Abdulhafeez Babatunde is a co-founder at BBF marketplace, which is an online marketplace for students to buy and sell goods and products. He co-founded this startup alongside his brother, both being students of a tertiary institution. In this chat with TechMoran, Hafeez lets us in on his startup, what brought about the idea, their funding journey and lots more.
What birthed the idea of BBF marketplace? Did you want to purchase or sell something on campus and got disappointed?
Necessity, they say is the mother of all inventions. Sometime last year, a friend and I were trying to get an item, although expensive. So we had to save up to buy it. Few days after the purchase, a fellow student, one in my department at that had the same item for sale was selling it at a real bargain! He said he didn’t know I was interested in buying it. I felt bad and sought for a solution, an BBF Marketplace became that solution. A solution for bridging the gap between student entrepreneurs and the huge market available to them within the university community.
Let us in more on the marketplace and how it has grown since launch?
BBF Marketplace is a free online classifieds platform that eases buying and selling amongst students on campuses and even beyond. It’s launch net with quite a high level of enthusiasm amongst the students of University of Ilorin and it has experienced remarkable growths since its launch.
What has been your greatest challenge since launch of the startup?
I believe no innovation is worth with its existence if no one knows about it. So far, my major challenge has been in the the area of getting the word out there. Although, yes we are achieving that already but I have been lucky enough to have a strong and result-oriented team and as such we are setting goals to expand to at least 5 other universities by first quarter of 2018. Also, is the inevitable challenge of financing.
Why students? Why didn’t you just create a general online marketplace?
It is safe to assume that lots of online marketplaces exist and a break from the norm was needed. The idea was to create something that solves a problem and focuses on a particular niche; the students. The number of student entrepreneurs in dire need of exposure out there is amazing and BBF Marketplace is poised to particularly solve that.
Tell us about the team behind BBF marketplace, or is it just you at the helm of affairs?
BBF Marketplace was co-founded by myself and my brother, Lukman. With a good team behind the curtain too; Ogedengbe Paul as Director of Technical Operations and Adeku Nana Hawau as the Ditector of Media Publicity Operations. We are looking to recruit volunteers in the following months.
How is BBF marketplace funded? Totally bootstrapped, or you’ve had some investments?
It is safe to say, we are completely bootstrapped at the moment.
Tell us about your business model.
Just as every modern startup with global goals, BBF Marketplace employs multiple models. The Direct Sales model where we connect sellers directly to intending buyers and ease the process of buying and purchase and also, the franchise model where the scope and approach is built upon an improved version of a model.
In 5years what are your dreams for BBF marketplace?
5 years is a really long time and I’d be disappointed if we have not ‘conquered’ 50% of African tertiary institutions by then!
Going back in time, what would you have done differently as regards managing the startup?
Well, I don’t have any regrets really, but if there’s something I could have done differently, it would be to have started BBF Marketplace earlier and also putting some extra infrastructure in place.
Do you manage any other startup asides BBF marketplace?
As a matter of fact, I do, as I continously work to improve. BBF Marketplace in itself is part of a bigger establishment in InfoLynk ICT, and we basically focus on building solutions to African and indeed global problems through ICT. We also have a social enterprise that advocates for increased ICT literacy.
Please share an advice for other young startup founders like you.
My favourite quote, “What we think, we become”. There’s no limit to what can you can do and a whole of greatness can be achieved of you put your commitment to it. You are the one the world is waiting for.