Founder Series: Koye Oyeyinka
Showcasing the incredible people driving the direction of Boost. Meet Koye Oyeyinka, the co-founder and CEO of Boost Nigeria
We had a chat with Koye Oyeyinka, the Co-founder and CEO of Boost Nigeria.
Koye believes in the power of tech to drive economic growth. Prior to Boost, he worked with Heineken and LVMH before launching Imni Global, an e-commerce site aiming to improve linkages between manufacturers and artisans across the textile, leather, and accessories markets in Nigeria.
What stands out about Koye is his interest in building simple and intuitive systems to address complex problems in the informal sector.
Here’s a summary of our conversation with Koye, Enjoy!
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How would you describe yourself to people reading a book about yourself?
My motto is beauty and efficiency. I believe beauty is what can be appreciated without explanation and efficiency is what can be utilised intuitively.
I studied economics to understand the structures that we collectively decide to engage in, like capitalism and religion, and I studied psychology to make sense of how we individually react to these structures. I believe our legacy is measured by the improvements we make to these structures.
At Boost we sit in a unique position where we have access to the tech, capital, experience and other resources needed to make the informal sector a bit more beautiful and efficient.
What is your earliest or fondest memory of spending money in your local neighbourhood convenience store?
When I was around seven years old, we lived at the bottom of a hill, and at the very top was a shop. The woman running the shop sold a few products, which included bread, biscuits, and kerosene. Since the bread’s taste was affected by the kerosene, I remember having to walk past the shop, hiding my face to go to the other bread sellers.
I think this is my earliest memory of seeking quality service over convenience and of experiencing service differentiation.
What do you think is great about owner-managed stores and the people behind the businesses?
I am impressed with the resilience of the retailers and their incessant hunger to grow their business. Many business owners run their businesses blindly, without the time and tools to understand their profits or losses, or notice the systemic inefficiencies that hamper their growth. Their primary goal is to ensure the business is still running the next day.
I remember a retailer who started her business with a table and an umbrella, and has grown it now into a mini-mart(or a smaller supermarket). While interacting with her, you quickly note her intuitive understanding of the factors that have contributed to her growth.
We want to help formalise these insights through digitisation and marry this to her enthusiasm and curiosity for our product offerings to help her to continuously grow her business.
What pushed you to join Boost as a Founder? What benefits do you see from the Boost network?
When I launched my previous startup, it was to address the inefficiencies inherent in the informal retail sector that eventually trickled down as increased prices and poorer quality to customers; inefficient product sourcing, insufficient working capital, and insignificant size to profit from economies of scale.
The Boost team came to me with a similar proposal, but in addition, they had an easy to use tech platform and other founders in other countries working to solve the same issues.
It has been great working with teams from other markets. With an open-door policy in place, we’ve been able to bounce ideas off each other and transfer the lessons learned in similar markets.
For example, the Ghana team has been running Stock Boosts for a while now, and the South African team has a very particular way of working with key distributors. Having the specifics of how they run these operations has been very helpful.
How do you sell the Boost value proposition to customers or partners that already have working tech systems?
I am always excited about explaining the benefits of embracing our platform to the customer. Being open about how Boost works to benefit everyone in the retail value chain including the retailers and distributors.
We have different types of distributor customers. The first type considers us as a tech provider. With the second type of customer, we are fully integrated into their business, assisting with bookkeeping, stock analysis, and merchandising. We help them understand the products that move faster and how to capitalise on this information.
What do you like most about your customers?
I like the targeted curiosity of our customers. The ones who want to try new products to grow their businesses, but are quick to discard anything that adds complexity to them.
I also like the self assurance of our customers who keep testing the product and are keen to point out the issues in the system that need improvements.
Looking five years or more into the future, what would you like to achieve in your country and across Africa?
Our goal is to make the retail sector, particularly the last mile and informal aspects which currently accounts for 70-90% of Nigeria’s trade, more efficient by digitising the sector, providing subsequent data visibility, and bringing-in the capital to help everyone in the value chain achieve their ultimate potential. We want to be the de facto solution for small and emerging manufacturers and up and coming distributors to scale quickly.
Additionally we will continue to provide support to the rest of the ecosystem, helping established manufacturers see up to the last mile while empowering distributors and wholesalers with the digital insights needed to manage, plan and expand their businesses.
We will end the year powering-growth to distributors serving 10k engaged retailers with over 90% retention. The goal is to double this number yearly, so we hope to have distributors serving between 100k and 150k retailers within five years.