Founder Feature: Ayo DawoduThis week we sat down with Loystar CEO Ayo Dawodu. Read on to learn why he’s grateful for MEST!
Where are you from?
I am from Lagos Island, Nigeria.
Tell me a bit about your company.
At Loystar, we discovered that there are a growing number of African small businesses in the hospitality space including food, fashion, beauty, and other related sectors. These merchants do a fairly good job at acquiring customers, but it’s difficult for them to keep these customers coming back.
Loystar is a customer loyalty platform that helps merchants sell their products or services, connect with their customers and drive repeat sales in their business. Customers can also discover local brands that reward them for their continuous patronage. We’ve been around for about 20 months now and we have merchants actively using the product in Ghana, Nigeria and USA.
Why did you come to MEST?
I came to find a co-founder.
How did MEST help get you to where you are today?
MEST has definitely helped me discover talent I could bring together to build a great company with. For that, I’m immensely thankful. The network is also very rich. Anyone within the MEST community can easily be one degree away from a Bill Gates or a Larry Ellison.
What do you wish you had known as an EIT? Do you have any advice for this year’s group?
Don’t underestimate or in any way disregard the importance of a stellar onboarding process for your product or service. That’s one thing I wish I had paid more attention to as an EIT.
As an advice to this year’s group, I would say don’t build toy startups. However you interpret that, you would likely be correct. Don’t build toy startups.
If you could go back in time to when you were just starting your company, what would you tell yourself?
It’s not been such a long time since we started and we probably have not had our greatest lessons, yet. However, I would still tell myself the same thing. A phrase I actually first learnt from Ben and Josh (Top 30s Meltwater sales people), “Persistence beats resistance”.
What have been some of the biggest challenges you've faced while at the MEST training program and the MEST Incubator? How did you get past these challenges?
The biggest challenge now is the actual thing we do. Running the business, which we bootstrapped, is hard, but it’s equally fun, too. The bigger the challenge, the more fun it is.
Back at MEST, the main challenge was just dealing with the new environment and the different characters I interacted with.
What do you like most about Ghana?
Coming from a crazy place like Lagos, it has to be the (relative) ease of moving around.
What is your favorite memory from your time at MEST?
Surfing at Krokobite and Busua beaches, listening to Jorn and invited guests speak during guest lectures. Inspiring moments.
What is your favorite tech company? Why?
Salesforce. I love the concept of SaaS because of the power of it’s scale. It’s pure software, the methodology allows you “rent out” bits and bytes, that’s powerful and salesforce kinda pioneered it.
Who/what inspires you?
My Faith in God inspires me.
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Due to COVID-19, MEST postpones training program to next year and doubles down on growing portfolio companies
At MEST, we continue to be deeply concerned about COVID-19 and have been closely monitoring developments locally and globally. Our number one priority remains the health and safety of our community and we will continue to follow local authority and health official guidelines.
Due to the ongoing nature of the pandemic and the uncertainty that the future of travel holds, we have been unable to conduct in-person interviews and host recruitment around Africa for our next cohort. For this reason, we have taken the decision to postpone the Training Program to next year.
While these circumstances are indeed unfortunate, we see this as an exciting opportunity at MEST to double down on providing support and mentorship to our existing portfolio companies and the African ecosystem.
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