Solving logistics is a key part of the puzzle in co-creating
The Man Himself
I’d describe myself as a reserved but highly observant person who has always had an eye for business. I recall in primary school when I would use my pocket money to buy small chocolate bars and sell to my classmates during class breaks. This business acumen developed and constantly evolved leading me to try my hands on multiple business ventures; from simple trading with friends to building solutions to global problems.
I started GRICD in 2017. Prior to that, I got involved in Agriculture where we crowd sourced funds to enable farming operations. We experienced a lot of losses upon harvest due to knowledge gaps and challenges with accessing affordable and efficient storage facilities. These challenges inspired me to think of and design a solution that could help prolong the useful life of harvested produce and consequently reduce farmers’ losses. In attempting to solve this problem, we developed a solution, which turned out to be replicable across diverse verticals including health.
We bootstrapped all through 2017 into mid-2018 and fortunately, we got into the FBStart program sponsored by Facebook, where we were able to raise funds to develop/build the first phase of our actual product.
Our product has gained a lot of acceptance in the market since we launched it and achieved popularity with members of the healthcare community/public. We have held exhibitions/showcases at various programs including Access Bank Disrupt 2019 where we got very engaging and positive feedback from the community.
GRICD and the Economy
GRICD is a cold chain technology company built to provide affordable, autonomous cold chain solutions for storage and logistics in Healthcare and Agriculture. We are a hardware startup that prides in building our solution in Nigeria. As difficult as that may seem, we believe it’s the right way to go to foster technological growth.
According to FIIRO, Nigerian farmers lose more than 50% of their produce annually. So, almost half of the total revenue to be earned on produce is lost due to the absence of good storage facilities. GRICD aims to bridge that lacuna and help preserve and increase the revenue of those in the agro supply chain. Given that agriculture still accounts for a huge proportion of informal employment especially among rural populations, any solution that helps save close to 50% of farmers’ revenue is surely a welcome development for the economy.
I would give a lot of credit to my team for consistent innovation. In recent months, my primary focus has been strategy and business development. My team members, Godwin (Embedded Systems Engineering Lead ) and Simi (Software Product Lead) have played vital roles in continuous innovation. They are very passionate about solutions and always come up with new and plausible ideas. Most times, I listen to their recommendations on what’s possible based on user experience, economic value and milestones timelines.
Nigerian tech entrepreneurs are already competitors on the global scene and we have seen this through the number of acquisitions that have taken place in the last 5 years. Last year alone, acquisition transactions worth $178 million took place and it is evident that our indigenously grown solutions are not just solving local challenges but are also becoming increasingly accepted on a global scale.
Building a business as a young entrepreneur makes you susceptible to a lot of mistakes, especially in this clime and with all the structural challenges that exist within the ecosystem. Mistakes in hiring and people management were made in the early years of starting out but, as with growing pains, they helped to teach lessons, to refine and reshape our business strategy as it relates to hiring, motivating and retaining people long-term.
The feedback from our clients has been great. Their opinions serve as a resource to improve customer experience. More often than not, we ask for customer feedback to know what the customer thinks about our product and how we can improve on our service, which enables us to stay ahead in our industry.
I consider Femi Adeyemo, CEO of Arnergy as a role model. I am impressed by his discipline, incredible work ethic, tech savviness, continuous innovation and his commitment to ensuring profitable bottom lines and not just fundraising. They recently concluded their Series A funding last month where they raised $9 million. He’s definitely someone that inspires me and the team at GRICD.
Building GRICD is taking up all my time at the moment but hopefully when we achieve some important milestones, I should pick up on my writing.
Oghenetega Iortim is the Co-founder/CEO at Gricd, a business that builds last-mile smart cold chain solutions that facilitate effective storage and transportation of temperature-sensitive commodities. He has managed multiple software development projects that process over $1 Million in annual revenue and has worked on technology development initiatives across multiple industries including Power, Manufacturing, Agriculture, Oil and Gas. Tega is also interested in where Technology meets agriculture and healthcare.