Tosin Eniolorunda, the builder who won't stop building
When you think of money, happiness, financial happiness, TeamApt should take a front seat in your head. That’s what they’re known for, creating financial happiness for Africans.
Meet Tosin Eniolorunda, Founder & CEO of TeamApt
Founded in 2015, TeamApt is Nigeria’s largest business banking fintech, providing products that enable business owners, whatever their digital literacy level, and location, to access the full-service tech solutions, and ongoing support in real life, that they need, and can use to grow, manage, and protect their businesses.
With products simplifying access to financial services, offering business banking, payments and lending services to Africans leveraging its unique and diverse merchant network, TeamApt has about 230,000 active businesses onboarded on their platform.
In this feature, Tosin shares a bit about TeamApt’s contribution to the digitization of Africa’s economy, enabling the growth of businesses and his experience building TeamApt.
Stick with us, it’s an interesting read!
What do you love about building TeamApt?
I love how challenging it is. Everyone says that right? Let me explain. At TeamApt, we are devoted to simplicity. Anyone who has ever tried to optimise for simplicity in anything knows how difficult it is. I love that at TeamApt we take nuanced problems and create solutions that work and that everyone can use. Distilling these solutions to their most essential is very challenging, but worth the effort.
What is that one piece of advice you’d give to aspiring founders?
Be persistent. In the words of Tai Solarin, your road will be rough.
In his popular new year message published in 1964, he says “I wish myself plenty of tears and laughter, plenty of happiness and unhappiness, plenty of failures and successes. Plenty of abuse and praise. It is impossible to win ultimately without a rich measure of intermixture in such a menu.”
This is a sentiment I share, one that I have seen to be true. So my advice to aspiring founders is that they prepare for rough roads, and that, no matter where the journey takes them, be it shallow waters or the open sea, they persevere.
Who was your first hire? And what struck you about him/her?
My first hire was Emeka Ibe. He had this devotion to excellence that I thought transcended any other requirement. When a person is not satisfied with just okay, then whatever product they work on, in whatever situation, they produce the best results. And this was true for him.
Source: Disrupt Africa
Asides from the skillset, what would you say is the most important when it comes to building a sustainable business?
Reaction time. Sustainable businesses are dynamic. This means they can execute the big picture strategic actions that lead to sustained growth, while also responding to changes in the market be it a product pivot, the infamous great resignation, regulatory changes, and others. The quicker and more efficient a business’ reaction time is, the greater its staying power.
Are there things no one told you when you were building the company that you had to learn yourself, that is, learn the hard way?
The degree of responsibility that comes with being a startup founder. In our first year of operation, there was a rough month where it seemed the business did not have the resources to cover employee salaries. And the extent to which I felt responsible for not just my team but their families as well surprised me. I remember being stunned by the realisation and wishing I had been warned.
I was able to borrow money from my spouse to cover wages for that month but that feeling of the impact our business has on the lives of the people building it never left me.
Of course, now that is never a worry and I was able to repay the loan the next month. I remain grateful for that insight as it has informed how we think through culture at TeamApt. If you are there for your employees, they will be there for you as well.
What do you do to get over a bad day?
I read. On good days, yes, but especially on bad days. There is very little a good book cannot solve. I suspect that I seek solace in books because it allows my mind the stillness it needs to process whatever problems the day brought on, auditing behind the scenes. So that, by the time I emerge from the pages, I have the necessary tools to make the next day better. It’s also fun for me. I love a good story.
If you weren't building your startup, what else would you be doing?
I’d be building a startup. Lol. But seriously, it’s true. Only in this case, the company would produce state of the art hardware for sustainability-focused businesses.
How did you come up with the name, "TeamApt"?
TeamApt is an abridged version of TeamAptitude. Aptitude is defined as one’s natural ability to do something. Your suitability to or fitness for a task or situation. Imagine a world-class athlete, let’s say, Serena Williams. Now imagine 280 Serena Williams’ on one team. That’s TeamApt.
Starting out, I envisioned assembling an all-star team and together creating excellent products that are innovative enough to solve problems, and simple enough to be used in the real world. Thankfully, we have been successful in building that team. The work continues.
Would you like to be a part of this team? They’re hiring!
Thanks for reading! Now would be a good time to subscribe if you haven’t ;)