Priceslash.ng – The Nigerian On demand eCommerce Company
PRICESLASH.NG is an on demand e-Commerce company in Nigeria with a focus on customer service.
We had the opportunity to email interview the Co-Founders, Irivboje Ifidon and Ibe Kingsley, who’s part of the Africans Building Africa Community.
Tell us about yourselves and your organization
I am Irivboje Ifidon, co-founder and CEO at Priceslash.ng. Before Priceslash.ng, I was part of a team of three who started a clean water project at Damko Trade Links Limited, a company driven by its desire to provide clean (drinkable) water to rural areas in the South-South and South-West regions of Nigeria. We delivered 20 boreholes across 20 rural communities in Nigeria. This is one of my biggest achievements, being able to make a difference in the lives of the village community members there.
Prior to diving into entrepreneurship, I worked as an IT Manager at two private companies: Lucent Construction Company and Solar Electric Systems Limited. To be honest I was quite unfulfilled back then, sure I excelled at both companies but I never did fit in as an “inside the box thinker”.
I am ibe kingsley, co-founder and chief evangelist at Priceslash.ng. Prior to Priceslash, I co-founded OHcrave, a photo ordering and delivery app that allows you to participate in events and activities of your friends in real-time. In the past, I had been involved in different startups; GOLY – an all-in-one digital platform to discover, sell, manage orders and collaborate on event projects from a single place and on the go. STOPSHOP – an online grocery store. and LAMUDI – Rocket Internet’s property marketplace venture (now JUMIA HOUSE) as its first sales employee from validation to launch and to scale to become Nigeria’s Number one Property Platform.
We are both graduates of Computer Science and connected while undergoing the mandatory National youth service corps in Benin, Edo State and have kept in touch ever since.
How much did you need to start your organization and how were you able to raise that capital?
$5000 grant funding from the Tony Elumelu Foundation.
What are some of the challenges you face in your organization and how do you overcome those challenges?
- Access to Sufficient Funding: We were fortunate enough to raise sufficient capital to get us started but as you know, as business grows more capital is required to meet up with the needs of that growth. Currently, we have been actively looking into additional seed funding. Ecommerce is a capital intensive industry and without sufficient investment the business would suffer a natural death. We are well aware of this which is why we are actively looking for seed investment to help us scale the business further.
- Infrastructure: No doubt infrastructure is a big issue when it comes to retail/e-Commerce. Warehousing and technology infrastructure are particularly of significant importance in our line of business. We have been able to achieve some headway in this area by relying on third party technologies and our small downtown office/warehouse which in the meantime has been able to accommodate some of our inventory. Other inventory remains stocked up with our partner merchants until when needed.
- Building trust in the e-Commerce space: Trust is a big issue in e-Commerce in Nigeria. Primarily because in most cases what you see online is not what you get when your package finally arrives. This problem has been a difficult one to tackle. We have had to put in significant hours to perform quality control checks on all products sold on our platform again and again. Adopting stern sanctions to merchants who don’t adhere to our standards of quality.
- Government Policy: To be honest the government policy in Nigeria makes doing business in Nigeria very difficult. We face excessive red tape and opposition when we try to get approvals and permits. This is one challenge we are still struggling with as we have no control over it.
Where do you see your organization in 5 years from now and what steps are you taking today to reach that objective?
Priceslash.ng was founded out of a passion to transform the e-Commerce ecosystem in Nigeria from a Profit first, to Customer first approach. In 5 years, we aim to have achieved significant market acceptance, built a solid customer base and taken the e-Commerce ecosystem a step further. Priceslash.ng aims to be known primarily as the number 1 customer centric e-Commerce company in Nigeria. In terms of profits, we aim to have recorded significant profits achieving a high valuation in the process and validating our business model as a successful one.
- Nurturing a culture that revolves around customer satisfaction on one end and merchant growth and development on the other end.
- Strengthening further our core values of Transparency, Empathy and Accountability.
- Implementing state of the art technologies that help place Priceslash.ng on the fore front of ecommerce growth in Africa
- Focusing on making online shopping as seamless and convenient as possible.
- Advocating the value of Payment Before Delivery as opposed to Payment On Delivery which encourages Credit Customers and in the long run affects customer retention and quality of service.
What advice would you give other entrepreneurs looking to start a business in Africa?
Africa is a continent with enormous investment potential and Nigeria being the most populated black nation in the world stands to become the hub of eCommerce in Africa. With a population of over 180 million Nigerians and a minimum of 10% of that population as economically viable the opportunities and realities cannot be overlooked or even overemphasized. “Our advice to anyone looking to start a business in Africa would be:
- Do your market research to test the validity of your proposed business before you get started.
- Once you have proven there is a market for your proposed business, raise sufficient funding for your business/startup so you can be 100% focused on successfully running your business and not worrying about running out of cash. For anyone looking to invest in Africa, there are a good number of great startups and huge opportunities available for investors who are willing to take the initiative. Industries such as eCommerce are yearning for the right kind of investment and the potentials are enormous”.
How is your business participating to the development of Africa?
Priceslash.ng is making major headway in the following areas:
- Establishing a standard of Transparency and Accountability in the eCommerce ecosystem in Africa
- Through our unique offerings and core values we are able to break away from tradition and indirectly support freedom in creativity, promoting locally manufactured products across Africa and empowering merchant partners in the process. Thereby reducing dependence in obsolete systems which in overall improves quality of life, boosts morale and economic growth.