Innovation Village had a chat with Olayinka Oluwakuse, CEO of Buyoverchat Technologies Limited and Founder, Balogunmarket.ng.
Innovation Village (IV): Tell us about yourself and your startup
Olayinka Oluwakuse (OO): My name is Olayinka Oluwakuse, a Lagos based Techpreneur . I run BUYOVERCHAT TECHNOLOGIES Limited, a company interested in revolutionising how e-commerce is played out in Africa based on City Market clusters using our ” chat, haggle, pay directly in chat” business model.
Our Startup, Balogunmarket.ng is currently using this model to enable commerce online in West Africa’s biggest Market,Balogun Market Lagos.
IV: Why did you decide to start your company? What was the gap you identified?
OO: BUYOVERCHAT TECHNOLOGIES LIMITED was started in December 2016 based on the idea that e-commerce was not being done by the Majors in the segment the right way, putting into consideration the African culture and way of buying and selling.We did not want to do the ” copy and paste” Amazon model in our operations.
The retailers who already have an amazing inventory in stock wanted to be in the middle of the conversation during transactions. Although brick and mortar shops still do 95% of commerce in Nigeria ,they have awakened to the fact that online shopping is real and have informed us about their reservation for the ” Third Party Marketplace ” model being used by big e-commerce companies in Nigeria.
Also, we noticed the burn rate of the giants in the Industry and the stunted growth they are experiencing currently in Nigeria.The adoption rate is still low compared with the real Market size .We sought to do things differently ,not because it was easy to do but because it was hard.
OO: Well, we are currently a bootstrapped company and attempting at organic growth. Initially for 6 months we were enabling logistics for traders in the Market to truly understand their needs and form relationships with them.We signed up 4,000+ brick and Mortars in record 4 weeks of starting Balogunmarket.ng .
We came to their level and put our entry level to the use of the popular app, Whatsapp .Whatsapp is the most downloaded app in Nigeria cutting across all socio-economic strata in Nigeria
We believe our limited funds for operations is enabling creative thinking to play things out in the Industry.We embedded our start-up office for Balogunmarket.ng right inside the markets we play in with the HQ for BUYOVERCHAT remaining in the Lekki Phase 1 area of Lagos for administrative sake.
Balogun Market Lagos has shown us the way to do business based on the tech adoption level of Nigerians. The android penetration in the Market is high and we are currently developing our android app based on lessons we learnt attempting to scale this startup on limited funds.
OO: We have been approached for ” Acqui-hire” by one of the early investors in e-commerce in Nigeria at our early weeks but we turned it down as we see the potential in our MVP and know we can scale this properly and tell a good African story with it.
We have been invited to the Seedstars accelerator program based in Lagos which we are seriously considering based on their past record.
IV: What is the right collaboration you are looking for?
OO: We are open to all kinds of collaboration to enable us tell this great African story of commerce in Market clusters properly especially Tech.
IV: What are your plans for the next 5 years?
OO: BUYOVERCHAT should be pan African in a year or two using this proven business model and a great team we have. Buyoverchat.com seeks to be the ” WeChat of Africa” going forward.
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