Intake: August 2014
Current Role: Founder, Eazyhire
Describe your business and your role within it
My business is called Eazyhire (www.eazyhire.com.ng), an award-winning peer to peer sharing platform (Technology startup of the year 2016 & 2017 by Nigerian Internet Registration Agency), operating in Nigeria and Kenya. It facilitates the sharing economy by providing technology-driven rental solutions. Creating a direct link between those that need certain items and those that own these items. This makes everything accessible to everyone, without necessarily having to make an outright purchase if you can’t afford to, it also enables owners of the items to generate income for themselves.
I oversee the growth and finance aspects of the business, where I actively seek to build strategic partnerships with corporates and influential individuals, develop marketing campaigns/programs to drive customer acquisition, and coordinate data collection and analysis, with a view to ultimately driving sales.
How did you get into this line of business?
I have always been interested in building businesses and had dabbled with a few ideas while in college, with mixed success. During this period, I realized that I had a passion for entrepreneurship, and this drove me to explore programs in the UK that would give me the opportunity to develop my knowledge of business management and entrepreneurship. This program had to be experiential, to give me the ability to apply the knowledge gained. It was at that point a colleague informed me about the Mountbatten Program. This turned out to be one of the key highlights of my career, as the program enabled me to develop an understanding of key factors that drive growth in small businesses and the key issues to focus on at each stage of the business’s growth.
After the program, I was ready to apply the knowledge I gained back in Nigeria. I decided to work out of one of the first incubator hubs in Nigeria at the time called iDea Hub, as a resident advisor. Here I met my co-founder and close friend Joshua Okpata, who shared his amazing idea and asked me to join him on the journey. It has been an amazing experience.
How did you go about setting it up and getting established?
At the point when I linked up with my co-founder, the business had been incorporated but it was still early days, so we worked on developing a business plan with a detailed roadmap. So, we started working on getting the initial version of our product ready, as it was a top priority, while we aggressively built our vendor database. We also experimented with marketing channels to identify the most effective channels to attract the customers that fit our desired customer profile.
All the above were done with savings largely built up during the program and loans from family members and friends. After we had gained traction, we refined our value proposition and started conversations with investors to finance our growth drive.
What else is in the pipeline?
My interest is in developing products that solve everyday problems for ordinary people. I have setup Macclesfield Road, a venture building platform that aims to support companies with innovative solutions in optimizing their business, driving access to market and gaining access to the early stage capital to validate their model. We are currently working on the following;
- Quartered – is Africa’s premier on-demand and pay-per-use hotel booking platform which enables people to book hotel stays by the hour. It gives flexibility to customers through on-demand and pay-per-use hotel stays, that range from 2-48 hours.
- Vipital – is a virtual hospital solution that aims to unbundle healthcare services and give patients the liberty to decide how they want to access healthcare services. We aim to achieve this first by supporting medical doctors with the tools needed to build their virtual private practices. While we do this, we enable hospitals with underutilized facilities such as wards, laboratories, and operating theatres, to improve their productivity. Our solutions include a facility booking platform, as well as an integrated Medical Records System (MRS).
- Blueprint – is a talent development program that looks to support the development of talent with strong skills in programming, business analysis, growth hacking, and brand design. Creating a bank of individuals with the skills and the critical thinking ability to be valuable entrepreneurs or corporate professionals.
What has been the proudest moment in your working life thus far?
I believe that the proudest moment in my work life was being selected for the Forbes Africa 30 under 30, class of 2019 This was validation that the business my co-founder and I had built is creating real value and impact in Nigeria and across Africa.
What has been your biggest mistake/learning experience?
My biggest learning experience occurred while working on my first technology business called Entranic. I had started the venture with a good friend but quickly came to understand that good friends don’t necessarily make good business partners. The business ended up failing due to our differing visions for the company, and the absence of a co-founder or senior personnel that had the right technical skill set to coordinate the product development process.
Any words of advice/wisdom would you impart to others thinking of setting up their own business?
If I had to give any advice, it would be “move fast and learn faster”. I remember being in Femke’s Design & Innovation class and the first activity was for us to start a new business within the week and drive it to revenue. This seemed crazy to me, however, it taught me how to rapidly validate my idea and take it to market. Always be aware that there might be someone somewhere thinking about the same brilliant idea as you and you must quickly build your minimum viable product and launch to market, as there is value in being the first mover or arriving at key learning milestones earlier. Also, when testing the viability of your business model, never be afraid to change things if the data indicates that you need to do so.