Lai Labode is a business logic expert with a very extensive knowledge of the African emerging markets. He is mobile finance expert and a serial innovator who has pioneered and developed many winning business models especially across multiple industries in the field of mobile finance. He founded and was the CEO of Salt & Einstein MTS – Africa’s first Mobile Financial Services Aggregator – up untill 2016 when he resigned from the company.
Labode is the initiator of MoneyBox Africa, the first company to receive approval for mobile money in Nigeria. He also initiated the Mobile Micro Credit Platform for goods and services in partnership with Greystone Partners Limited.
Lai Labode is currently the Managing Director, Mobile Gaming Limited – a consortium of Five Nigerian Companies and a government sports fund raising outfit poised to create a new gaming culture across Africa with its new All Chanel Model (ACM) .
He is a graduate of the University of Abuja where he studied accounting and law; and an Alumnus of the prestigious Harvard Business School.
In this interview with The Spark, he talks about his entrepreneurship journey, challenges he’s faced so far in the business world, projects he’s working on and The Spark he’d be giving off to encourage the Rookie of the month in his/her own pursuit of success.
See excerpt of interview as well as the full video interview below:
T.S: Tell us a little about yourself.
L.L: My name is Lai Labode, I’m an incurable optimist, a believer of Nigeria and in what the Nigerian people actually have. I also believe we can create the best companies the world has ever seen.
T.S: When and how did your entrepreneurship journey start?
L.L: I started this so many years ago, way back in the university, I started to organize shows, buy and sell land . I tried to make sure anytime when people were broke in school, Ihad the money to buy up what they needed to sell and give them a little time then sell back to them. So I have done that for quite a bit.
T.S: What key challenges do you face as an entrepreneur?
L.L: Since I started doing a lot of tech and I have done for many years. One of the key things that’ll really challenge you is understanding what it really takes to start a business and take it to the end and of course we are always looking for talent, finding the right fit can be very challenging. A lot of times you need to find people and train them to actually make things happen for yourself, you really need to know what you looking for and be ready to make an investment on those who work for you.
T.S: What will you give off as The Spark – an incentive to encourage the Rookie of the month in his/her own pursuit of success?
L.L: I will say three things. One, we are able to offer (we are doing that right now) some mentorship, some free consultancy and a little bit cash I’ll prefer not to disclose the amount.