Today’s bulletproof entrepreneur, Raphael Afaedor, is the co-founder of SupermartNG, a leading online grocery store in Nigeria. Prior to founding SupermartNG, he was the co-founder of Jumia.com, Nigeria’s largest e-commerce store, where he and his co-founder helped oversee the company’s rapid growth from a start-up team of 10 people to 450 people in roughly two years. Before dipping his toes in the entrepreneurial waters, Raphael gained valuable business and technology experience at some of the world’s best companies i.e. Monster.com, Goldman Sachs, and Notore Chemicals. However, his love for business and passion to contribute to Africa’s development led him to turn his back on a lucrative career in favour of the arduous, but rewarding life of an Entrepreneur. Now, his company is currently revolutionizing the grocery business by providing a 3 hour home delivery service of fresh produce and other goods to families that are pressed for time. The grocery business in Lagos, Nigeria is conservatively estimated to be a $72 billion a year industry that is largely informal in structure and fragmented. SupermartNG aims to differentiate itself by taking the stress and hassle involved in the weekly grocery shopping (Families spend an average of 6 hours a week trying to shop for groceries primarily due to the notorious traffic jams in the Lagos metropolis).
What you will learn
- The Big Idea – Tap into the needs of the market by focusing on the difficult problems
- How he started his first e-commerce company in Nigeria
- The early challenges with starting and running a fast growing startup
- Initial successes with Jumia and how that helped lead him to his next start-up
- The inspiration for Supermart.ng as a way to alleviate the hassle of spending an average of 6hrs to shop for groceries
- How Supermart.ng customizes its service based on its customer experience
- The importance of having a co-founder in building a business
- The various ways to fund and market a new company
- Insights on various types of start-up hurdles
- Needs v. wants played a role in directing his focus to tackling the problem of grocery delivery
- It helps to have someone to share the burden and trade ideas
- Word of mouth marketing is currently driving his business
- Understand who your customer is, and define which problem of his/hers you are solving. Then, create a solution to the problem. When you have created the solution, put it in front of the customer and quickly ask the customer to pay for the service or product you are giving them. Only then will you know if the customer appreciates it or not. You can then get feedback from the true (paying) customer and build on that.
- You must be able to persevere through challenges that will come your way – embrace and solve them.
- Any customer that won’t pay for the service today, most likely won’t pay for it tomorrow.
Words of wisdom
- Advice for people coming to Africa start a venture:
- There has never been a better time. See the challenges as an opportunity because that is what they are. Come knowing that it’s going to be difficult, but it will also be extremely rewarding. Just come on board.
- The ecosystem and people in Africa are very welcoming. Go on Facebook and connect with people, and seek advice from people with like minds and go from there.
Books and Resources
- Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
- The Success Principles by Jake Canfield
- The Second Bounce of the Ball: Turning Risk into Opportunity by Ronald Cohen
- Some books can be found at “Laterna Books” on Supermart.ng