Before You Code, Get a Lawyer for Your Startup



By Adeniji Olamilekan

Entreprenuership is not as easy a venture as people seem to see it, it takes a lot of trying, failures and and lot of time paying back for the wrong steps we take. But starting small, modifying along the way, undoing your mess and and learning from it can lead you to the top.

Business is more than the idea, it takes a whole lot of planning, sleepless nights, meeting people who might be partners or employees or customers or just motivators. There will be those who will see the positive and encourage you. There will be those who will the negative and discourage you and still others will simply copy your idea and start a similar firm.

To me, an entreprenuer is a person who see’s an opportunity and grabs it no matter what. A person that want to be free, someone that wants to help the community, improve the livelihood of others, create employment for others, somebody that has the “HUSTLER DNA“ running in their veins. No matter what may happen to the venture they will find a way to start all over again.

When such a person fails he or she will look up, stands on their feet again and continue the journey. They do not bury their face in shame and stay there mourning. That is who am calling a hustler. Such is the blood that is needed for any venture to be successful.  That`s when you are a true entreprenuer because like a mother, you never give up on any of your sturbborn child but continue to love them until they crack the right path in life even if they have all the degrees and phD’s out there. You need a mentor too, as mentors give much needed advice on the startup journey. Mentors can be like minded like you, so you can flow and learn from them.Attending conferences also give one the insight and encouragement to go on plus more knowledge about what they are doing.

A while back, a good friend of mine decided to launch a start up venture. We didn’t have any money and so approached some other guy who could fund us and be chairman but as fate could have it, the guy died and so was the idea of “EastWood Group of Companies.”

I thought that was the end of it. After a few years, my friend called me one day with a new idea that he was working on and told me he had found an investor and needed a co-founder. You know what happened next. i was in. We wanted to make things happen big time.

I went and registered and began working on the project from Ado to Lagos. Shuttling from home to where we were working from. After finishing the project, we launched in beta for testing, created all the  social media pages and even set up Facebook ads. We then began testing our friends on  Whatsapp and BBM to test run the site for any bugs.

A few weeks into the project, my friend said he wanted me in Lagos really quick. He told me he had urgent news he wanted to tell me as soon as I was there. And so I left but when I arrived in Lagos, things were not as I expected. My friend told me that few weeks back, a company came to him proposing to buy us out (our idea and company name) for Four Million Five Hundred Thousand Naira (4.5m) . They asked him to provide all the necessary documents to verify with their lawyer before they make any payments.

When our angel investor heard that, he changed his mind; saying he had spent upto Seven Million Naira (7m) on the project that he is the one that will collect the money. Me and the co-founder had actually burned our Two Hundred Thousand Naira (N200,000) on the project. I had 30% share in the company and had followed up all the documentation and all. Just briefly before we get the whole juice.

slider3When you start a venture, get a lawyer. Don’t have in mind that this person is a pastor he can’T stab me in the back or this person is my sister or brother. We stood our ground and the angel investor lost out his inflated returns. We told the guys he’s not the owner of the company but just an angel investor. As expected, the guy went, hired developers and with our business plan and documented MVP documents created and sold to the guys who wanted to buy us out.

I was very furious about that pastor and after that we went to Co Creation Hub instead of working from our homes and because they have more experience about startups than us. At CC Hub we met Olaolu, the facility manager, discussed the issue with him and with what he said I realised that if we created this and it’s successful, that means we can create another that will be more successful than that and maybe we should work on our idea and create a venture that will be more stronger than what had been stolen.

If I can do this, I can still do more better things than that because the hustler DNA is always in the vein. We do what we believed in, never give up on, “smart people great nation”. I just want young entrepreneurs like me to be careful who they share their ideas with and learn from my mistakes to always bring professionals into any venture they are starting, a competent and trustworthy lawyer with experience on start up venture is high recommended.

Now, we are building eziRent to be Nigeria’s biggest online marketplace for both properties and related services. We want to be a go to place for all Agents, Real Estate Developers, Landlords, Property Managers and labour service renderers at once. We will allow them to create their personal and business profiles, advertise their products and services and meet their clients on our platform. Any exit or deal minus a lawyer will mostly end up bitter.