricalocals team posted the article • 0 comments • 502 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.
 
 
 
 
       view all
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.
 
 
 
 
      
307
Views

"Airbnb-style" also can be used for transporters in South Africa, the startup GetTruck make the booking time can be between 10 minutes to 2 hours.

OthersAfricalocals team posted the article • 0 comments • 307 views • 2019-06-24 04:46 • data from similar tags

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

Back in 2017 i studied audio engineering, it was a 3 years course but i decided to drop out of college to pursue GetTruck full-time. 
I have very limited work experience, you can say GetTruck was my first job.

GetTruck is an online platform that aims to help clients who relocating homes find reliable transporters without the hassle of paperwork

Q2: How did you get into the transportation and programming world? How did that happen?

I have always had an interest in computing, i taught myself programming back in high school and fell in love with it ever since.

My father owns a transportation company called Mr Cheap Transport which deals with home removals and about 4 years back the company took a massive dip in revenue. That was all due to the digital disruption. 

GetTruck was a concept in order to solve most these issues within Mr Cheap Transport, basically i took the concept and made it reality by building the initial prototype.
Basically, i grew up in the industry and i understand how tough the transportation industry really is.

Q3:  What experience or idea inspires you to get started with gettruck.co.za and what does this mean to your potential users in South Africa? 

Growing up in the industry, very little people actually know how much effort goes into moving a home or flat. There are so many moving parts to it such as having a good workforce, quality drivers and so forth. 

There are a ton of home removals companies out there but a large majority of them don’t have any trained workforce and in some cases untrained drivers.

I am inspired to change this throughout the industry by providing those things to transporting companies and as well as providing excellent transporters to our clients.

Q4: How  GetTruck works? What are the services you can offer on your website? How did you find users who wanna buy your services? Why did drivers and transporters willing to use your services? How can you make transportation costs lower than before?

GetTruck works by a client who wants to move home or flat coming to the site and filling out our form. What we do is then send that move request to our network of transporters who are closest to the client’s area and they provide a quote on that move. The client will automatically receive the transporters quote.

They can choose to accept the quote and pay the booking fee online, once payment is confirmed, they will receive a calendar event and the transporter profile with full details. Both remain anonymous until booking is confirmed through payment.

Due to the nature of this, the booking time can be between 10 minutes to 2 hours. Depending on the network of transporting companies. Keep in mind that the industry average is 1 - 2 days, we have managed to bring that process down to an average of 30 minutes.




Q5: What are your thoughts on the current state of online transportation services in South Africa? How can your services help users?


Their are a few services that attempt to do an Uber-style home removals service but their are a few key issues with that model.
Instead of disrupting the industry, we intend on taking what exists and make it more manageable and formal. 



Q6:  How did you find your co-founders and employees? What's the story of how you set up your team?

At this point, my father is also a founder as he has a lot more experience with the industry. I am jumped on board to get the project rolling. So now it is mostly just myself that is working on growing the company as my father is way to busy working on an exit strategy for Mr Cheap Transport, so that he can work full time on GetTruck.
 





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


There was a lot of confusion between my father and i between which model do we go for. A more Uber-style one or more of a Airbnb-style one. Personally i think this was the biggest challenge but at the end i made a convincing argument on why the Airbnb-style was a better fit at this point.


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


We are actually self-funded. I don’t truly believe in the whole “funding-is-requirement” idea that the startup world makes it seem.


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?

We do a lot of email marketing and we recently launched GetTruck News where users can read all about what’s happening at GetTruck.
We also do ads on Facebook, Google and so forth


Q10: How can you get drivers and transporters to your platform? How can you fix transaction disputes? Can you recommend one successful user example from your website? What did he get after he used your services? What is the link to it? 

The payment process is a very tricky area. We just add a markup to the transporter’s quote and the client pays us the markup in order to process the quote. Once paid the client and transporter receives the balance of what needs to be paid.


Q11: How did you grow your revenue? What's the story behind how you got your first revenue from clients?


Pretty simple, the selling point of GetTruck is that we get you a reliable transporter to move your home/flat goods without any hassle. Users love this, they absolutely dislike paperwork and want a quick and easy solution, so this fits into how we market to them



Q12: What is the advice do you have for newcomers who want to get into the area?


Focus on the customer, as you not dealing with their furniture. Items that they hold dear, if you show their goods as much love and care as they would. You will succeed in so many areas that transporting companies fail


Q13: What're your goals for your business?  Why do those goals are important for you?

Like i mentioned earlier, we intend on formalizing the industry. This is the end goal of GetTruck/ 


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

I learn something new everyday. Being the CTO, i have to keep up with what’s happening in the tech space. I attend a large amount of meetup, i run a co-working space as well as i work a lot on open-source projects. I host the Vue.js in Cape Town meetup and do part-time lecturing on programming

I would say that meetups are the most important thing if you really want to connect with people and the understand the industry.







Q15: 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?

The internet is a massive place, their are so many things going on but the biggest surprise is just how big of a community the software space is! The software industry probably has the biggest community in the world and i am honored to be apart of it.
 





Q16: What's your plan for your business in the next months? What's your business roadmap for next year?

We intend on focusing on building revenue and make the client UX as smooth as possible, so a a lot of progressive enhancement 

Q17: Where can we know more official info about you and your companies?

We are still working on a transporter portal, but you can find out what’s happening at GetTruck News which is our very own blogging platform.





  view all
Q1: Hi, Shailen, What's your education background, what were you working on before this startup gettruck.co.za. What's your work experience, Can you introduce your business to our users?

Back in 2017 i studied audio engineering, it was a 3 years course but i decided to drop out of college to pursue GetTruck full-time. 
I have very limited work experience, you can say GetTruck was my first job.

GetTruck is an online platform that aims to help clients who relocating homes find reliable transporters without the hassle of paperwork

Q2: How did you get into the transportation and programming world? How did that happen?

I have always had an interest in computing, i taught myself programming back in high school and fell in love with it ever since.

My father owns a transportation company called Mr Cheap Transport which deals with home removals and about 4 years back the company took a massive dip in revenue. That was all due to the digital disruption. 

GetTruck was a concept in order to solve most these issues within Mr Cheap Transport, basically i took the concept and made it reality by building the initial prototype.
Basically, i grew up in the industry and i understand how tough the transportation industry really is.

Q3:  What experience or idea inspires you to get started with gettruck.co.za and what does this mean to your potential users in South Africa? 

Growing up in the industry, very little people actually know how much effort goes into moving a home or flat. There are so many moving parts to it such as having a good workforce, quality drivers and so forth. 

There are a ton of home removals companies out there but a large majority of them don’t have any trained workforce and in some cases untrained drivers.

I am inspired to change this throughout the industry by providing those things to transporting companies and as well as providing excellent transporters to our clients.

Q4: How  GetTruck works? What are the services you can offer on your website? How did you find users who wanna buy your services? Why did drivers and transporters willing to use your services? How can you make transportation costs lower than before?

GetTruck works by a client who wants to move home or flat coming to the site and filling out our form. What we do is then send that move request to our network of transporters who are closest to the client’s area and they provide a quote on that move. The client will automatically receive the transporters quote.

They can choose to accept the quote and pay the booking fee online, once payment is confirmed, they will receive a calendar event and the transporter profile with full details. Both remain anonymous until booking is confirmed through payment.

Due to the nature of this, the booking time can be between 10 minutes to 2 hours. Depending on the network of transporting companies. Keep in mind that the industry average is 1 - 2 days, we have managed to bring that process down to an average of 30 minutes.




Q5: What are your thoughts on the current state of online transportation services in South Africa? How can your services help users?


Their are a few services that attempt to do an Uber-style home removals service but their are a few key issues with that model.
Instead of disrupting the industry, we intend on taking what exists and make it more manageable and formal. 



Q6:  How did you find your co-founders and employees? What's the story of how you set up your team?

At this point, my father is also a founder as he has a lot more experience with the industry. I am jumped on board to get the project rolling. So now it is mostly just myself that is working on growing the company as my father is way to busy working on an exit strategy for Mr Cheap Transport, so that he can work full time on GetTruck.
 





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


There was a lot of confusion between my father and i between which model do we go for. A more Uber-style one or more of a Airbnb-style one. Personally i think this was the biggest challenge but at the end i made a convincing argument on why the Airbnb-style was a better fit at this point.


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


We are actually self-funded. I don’t truly believe in the whole “funding-is-requirement” idea that the startup world makes it seem.


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?

We do a lot of email marketing and we recently launched GetTruck News where users can read all about what’s happening at GetTruck.
We also do ads on Facebook, Google and so forth


Q10: How can you get drivers and transporters to your platform? How can you fix transaction disputes? Can you recommend one successful user example from your website? What did he get after he used your services? What is the link to it? 

The payment process is a very tricky area. We just add a markup to the transporter’s quote and the client pays us the markup in order to process the quote. Once paid the client and transporter receives the balance of what needs to be paid.


Q11: How did you grow your revenue? What's the story behind how you got your first revenue from clients?


Pretty simple, the selling point of GetTruck is that we get you a reliable transporter to move your home/flat goods without any hassle. Users love this, they absolutely dislike paperwork and want a quick and easy solution, so this fits into how we market to them



Q12: What is the advice do you have for newcomers who want to get into the area?


Focus on the customer, as you not dealing with their furniture. Items that they hold dear, if you show their goods as much love and care as they would. You will succeed in so many areas that transporting companies fail


Q13: What're your goals for your business?  Why do those goals are important for you?

Like i mentioned earlier, we intend on formalizing the industry. This is the end goal of GetTruck/ 


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

I learn something new everyday. Being the CTO, i have to keep up with what’s happening in the tech space. I attend a large amount of meetup, i run a co-working space as well as i work a lot on open-source projects. I host the Vue.js in Cape Town meetup and do part-time lecturing on programming

I would say that meetups are the most important thing if you really want to connect with people and the understand the industry.







Q15: 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?

The internet is a massive place, their are so many things going on but the biggest surprise is just how big of a community the software space is! The software industry probably has the biggest community in the world and i am honored to be apart of it.
 





Q16: What's your plan for your business in the next months? What's your business roadmap for next year?

We intend on focusing on building revenue and make the client UX as smooth as possible, so a a lot of progressive enhancement 

Q17: Where can we know more official info about you and your companies?

We are still working on a transporter portal, but you can find out what’s happening at GetTruck News which is our very own blogging platform.





 
518
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.

Local PeopleAfricalocals team posted the article • 0 comments • 518 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/
659
Views

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

Local PeopleAfricalocals team posted the article • 0 comments • 659 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

Local PeopleAfricalocals team posted the article • 0 comments • 502 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.