Mayowa Owolabi is a serial entrepreneur, business architect, and a business development and e-commerce specialist. He has extensive knowledge in ICT relating to mobile technology, mobile payments, VAS, digital media, m-commerce and e-commerce. He is a graduate of Electronics and Electrical Engineering from the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife in Nigeria. An alumnus of the Pan African University (Lagos Business School), he has attended several conferences on innovation, mobile payments and other ICT related conferences within and outside the country. He also has an executive Master’s degree in Project Management from the Project Management College UK.
Mayowa is the founder of Dudumobile, and several other e-commerce solutions – buynownow, Workdey, Gbedumobile – and has consulted for organizations like Nokia Corporation, Yahoo! Inc., EiE Nigeria, Mtech Communications, First Bank of Nigeria, INEC, Etisalat, and Oyo State and Ekiti State Governments to name a few. With over 10 years’ experience in technology, business development, and the use of ICT in deploying enterprise services and solutions, he is also one of the co-founders/conveners of Mobile Monday in Nigeria.
What is buynownow.com?
buynownow.com is an digital shopping mall for everybody (we don’t have digital restrooms though).
How old is the company?
We’re a little over 6 months old.
How did the idea come about?
The idea came about when I was in business school. I had a couple of entrepreneurs in my class who did not have a digital presence to sell their merchandise and I saw the opportunity and latched onto it. It was also an opportunity for me to create an additional platform where people could use our own form of payment (like Paypal on e-bay) without going to look for merchants and customers – we were looking at playing in the mobile payments market.
Share some of your success stories with us.
We’ve been doing more than the traditional kind of e-commerce which everyone is doing, we’re also selling specialized items like NYSC camp kits for the Youth Corp members, and we’ve seen a lot of goal conversion in that line. We’re not where we want to be yet, but we’re growing.
How has it been since you launched?
We’ve been learning about the market and about people, trying to build a very good service tailored to this environment as well as trying to promote usage of our platform, handling issues of fraud and more efficient logistics.
What is the goal/vision of buynownow.com?
To be the number one digital shopping mall in Africa.
Is Nigeria ready?
If we keep waiting for the market to be ready, we won’t achieve anything. We are growing with the market, so we won’t be too early or too late.
There are a lot of challenges and some make us do business better, one of which is the high cost of internet access and bandwidth, and then the power issues. Other than that, access to capital in the form of seed capital/funding/early stage investment is a huge challenge. Most of the funding goes to East Africa and we have very, very few people willing to invest in e-commerce or internet based businesses in Nigeria. The very few ones that get investment get it from Europe or America.
What are your challenges?
Access to capital in the form of seed capital/funding/early stage investment is a huge challenge. Most of the funding goes to East Africa and we have very few people willing to invest in e-commerce or internet based businesses in Nigeria. Access to cheap capital for growth, improved marketing, and expansion is a challenge
What is your daily routine?
I wake up at 5:30 a.m., pray, read my emails and start work from home. I leave for the office when the traffic on the roads must have reduced, and continue with meetings and office work. I eat dinner before 11:50 p.m. and review what I did during the day, prepare for the next day, and then read tech blogs, news, books, or watch a movie, and then sleep off around 1:00 a.m. or 2:00 a.m. Sometimes I sleep much later.
If you had a $1,000,000, what would you do?
I’d invest half of it into my buynownow, Workdey, and Gbedumobile and invest the other half into tech startups in Nigeria with a focus on internet based ventures and commercially viable mobile ventures.
What do people not know about buynownow.com yet?
It’s free to put up your merchandise on buynownow.com. We handle pickup and delivery, and we also allow our vendors push/promote their merchandise via built in social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.