Founders Spotlight with CEO of Liveable Start-up
Liveable provides renting and living solutions that help ambitious professionals maximise their career and earning potentials. Kunle Jinadu has been featured on CNN, Bloomberg TV Africa, Punch Newspapers (Nigeria), Venturburn among other local and international media organisations, won international innovation awards and more.
We've seen and heard of some innovators who didn't have the full works of education but how important is some form of entrepreneurial education & training, to be able to turn an innovative idea into a successful business?
Lawunmi Nwaiwu interviews the CEO of Liveable - Kunle Jinadu; as he shares insight on how he was able to raise funding for his business and building a business team.
Q: Okay, let's dive in. How did you start your business, Liveable? What is the motive behind the brand?
We say that liveable is a housing solution that helps the most ambitious young people transform their career. We believe that housing or where people live affect how people grow their careers. So if you live four hours from work then it means that you don't have enough time to network with people or sort of invest in trainings cause you have to go back and forth for several hours. So the focus for us is how can we help young people who are thinking about growing their careers or transform their lives, their finances, to find the right housing solutions. So there's a big connection for us between housing, where you live and your finances.
Q: At times when you start a business and things are not going the way as expected, one would feel like giving up. Did you ever feel like that when you started Liveable?
Wow. Does that happen every day? yes, many times. I think that what kept us at Ginger Box for a long time was that there was a passion for people to eat healthy. I had gone through a phase where I had to figure out my diet and I sort of learned how important that was for not just living healthy but also for productivity at work. So there's a big connection between those two things. Liveable we started with a different model, figured where it wasn't going to work, changed it, and we just sort of renovated. It's about helping people become the best version of themselves, whether it's getting healthy, living healthier or about improving themselves through our housing solutions. Money is a good thing that people talk about, money and the profit that comes, but when you find the right problem or you are really passionate about it, it'll keep you going.
Q: Covid 19 has had a very big impact on some businesses, small businesses, even big businesses. And right now people are looking for other mediums of making money or just finding their inner passion. So my question to you is why do you think individuals these days are looking to become entrepreneurs themselves?
I think context matters if you're in Nigeria and there aren't a lot of jobs, then people are thinking maybe I should start a small business. I'll say that that's not the perfect scenario because starting a business is maybe tougher than keeping a job. People are realizing that Africa has great potential. There are so many problems to solve that have not been solved. There are very simple things that you'll do everywhere in the world with very little friction, So there are two sides, I believe. People start businesses either because they cannot find a job, they can't find reasonable employment or they've identified a solution to a problem that is a clearly a big problem - a problem that they feel like they can solve and get revenue from. That's what I would say will be to motivations depending on where entrepreneur is.
Q: Would you say that one has to be very educated to become an entrepreneur?
Depends on what education is. You can learn without going through the four falls of a school or university. If you own good run a business, you have to learn continuously. So one of the things that we say are covers are liveable is 'continuous learning'. You have to constantly learn, things change, things evolve. You're trying to solve a problem that nobody has solved. You have to experiment and learn from it. So, two things, one could go through a formal educational system or you can decide to learn by yourself. After all, some of the greatest entrepreneurs in the world never had to go through all of that six or maybe 14 years of education to achieve success.
Q: Awesome, lack of access to capital is one of the major reasons or the major barriers that young entrepreneurs face when they start a business. So how were you able to raise funding for your business?
So I'll step back to say that my first ever investor was my mom and then got a couple of friends to invest along the journey.
My second major investor, was from colleagues and a customer. When you are able to show some traction after you've raised from family and friends, you now can get money from institutional investors. So with Ginger Box, we showed some traction. We were able to raise some money from an strong investor but when you do the business for a couple of years, you should understand what building a business means. You go back and take all the lessons learned and consider what the next big idea is. It becomes one step easier cause you are now a second time founder. I think investors trust second time founders more than first time founders. They want see that you've learned. And of course when you present your idea to them, you're presenting a far better way of sustaining your business.
Q: How are you able to build your team?
We are currently adding a good number of people to the team. It's a combination of space referrals. You're looking for the best possible people. People who have joined us in the past are referred by people that trust us. Of course there are other tools, like LinkedIn, or working with professional companies. All this can help you get the right people on the team. To attract the best people, you probably need to have a vision - a vision you can sell. Regardless of what channel you're using to get this talent, I think what's important is being able to sell that big vision to them. You can be part of something interesting when you're an early stage - and people may contemplate joining your team, but when you're a bigger company - people want to be a part of the team.
Thanks Kunle, from everyone at The Moment of Truth Nigeria. If you are a business start-up, you can watch Season 1 of The Moment of Truth Business Reality Show or subscribe to the channel for inspirational & educational content.