First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Luther Lawoyin: We are doing well, it’s a tough time for everyone globally, but we are surviving and thriving one day at a time
Tell us about you, your career, how you joined PricePally.
Luther Lawoyin: I am an entrepreneur, and I have been one all my life. My earliest experience in entrepreneurship was helping my mum in her cake and cookie business, where I was involved in procurement, production, deliveries, etc… That experience gave me an early start and the foundation I have today. I have founded and co-founded 5 companies to date. The first was silverpolls.com, an opinion polling firm but now defunct because it was hard to monetize at the time, I moved on and co-founded potatolagos.com, which was fairly successful, but I left due to differences with the CEO. Right after that, I started passjamb.com.ng, a test prep site for high school students preparing for university. It went well for 2+ years, and I later sold it to a rival company. I used the sale funds to create Lucy.ng, an e-commerce platform for branded merchandise, a million-dollar revenue company, and still running to date. I resigned from Lucy.ng about 2 years ago to face a more daunting task of improving food systems in urban Africa. I am currently CEO at Pricepally.com, and it’s been a rewarding journey so far, given the impact of the company on people’s lives. I intend to see pricepally.com through our 7-year vision.
How does PricePally innovate?
Luther Lawoyin: We leverage technology to improve every possible segment of the problem we are solving. We have built software to innovatively aggregate demand and match the supply from farmers and wholesalers. We have other solutions planned to improve this sector using tech.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Luther Lawoyin: The pandemic had good and bad effects on our business, it actually enabled us to accelerate our growth, but it also hampered our supply from farmers. It also had an effect on food prices and the time taken to get fresh supplies. We are coping fairly well, this experience has helped us to start building a more resilient food supply chain; it has given us foresight on how data can improve our supply chain significantly.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Luther Lawoyin: we have had to look out for other supply sources. We have tweaked our supply model, which has made us onboard more farmers but also drop others. We have had to improve our contract with farmers and suppliers in general. The most significant lesson is that we need to build a more resilient and efficient food system that couldn’t be disrupted like our initial system was.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Luther Lawoyin: My wife and daughter help out a lot, and our baby brings me joy every time of the day I spend with her. I also like to take walks in the evenings as well and generally touch base with family and friends.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Luther Lawoyin: Our main competitors are mom and pop stores that abound everywhere in the city. We believe our model will eventually win because we can also serve these mom and pop stores to become part of our food cooperative.
Your final thoughts?
Luther Lawoyin: We need more solutions to the problem of food in Africa. We have everything necessary to create a continent that feeds itself and the whole world but what is missing are systems and solutions to harness our natural and human resources. Africa has no business with hunger.