One Kiosk Africa is aiming to become the Instacart of Africa. The co-founder and CEO of the startup, Adeshina Adewumi is strategically driving One Kiosk Africa to this destination leveraging his entrepreneurial experience and network. In this, elaborate and exclusive interview, Adewumi tells us more about One Kiosk Africa, his entrepreneurial journey, future plans for the startup, and much more. Excerpts
Can you tell us about One Kiosk Africa?
We are the Instacart for Africa; a platform connecting small businesses to demand based on their location and customer’s preference. We use a marketplace approach to aggregate and connect leveraging Geolocation thus helping us achieve an hour delivery turnaround cycle.
One Kiosk Africa was birthed basically as a channel to digitize the activities of small and medium scale businesses. The company is registered both in the US (Delaware) and Nigeria with the goal of quickly using a franchise model to scale and replicate our model across Africa and the globe once we capture the Nigerian market fully.
What prompted you to establish One Kiosk Africa?
In 2018, I had the need to order online for basic essentials while my wife was ill. I ended up having to do it offline myself when the earliest time I could get was delivery within 5 days. I remembered my previous experience and engagement after leaving Stanbic IBTC where I supported lots of traders in the Idumota Lagos market through OLX and Jiji then. That inspired me to start One Kiosk Africa especially since there are lots of people like me who would want to enjoy convenience while traders would like to connect online to their customers.
Tell us about the moment you decided to become an entrepreneur? What did you have to do to be where you are today?
I would like to think entrepreneurship chose me. I grew up with enterprising parents who sold anything from Ice block growing up to becoming a number 1 sales distributor for Fan Milk to setting up and establishing their own bakery and sachet water company in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
That alone was enough to inspire me as I was their makeshift accountant and cashier all growing up till my undergraduate days. That exposure was enough to set me up for entrepreneurship.
However, my own journey started fully when I gained admission to Bowen University. There was a need to earn to support my daily living as my parent was already burdened in taking care of my school fees.
I did not want to add an extra burden on them and I equally wanted to live well and not be distracted with hunger. I quickly associated with business-oriented people, joined a club called Purpose Group where we constantly engaged business leaders and speakers like Fela Durotoye, Leke Alder among others too many to mention.
Before long I identified various gaps I could provide solutions and I started with buying and selling which grew so well till I graduated. One major thing was that I leveraged more on my network to increase my distribution network. At a point in my 300l, I literally use my network to make over N400,000 within campus selling airtime within 2 weeks.
In July 2019 we started our first pilot and today we are close to about $1million in transaction value done so far.
When I graduated, while doing my compulsory youth service at the University of Ilorin, I equally recognized a gap which led me to starting Home Tutors Nigeria in 2013. We were able to support and assign over 50 youth corp members to parents for their kids. This created extra stream of income for the corp members who had to live with 19,800 ($41.25) monthly.
By 2014 after completing my youth service, I halted activities briefly on Home Tutors Nigeria after taking up a role with Stanbic IBTC but I still kept getting lots of request from clients.
By 2016, I decided it was time to build Home Tutors Nigeria. However, by 2018 I finally sold off what was left of it as I decided to join hands to lead the Proville team as the Chief Operating Officer.
One Kiosk Africa in itself was supposed to be an additional product line for Proville but in the long run, became bigger and I had to step aside and focus fully on building it as a separate brand.
In July 2019 we started our first pilot and today we are close to about $1million in transaction value done so far. We have had our high and low points but we are grateful for the lessons all the way.
How will you describe the reception so far?
The reception has been very encouraging but we are still barely scratching the surface. The market is huge and got huge potentials if you are ready to increase capacity and capture new grounds.
This is however not to say we still do not have issues around digital literacy gaps as well as logistics but we are taking it one step at a time.
We have gone further to attract other Angel investors who believed in us and currently working to close up a $500k round with various commitments already coming through.
You have quite a number of competitions in the business. How do you think One Kiosk Africa can stand out from these competitions?
For us at One Kiosk, we see competition as healthy and an indication that the market is still under-tapped. We have been able to grow steadily by building loyal customers willing to grow with us while also using Geolocation and other innovative ways to keep them getting value (both for merchants and users).
Capital and funds are key to starting a business? How did you go about funding One Kiosk Africa?
One Kiosk Africa started with personal savings and network support. Until one day I decided to post via my social media that we needed $10k for some backlogs and wala (challenges)…our first official injection came through just 2 days after the post.
A radical approach you might say but to be an entrepreneur requires different tactics. We have gone further to attract other Angel investors who believed in us and currently working to close up a $500k round with various commitments already coming through. So in summary, we keep doing the work and funding meets us in the middle of each phase and journey.
Many startups fail in their first five years. What measures are you enshrining to ensure that One Kiosk Africa is here to stay?
One Kiosk Africa is here to stay till of course we get acquired or decide to go IPO. One major thing that keeps business is ensuring the foundation is strong enough to withstand the storms and successful succession.
This is one major thing that we at One Kiosk Africa do not take for granted and it’s embedded in our culture. We are equally very keen on our revenue numbers which drive down to the business model.
Before tech there was business; a saying we use to remind ourselves that technology is just an enabler to help us make life better for our users and also stakeholders. The fundamental remains the business revenue model and cash flow sustainability.
What is your money-making model like? Who do you think are your competitors?
We have 3 major channels of making money, one is through commissions, the second is subscription and the third is fee sharing. This helps us stay liquid at different times and all times.
As regards our competitors, our close niche competitor includes Instacart and Cornershop (acquired by Uber) in the US and Canada region. However, most times people love to compare us on a broader scale with Jumia and Konga due to the commerce feature involved.
What are your future plans?
The next 3-5 years is looking promising as we look forward to contributing to digitize and map 1 million small and medium scale businesses online then replicate same through a franchise model or directly in Ghana, South Africa, Egypt, Kenya, and some other Southern American/European regions.
We have gotten to a point where we need to increase the number of active merchants in different regions. The next phase would incur $80k-$110k for the next 100,000 stores and with this, we project to be able to drive our numbers to an average of $500k a month and then double up over the next 6-9 months. This is part of the reason we are looking to close up our current round before the end of Q1 2021.
What advice do you have for budding entrepreneurs?
Patience is vital in any business, you go through different phases and it can sometimes be mentally draining but you must remain the focus. Most of the time later stage entrepreneurs do not tell you their failed points unless you draw closer.
You only see the shining part and assume it was all rosy, it was not always all rosy, there is a price to pay and at every higher stage comes more responsibility. Learn patience, and then build process and tenacity to withstand the Nos. Use the No to build a story for the future.