Tobi Faranpojo, a graduate of Redeemers University in Actuarial Sciences, is a co-founder of Wifix.ng. He speaks with INNOCENT ENETA about his passion for technology and business
What inspired the creation of Wifix.ng?
Getting your damaged phone fixed can be a real nightmare. Wifix.ng was inspired by bitter repair experiences of some of the founders. We came together to start Wifix.ng with a common goal of making a difference and being the difference. Wifix.ng was founded by four people but two have left.
What made the other two partners to pull out?
They left because of differences in goals and to chase other opportunities.
What makes your platform unique, considering that there are other companies that offer similar services?
In our industry, which is marred by so many quacks, we offer trust, integrity and effective and efficient repair service, which is what most other companies lack.
What is your business model?
Our business model was created to provide a hassle-free process. We are online; customers can order their repairs on our website or through our social media channels and we will pick up the phones from them, repair and return them. We also have our office in Surulere where customers can walk in and get their repairs done.
What strategy do you have in place to ensure your platform remains the preferred option for clients/customers?
Our strategy for remaining relevant is to keep our promises to our customers and also find innovative ways to improve our business offering, thereby ensuring we are always able to offer solutions to whatever issues they may be having regarding their mobile devices. We have strategic partnerships with major mobile brands and we will also continue to build this kind of partnerships.
What do you think about the growth of the technology services industry in Nigeria?
In recent years, there has been a rapid growth of the technology services industry, which is evident in the emergence of startups like Andela, Paga, Hotels.ng and the like. What we need is for the government to make policies to favour the growth of tech businesses and create a more eco-friendly environment.
What kind of problems can this app fix on mobile devices?
We offer both sales and repair services for mobile devices including smartphones, laptops and tablets for selected brands like Apple, Samsung, Tecno, Infinix, Huawei, HP, Dell and the like. We deal with issues like broken screens, water damages, software issues, faulty keyboards and a whole lot of issues.
In what ways do you think entrepreneurs can use technology to grow their businesses?
Let me say this, there is no business that cannot be done online. Technology can be used to reach, acquire, and manage customers. It also can be used to build an effective and efficient business structure and process; all these are the prerequisites for business growth.
How many users do you currently have?
From the inception in 2016 till date, we have carried out over 2,500 mobile repairs which include individuals and corporate organisations.
Where do you see your company in the next five to 10 years?
We see ourselves being the biggest repair franchise in Nigeria, not only mobile but also other technological devices and appliances.
What are some of the biggest challenges you faced in developing this platform?
The first major challenge is the general cost of running a business in Lagos; the environment is harsh and there are a lot of taxes and fees, including local government fees, a high cost of Internet and utility bills.
Also, acquiring the right technical knowledge was difficult as we have a lot of trial-and-error technicians. We do not have enough institutions teaching or dishing out competent engineers.
The issue of raising and getting funding was also a major challenge. Access to cheap loans is almost impossible.
And generally, people are yet to accept online repairs as they do not trust the industry.
What are you doing in terms of acquiring the right technical knowledge?
We recruit our engineers from some of the major vocational schools and we also do in-house training periodically when there is a new trend or a new technology.
Why haven’t you approached the government for tax holiday, knowing that you are contributing to nation building?
This is easier said than done. The right information about tax holiday isn’t readily available. We all know how difficult it is to approach the government to get things done in this part of the world.
Considering the growing number of people using mobile devices in Nigeria, what are you doing to extend your services to all parts of the country?
As I said earlier, the goal of our business is to become a franchise in Nigeria with branches across the country but for now, we have partnered with some courier services to be able to cover some states in terms of offering pickup and delivery services. Potential customers can send their damaged devices to our office from any part of the country through their preferred courier vendors.
Are you thinking of partnering with other entrepreneurs?
Yes. We have built some partnerships and we are opened to strategic partnerships with any entrepreneur who will be of value to us.