Q & A with TopUpNigeria M.D.

Mr. Firopo Akin-Agunbiade (FAA) is the Managing Director of Top Up Nigeria, the one stop online shop for Nigerian GSM Cell phone top up (MTN, Celtel, Glo and Starcomms). In this engaging interview, Naija to the Core finds out more about TopUpNigeria, dealing with the growth of e-commerce and low levels of internet penetration in Nigeria and the future of TopUpNigeria, as well as a word of advice for up and coming entrepreneurs from Mr. Akin-Agunbiade.

Mona: Hello Mr. Akin-Agunbiade, could you please introduce yourself (i.e. who you are in the company) and your academic profile as well as places you have worked prior to starting TopUpNigeria?

FAA: I am the MD of Funtech Communications UK Ltd. We are a company based in the UK with a Nigerian subsidiary called
Topupnigeria.com Nig Ltd with big ideas and a lot of determination. The company has primarily 2 directors, that is, me and Tayo Ogunlade.

I am an architect by training and a business man by nature. My CV is quite diverse. I attended
UNILAG where I studied architecture. My career started with an Italian Facade engineering company based in the UK - Permasteelisa UK Ltd. There, I worked as assistant project manager for 3 years and rose to Project manager, where I worked for a further 2 years. I went to work for Laing O'rourke Construction UK Ltd as a Facade Project manager before I discovered and created

Mona: Why did you start TopUpNigeria/what was the motivation?

FAA: I started
www.topupnigeria.com as a hobby to provide a service to Nigerian’s in disapora to simply have a link back to Nigeria from anywhere you are in the world. It started with a discussion with a friend of mine called Osaze who was visiting the UK and worked for one of the telecoms companies in Nigeria. I was running another International calling card business as a small side business and he was amazed at the technology and wondered why I did not do it for Nigerian recharge cards. The light bulb lit up in my head and it all just came together with other ideas I was developing on paper.
The motivation is the new technology and the potential of the business to give Nigeria a presence in the internet trading world.

Mona: What/Who are your market base?

FAA: Nigerians everywhere in the world i.e. in Nigeria and abroad

Mona: How old is TopUpNigeria?

FAA: 16months

Mona: What has the response been to your product so far?

FAA: Response has been good. We can't complain

Mona: What is the easiest way to advertise and has it been effective?

FAA: Word of mouth is the best and easiest way to advertise and so far our reputation as a clean company is paying off.

Mona: Are you the only one in this segment of the market?

FAA: Well as you know, when a good thing starts others follow. We have some competition.

Mona: Is the business solvent yet and do you have major overheads?

FAA: Yes we are solvent and there are major overheads

Mona: What's the future of top up Nigeria?

FAA: The future is very bright and we are excited about it.

Mona: Is TopUpNigeria accessible ONLY over the internet?

FAA: Yes we are only accessible on the internet for the service we offer right now.

Mona: What impact does this have on your business since internet penetration is very poor in Nigeria?

FAA: Well, the industry is growing very fast in Nigeria. People are getting more comfortable with the internet in Nigeria and Nigerians all over the world

Mona: Do you have a lot of patronage outside of Nigeria and can we pay for the service with foreign payment platforms (MasterCard/Visa etc)?

FAA: Yes we get patronage outside Nigeria and you can pay with any payment card in the world.

Mona: Are you alone or do you have partners?

FAA: Yes I have a major partner call Tayo Ogunlade. He is a director of the company.

Mona: Do you see the internet having a serious impact on Nigerian businesses and how near or far away is this going to happen?

FAA: The internet is already changing the face of Nigerian businesses. I think within the next 5 years Nigeria will begin gain real interest from the international internet community.
Mona: What is your ultimate dream for TopUpNigeria? Is there any chance for a formal partnership with the networks?

FAA: Well we have formal partnerships already. I would rather not disclose our dreams but they are exciting

Mona: Do you currently head any other business(es) and if so which?

FAA: Yes I do. I would prefer not to talk about that.

Mona: What advice do you have for anyone else who want to start a business for themselves?

FAA: Make sure you are clear about what you want to do and do it just don’t talk about it. There 3 types of people in this world, those that hear about what has happen, those that watch what is happening and those that make things happen

Mona: This is slightly out of scope but as a Technology person, I am keen to find out how you leverage customer support, quality, web updates and troubleshooting responsibilities in your e-business?

FAA: Well we do it in-house... we are constantly working hard and get little sleep.

Thank you Mr. Akin-Agunbiade and all the best.

Don't forget you can also buy True Love Nigeria in the UK now, courtesy of TopUpNigeria.


Anonymous said...

Good work Mona...this is my best part of the interview
'Make sure you are clear about what you want to do and do it just don’t talk about it. There 3 types of people in this world, those that hear about what has happen, those that watch what is happening and those that make things happen


Anonymous said...

the site seems cool mons

Anonymous said...

Nice interview

Anonymous said...

Hmm...namesake,i'm feeling this your new template o. And dat Agunbiade dude is HOT sha. Is he still single?

Anonymous said...

why did i always think diddy was up there on the black celebrity money makers...

really, all americans ever care about is suing this suing that.they shud leave oprah abi they think those small girls will sue oprah

I like your new template...very catchy


Naija Vixen said...

wowsers! i thot i was on d wrng page 4 a sec! lol
nice work Mona!

Aramide said...

wienna sadly he isnt o, he is happily married