SOLVING INDIGENOUS PROBLEMS, THE INDIGENOUS WAY: INTERVIEW WITH DIMEJI FALANA OF IT VESSEL

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Happy New year to all our readers from around the world. Today’s interview is with Dimeji Falana, CEO of IT Vessel, an IT company, focused on developing innovative, reliable and efficient Software, Web and Mobile Applications for Individuals, Businesses and Institutions in Enterprise and Education Sector. He was recently listed as one of the Top35-Under35CEO shaping the Future of Africa.  Find out how this daring young entrepreneur from Ilorin, one of the largest cities in Nigeria is delivering optimum technology value in education and enterprise. Enjoy the interview……

 

It’s great to have you on “Under35CEO” today. Could you please introduce yourself to the “Under35CEO” community?

I’m Dimeji Falana, a graduate of Computer Science from University of Ilorin. I’m business leader in the Mobile, Web and Cloud Application (SaaS) development industry, and co-founder of  IT Vessel which we started about 4 years ago, IT Vessel has the vision of delivering optimum technology value in Education and Enterprise. I’m currently, the CEO of the company.

 

How old are you now?

28 years.

 

IT Vessel has a vision of delivering optimum value in education and enterprise. Can you tell us what inspired you to start this great company?

Education provides a huge opportunity for better national positioning in the global Village. If we can get it right in the educational sector, then every other sector will gain the required avenue of expression to make our country a better place. The standard of education makes the difference between developed and underdeveloped countries. Nelson Mandela once said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.

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Tell us, how did you raise startup capital?

We did not launch our business with any capital from any source. In fact we paid our initial bills from the turnover of N90, 000 got from deployment of the first version of Edves Basic (formally known as ISMS). That was with Dare Adebayo, the co-founder, in 2010.

 

IT Vessel is also into apps development. Can you tell us what motivated you to learn how to build apps?

Mobile devices are readily available and accessible by individuals, we believe in placing digital processing abilities on the palm of every user. The wide adoption of cloud technology brightens the future of mobile applications, especially in the area of storage and platform.

 

Tell us about m-portal.

M-Portal is the first one-stop-shop mobile portal for higher institutions in Nigeria. It provides on-the-go access to academic and administrative operation for educators and students. Some of these are traditional portal functionalities (registration, result, payment etc), learning management (e-library, e-classroom etc) and administrative functionalities (statistical reports, email, sms etc). This app is currently available on Android market.

 

Africans need to synergies and solve indigenous problems, the indigenous way.

Which of the apps you’ve developed is the most challenging as far as development is concerned?

The M-Portal. We  spent 2 years on research, requirement gathering, needs assessments, development, testing etc.

 

What exactly motivates you to do what you do daily?

Providing unequalled customer experience and delivering optimum technology value to customers, and the desire to be the first in Nigeria and the whole World.

 

Can you tell us the biggest successes and failures you’ve experienced so far in your entrepreneurial journey? What were they and what were the things you learnt from them?

My successes include:

  • Building solutions that are enjoyable by the users;
  • Release of Edves Basic and Tertiary (Phone, Tablet & Desktop);
  • Building the biggest and robust Youth Database-Driven Application for Kwara State;
  • Deploying Edves Tertiary to the first Client in November 2014;
  • Hosting the best and biggest ICT4School Summit in Dec., 2014.

Failures:

  • The service on skypaste.com was not properly planned. So we had to kill it and reinvent it in the future.
  • Server downtime due to maintenance for over 5 working days in 2012.

Lessons learnt:

We have since learnt that thorough planning together with high adaptability (agility) can be such valuable qualities in a fast paced world.

 

What do personally think is the biggest struggle young entrepreneurs have to deal with?

Starting, innovation and Continuity.

 

How do you come up with ideas and choose the best ones to work on and make them successful?

I pray and discuss ideas with team members in a relaxed atmosphere, and also, the best ideas always win, irrespective of who suggests it.

 

If you were to start your entrepreneurial journey all over from scratch, what are some of the things that you would do differently and why?

  • I will give better attention to marketing and sales (No market no business);
  • Getting the best engineers as early as possible (It always pays to invest in people);
  • Applying for acceleration programmes.

 

What has been the main achievement of IT Vessel so far?

As at 22nd of Dec. 2014, over twenty-three thousand (23,000) students have been enrolled and eighty-two thousand (82,000) students’ results have been computed from 54 Schools in 8 states in Nigeria, using our EMIS, Edves Basic.

 

Do you have any suggestions for copying with negative experiences?

Proper preparation and business continuity plan are the keys to handle negative experience in business, especially in the highly demanding, IT world.

 

How big is your organization? Could you share with us some growth number?

ITvessel is a firm with 13 employees. Serving over fifty thousand (50, 000) users on all applications.

 

What are your plans for the future?

  • To satisfy more clients and end users;
  • To deliver value for technology with inventions and reinventions;
  • To strengthen and satisfy the workforce with world-class training and good wages.

 

What do you think about Under35CEO?

Under35CEO is a voice, for emerging young business leaders.

 

Any advice for young/aspiring entrepreneurs reading this interview?

Do not wait until you are set or money is available, try out something. Manage your connections with respect. Allow right-thinking, do not get carried away with little or big success.

 

Any last words……?

Africans need to synergies and solve indigenous problems, the indigenous way.

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Are you a young entrepreneur under the age of 35 with an interesting story of success (or failure)? If yes, then the Under35CEO community has something to learn from you.

Kindly send us an email.

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