Steven Nwadike: Disrupting photography industry through technology

by Josephine Okojie

June 11, 2018 | 12:11 am
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Steven Nwadike is a co-founder of Tringoo, a technology start-up that connects users to vetted professional photographers.

Steven, who spent his early years in Aba, Nigeria’s entrepreneurship hub, was inspired by his parents and his environment to become an entrepreneur at an early age.

“I have always been keen and interested in business from my early childhood. I used to accompany my dad to his shop at Ariaria International Market every Saturday. I also assisted my mum in managing her restaurant after returning from school,” Steven tells Start-Up Digest.

While an undergraduate, he founded his first tech business alongside other young people to provide digital solutions to students on campus.

After graduation, the young entrepreneur took entrepreneurship classes at Seedstarts Academy in Lagos to deepen his skills.

Upon graduation from the entrepreneurship class, he studied the business model of Uber and decided to replicate it on a different market. This prompted him to align with some friends to establish Tringoo in 2018.

“I started the business alongside three of my founding team members: Zenith Wogwugwu, Dominion Effiong and Ehma Ugbogo in January 2018,” the Computer Science graduate says.

Steven and cofounders started the photography business with their personal savings. According to him, Tringoo got a grant of N250, 000 from the British Council after two months of operation.

The money has been used to further grow the business.

Currently, the four co-founders are building the business with a bootstrapped budget.

The business has grown in its six months of operation.

“We are now having three to four jobs weekly compared with zero to one jobs weekly six months ago when we started. Ninety percent of the jobs we get are referrals from clients who have used our platform before,” he says.

Speaking on the challenges confronting his business, the young entrepreneur discloses that he is undone by the country’s difficult operating environment. He notes that the huge infrastructural gaps have continued to drive up the cost of production, making it difficult for businesses to survive.

He also identifies lack of mentorship as another major challenge affecting his business, saying that most of the people the co-founders have approached for mentorship are too busy to operate in that space.

Steven points out that lack of adequate finance is another challenge confronting the business.

“Nigerian investors expect early-stage start-ups to earn six digits revenue monthly before they invest in them. Most of the investors do not want to take a risk with start-ups until such businesses have attained massive traction,” he says.

He calls on the government to create an enabling environment to increase the survival rates of businesses in the country. He urges the government to make huge investments in the country’s power sector, noting that no economy can grow with adequate power supply and infrastructural facilities.

Steven also urges the federal government to provide more funding for entrepreneurship, noting that a lot of ideas are yet to be realised owing to inadequate finance.

Answering questions on some of their business expansion plans, Steven says,   “We are planning to have a physical presence in five major cities in Nigeria by next year and then in two years’ time expand to Ghana, Kenya and South Africa. With regard to product development, we are already building and testing some key features that will benefit both the photographers on our platform and our customers.”

He tells Start-Up Digest that the tech sector can help in diversifying the country’s economy.

“The technology industry is already playing a major role. Many technology hubs are springing up in the country and the tech ecosystem is growing tremendously.

“Technology is no longer acting as an enabler but is now a major sector that has the capacity to turn the Nigerian economic situation around. A lot of foreign investors are already investing in some big start-ups here in Nigeria. This is a sign that the technology space is going to play a key role in the diversification of the Nigerian economy,” he further says.

On his advice to younger entrepreneurs, he says, “Execution is everything, always keep building, test it fast in the market, learn and re-strategise.

“Seek partnerships from the right people. It is critical to the success of any business,” he adds.

 Josephine Okojie

by Josephine Okojie

June 11, 2018 | 12:11 am
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