Yes, you heard right. BuyPower is turning 5. We can’t believe how much time has passed since our initial launch. To commemorate this huge milestone, we sat with our CEO- Benjamin Ufaruna and our COO- Oladipo Asehinde, to generally talk about the BuyPower journey. Where we started from and how far we’ve come.
This year BuyPower turns 5. What are some of your thoughts and emotions associated with this milestone?
Dipo: Five years is a huge milestone. It is amazing to see how BuyPower has grown bigger than we imagined. Today, it’s no longer a dream. It is our reality. It has become an important platform to residents in the country. It’s just a really exciting phase we’re in. The journey has been bumpy but we have also grown.
Ben: Yes, we’ve made a lot of progress but there’s still a lot of work to be done. It’s been a long and hard road. We’ve executed the first phase of the BuyPower roadmap; We expanded as a team, raised venture capital. We’re one of the top 300 most trafficked websites in Nigeria. We have some of the biggest corporations in Nigeria (Banks, Telecos, Fintechs) as our partners and we’ve had acquisition offers.
There’s a lot to be grateful for but we’re not relenting in any way. It’s an interesting market and we’ll continue to dominate as market leaders.
Starting a business is hard. Growing a business in Nigeria is even harder. How did BuyPower start off? What were the challenges encountered in the first year that you were able to overcome?
Ben: BuyPower started off as a personal problem Dipo and I experienced as professionals working for an employer. As a software engineer, most times you have to work hard and work late.
Most times, when we got home late and our electricity units were exhausted, we had to stay in the dark until the next day because the physical payment centers of the distribution companies would be closed.
It was this constant frustration that got us thinking. Thankfully, I come from a technical background - which made it easier to figure things out on the technology side. Later on, we had to figure things out on the business side. The challenges we had were; figuring out the tech implementation, improving our customer experience, getting the DisCos to listen to us and take us seriously and finally raising capital.
Dipo: I agree with Ben. We realized that the initial methods of getting electricity were not sustainable. Especially since people have regular day jobs and businesses to attend to. Another issue was that you couldn’t even buy electricity using a card. You needed actual cash. We began to wonder why is no one solving this problem?
Initially, BuyPower was surviving on our pockets. Then it started to grow beyond what we could afford. That was when we realized we needed help. We got a lot of negative responses when we sourced for funding. At some point, it started to feel like BuyPower would end as a dream. But then one of our many funding applications came through.
Nice. What would you say are some of the biggest successes BuyPower has recorded over the past five years? And which of them are you most proud of?
Dipo: We have actually recorded a lot of successes. Increasing our talents from just us to over 60 staff has transformed the team and kept it running. We’ve also grown from covering only AEDC to covering 9 out of the 11 discos in Nigeria. I’m most proud of being able to contribute directly to our society by making life easier for residents in Nigeria.
Ben: Crossing over a million users definitely struck a chord with me. Growing from no traffic to one of the most trafficked websites in Nigeria definitely rubbed off the right way. Lol.
Tell us, what’s it like creating BuyPower products? What inspires you for each of these products?
Ben: Building products at BuyPower for me is about simplifying utility payments for customers and empathizing with them. I really don’t want anyone experiencing the hassle of staying in the dark as a result of not having access to a medium where they can purchase electricity. That’s a personal problem I experienced in the past. Absolutely no one should be in that situation
Dipo: Our inspiration came from finding how to use tech to solve the immediate problems around us. Today, it’s about using BuyPower to solve more of these problems.
Where do you see BuyPower in the next five years?
Dipo: I see Buypower as a Unicorn. A company that can't be replicated. Lol
Ben: Lol. Just keep watching this space. We'll be here for a long time.
And that’s it from the BuypowerHQ today!
We also spoke to some of our users about their experience with BuyPower over the last five years. You can check out the video here.
Keep an eye out on our social media pages for our upcoming events. There’s something for everyone.