Interview | From BuyRight to buying Konga, LeoStan Ekeh on e-commerce foray

Interview | From BuyRight to buying Konga, LeoStan Ekeh on e-commerce foray

Interview | From BuyRight to buying Konga, LeoStan Ekeh on e-commerce foray

0

Leo Stan Ekeh, Chairman of Zinox Group, the Nigerian technology conglomerate that bought e-commerce giant, Konga in a key e-commerce drive sees a thriving Nigerian market landspace, after his pioneering effort over a decade ago with BuyRight.

The Zinox Chairman tells Technology Times in an exclusive interview, ahead of the announcement of the Konga acquisition, that while his pioneering e-commerce foray in Nigeria fell through, the e-commerce space is now within business radar for his rebound.

And that include his son, Nnamdi Ekeh, who founded Yudala with an innovative mix of online and offline business models with support of his father and founder of the Zinox Technologies Group, which became a household name with its indigenous PC brand, Zinox.

“Yes. Given the fact I started online business more than ten years ago, but it failed because I started too early and then there was no human capital to support it. So, I failed”, Ekeh says in his tell-all interview with Technology Times billed to feature the technology entrepreneur on the cover of the March 2018 issue of iSpace, the Business & Lifestyle Magazine published by Technology Times.

According to LeoStan, Yudala averages N50 to N100 million and above per day despite launching into Nigeria during a period he cites as “a very tough economy.”

LeoStan Ekeh, Chairman of Zinox Group, seen in picture during interview with Technology Times at his home in Ikoyi, Lagos, tells us he carries stitches seen on his arm from an automobile accident that nearly cost his life. Photo by Kehinde Sonola/Technology Times
LeoStan Ekeh, Chairman of Zinox Group, seen in picture during interview with Technology Times at his home in Ikoyi, Lagos, tells us he carries stitches seen on his arm from an automobile accident that nearly cost his life. Photo by Kehinde Sonola/Technology Times

 

Ekeh’s Zinox Group announced last week that the acquisition of Konga enables the Nigerian tech conglomerate become the owners of the e-commerce group that include Konga.com, an online mall; KongaPay, a mobile money platform with over 100,000 subscribers licensed by CBN and KOS-Express, a digitally-driven and world class logistics company with advanced delivery capabilities for Konga and other companies across Nigeria.

Ahead of the landmark Konga deal, the Zinox Chairman, popularly called LeoStan, tells Technology Times that the time is now ripe for the Nigerian e-commerce boom and he supports this assurance with figures crunched by his son’s e-commerce business, Yudala.

According to LeoStan, Yudala averages N50 to N100 million and above per day despite launching into Nigeria during a period he cites as “a very tough economy.”

For Yudala alone, the Zinox mogul reckons that “when the economy rebounces, it is not impossible to make one billion.”

According to LeoStan, with Yudala, his son, Nnamdi “is chasing 500 million per day by last quarter of 2018.”

The tech mogul is also worried (read excerpts below) that his son is not always given due credit for his whizkid innovative business, Yudala, which is often associated with LeoStan.

LeoStan’s tell-all interview turned out to be a walk through his life, his initial vision of launching into the transportation business in Nigeria as well as one of life’s toughest blow in an automobile crash that left him nearly dead, and thirteen stitches that he still carries as reminder of that moment of his life.

The automobile crash sparked rumour of LeoStan’s and people took to their heels when he resurfaced after his recovery in a defining moment for a man who was a popular DJ, and has today become a major entertainment industry investor.

LeoStan’s sojourn to India was also to have a defining impact in shaping the innovative and business savvy Nigerian technology visionary, who is always ready to preach that his people have a lot to learn from the educational system and lifestyle of the Asian tech powerhouse.

LeoStan has this to say about India: “Their population was a burden at that time but they cheapened education. Education was quite cheap that a lot of them continued to study until they got a job. So if somebody did Masters degree in Political Science, he doesn’t get a job, he goes to do Agric. Science; he doesn’t get a job, he goes to do Pharmacy; he doesn’t get a job, he goes to read another thing.

“Now, when I came back, I did an article that India was an economy waiting to happen. Now what it meant was that an individual in India then had maybe about four or five degrees. So, if you employ him for one degree, he brings the experience of others but you are paying one salary and taking advantage of others.

“And when an economy produce such literate people, they are just waiting for an opportunity to exhibit what they learnt. So that’s why when technology unveiled, India grabbed it because they have the human capital. India has the greatest world class human capital in the world in any core sector and the university system help them”, LeoStan says.

LeoStan’s sojourn to India was also to have a defining impact in shaping the innovative and business savvy Nigerian technology visionary, who is always ready to preach that his people have a lot to learn from the educational system and lifestyle of the Asian tech powerhouse.

We have to look at India: LeoStan Ekeh, Chairman of Zinox Group, seen during interview with Technology Times. Photo by Kehinde Sonola/Technology Times
We have to look at India: LeoStan Ekeh, Chairman of Zinox Group, seen during interview with Technology Times. Photo by Kehinde Sonola/Technology Times

Interview Excerpt | LeoStan Ekeh on The Yudala Story

“You know I get uncomfortable when the media try to position Yudala as mine and I feel terrible most times. You know why? Yudala is a brainchild of my son. He started that at 23 when he was doing Youth Service. Yes. Given the fact I started online business more than ten years ago but it failed because I started too early and then there was no human capital to support it, So, I failed.

Now when he came, he said, “Daddy, if you don’t mind I would like to run a different kind of business. I don’t want to join you in what you are doing, I want to experiment but I am 100 percent sure it will work out.” I said what do you want to experiment?

He said, “I want to do online but I want to add offline to it.” I said, “that is not a bad one” and I thought it was revolutionary because every person was talking online online and he said he wanted to pioneer the online offline in the continent. I said, “you have my support.”

But we now talked about capital and all the rest and I said who do you want to partner with, he said he wants to partner with the sister. So, I called them and we chatted as a family. We had a family council. So we discussed it and we thought it was a good project and I told him to give me his road map and he did and I was excited because I didn’t rate him to be that knowledgeable.

So he was clear and he was passionate about it, and we had a meeting with the sister also and then we looked at their Master’s degree, how are they going to do it?

“Yudala is not part of Zinox Group. The relationship is because he is my son, he has to talk to me and I advise him and make sure he succeeds. But it is my prayer that he will do better than me.”

My son owns Yudala. People have to be fair to him: LeoStan Ekeh, Chairman of Zinox Group, seen during interview with Technology Times. Photo by Kehinde Sonola/Technology Times
“My son owns Yudala. People have to be fair to him”, says LeoStan Ekeh, Chairman of Zinox Group, seen during interview with Technology Times. Photo by Kehinde Sonola/Technology Times

The sister is so good in social media. She’s been wonderful in the social media and she planned to do digital marketing which she is doing now in Imperial College London. She started last September and she will complete July this year. So she will be the backend of that platform, so I wished them all the best and then we went through the registration.

So Yudala at the moment it is him and the sister who are the directors. But I know in future they will have more people. So I feel terrible that the young man is working 24 hours, he has no time and then the press credits me his whole efforts.

Yes. He is my son. I have to give him industry ideas, my experience in the country and support him to succeed and that is Yudala. Are they going places? Yes, very soon they will announce a new acquisition and he is very ambitious. I know he is working to get a hundred stores before April next year, it could be more. He is just turning some of his road map proposals.

The market is down at the moment globally and mall is not very cheap so he is conscious of that. Yudala is not part of Zinox Group. The relationship is because he is my son, he has to talk to me and I advise him and make sure he succeeds. But it is my prayer that he will do better than me.

Like I said, I see him in the next 3 to 5 years being bigger than me, which is a prayer of every parent and you know they tread cautiously.

Like I said, where we are coming from we are burdened, but you know, their own burden is to express themselves in the marketplace which by the grace of God they are doing. He is a very good boy, he is cost-efficient, he is not loud, he has simple lifestyle naturally and he wasn’t wasteful in school.

I think if you compare him with any of his classmates, he would have save me 40 percent. So he has been a peace of mind and he is my first son, so that is one of those God’s blessings.

So, that is my relationship with Yudala. So when people credit me, I feel they are being unfair to him. But he is my son. I can’t deny him. So, that is my story about Yudala.

Advertising
Technology Times Staff News and Reports from Technology Times Newsroom +234 1 454 1818

We want to hear from you...