Yay! The New Month Package is here. Happy new month and I hope we all entered the new month with many goals and energy to achieve those goals. As we have done in the past, we are releasing the third episode of The Nightmares of a Startup CEO where we interview young and top CEOs in African to share their story and what being an Entrepreneur means to them. In this piece, we had an interview with Mr Caleb Ifeanyi Udeh, the Founder and CEO of Lendify & Kohwope Limited. Lendify & Kohwope Limited is a fusion of digital and offline financial solution for the purpose of wealth creation/redistribution/optimisation and financial security for disruptive startups, emerging entrepreneurs, small scale/medium-scale business owners, working class, non-bank users and students. In this piece, he has summarized his entrepreneurial journey and future aspirations. Have a nice time reading this interesting piece.
INTERVIEWER: Can we know you Sir?
KOH: I am officially Caleb Ifeanyi Udeh by name but popularly known as Ifeanyi KOH. A farmer by heritage, philosopher by natural inclination and entrepreneur by occupation.
Ifeanyi KOH is Yoruba by birth. Igbo by origin. Fulani by facial look (winks). 7th of 8 Royalties. I’ll be 29 on November 4th. Single but not bothered.
That’s pretty much about me without exaggeration.
INTERVIEWER: So, what does Lendify & Kohwope Limited do?
KOH: In one sentence, we create, redistribute and or optimise wealth. If you like to know more about us, just ask or check our social media @Kohwope.
INTERVIEWER: That took some guts and passion and I am sure it wasn’t all plain sailing. What were challenges you encountered?
KOH: Yes, it wasn’t all plain sailing and it’s still not smooth.
Breaking into the market is still a big deal for us due to this era of Ponzi scheme and ravaging get-rich-quick syndrome. People are sceptical about putting their funds out to some new company that hasn’t been tested over time.
That aside, we had tough time during our registration with Corporate Affairs Commission. Protocol demands that we have license to practice savings, loans and other financial services. Took us lots of time and resources to scale the hurdle.
Another challenge is low capital base which I believe is not peculiar to just Lendify & Kohwope Limited. We are however staying committed to delivering quality, reliable and accountable services. In due course, we will sure win the hearts of investors.
I must not fail to mention the risk involved in our kind of business. It really is a big challenge, but we are on top of the game thus far.
INTERVIEWER: Absolutely, growth is prevalent despites all odds, kindly share your success story.
KOH: The success story is still in the pipeline. I would prefer to let it materialise and sell itself.
Trust me, we all (including the team and I) will be wowed.
INTERVIEWER: And failures?
KOH: Oh, I mentioned a couple of them as challenges. Our application was rejected ten times by the CAC. We also got nine queries before eventual registration.
Well, I must be candid there are times we had very tough times too. But you know, the fact that we are still here is a testament that we survived.
INTERVIEWER: Lovely, we have heard different paradigm of what inspired individuals to start-up their business, could you share yours?
KOH: Sincerely, the story behind our start up is a long boring one. I would not bore you with it.
However, growing up in a humble environment where nothing is readily available was everything but enjoyable.
Fortunately, I have two dads in similitude of rich dad and poor dad. Mine unfortunately, is two poor dads; one a generous teacher and the other a frugal farmer.
Living simultaneously with these two is a laughable wonderment and hard knotted puzzle…
You see, I told you it’s boring! So, let me just summarise.
I contested in the 2019 General Elections and my biggest take out is the need to find a link between the rich and the poor where people who deserved better standard of living will be given a platform to work their ways through.
INTERVIEWER: I am sure you were shamed at some point in your hustling.
KOH: It’s one too many. For me, it became normal at some point. People called me all sorts of name. 419, Yahoo boy and even ritualist.
Funny but real. Roaming the streets for marketing and collection was in no way fun but I made myself enjoy it.
Was always creating hilarious scenes which gave me acceptance status with some while others laughed me to scorn.
I look forward to telling my stories someday and truly inspire others alike. In the meantime, I’m proud in the honour my labour confers.
INTERVIEWER: That was a back-biting experience, but we learn from them.
KOH: My brother. I believe some of those talks are a pushing force to continue. Life is such that, envy results in slander. So, one mustn’t fall for such cheap hurdle.
INTERVIEWER: The world is now a global market and information is gotten from your plan, how do you harness technology as the CEO of Lendify & Kohwope Limited?
KOH: Well, I make bold to say that we are IT compliant. We may be lagging behind due to finance but we are very updated and even futuristic in our approach.
Just wait and see our website www.kohwope.com when we eventually launch it.
INTERVIEWER: Could you perhaps share with us what your funniest experience as an entrepreneur has been?
KOH: When I started out, I did marketing, collection and almost everything all alone. Everyday was a day to laugh!
One woman threatened to arrest me for marketing to her. She claimed I am a ritualist trying to gather people’s money for fetish purpose.
Maybe that wasn’t funny at the scene of event as she held on to my clothes, so I won’t run before police arrive.
Jeez, I don suffer. It was funny mehn!
INTERVIEWER: To wrap it all up, any advice to the upcoming or intending startups?
KOH: I’ll keep it simple and short. Identify a problem, create a solution, sell your solution legally and constantly improve. Be honest, consistent and responsive. Stay through to your vision. It might not come fully formed don’t be afraid to evolve. Most importantly, put your customers first.
INTERVIEWER: Are there any opportunities you’d like to share with us that you have harnessed that would help other entrepreneurs?
KOH: Yes, please. The very first is the abundance of human resources. To be sincere, we wouldn’t have gone thus far even if we had all the money in the world without people who believe and run with the vision. Human resources are the best and cheapest form of resources you can ever get.
Start-ups should reach out to investors. There are lots of grants for entrepreneurs. One of note is the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Program which I am a part of.
It was such an interesting time with the CEO of Lendify & Kohwope Limited.
Ayanleye Samuel Oluwafemi
Founder and CEO, Packaging Nation