Dolapo Ariyo is a 39-year-old computer engineer who developed software apps for online foods and grocery stores. He created two on-demand logistics-based startup platforms – Storegrill and FoodBakery- which link merchants to prospective buyers of foods and grocery items and can be delivered in good time, anywhere and any day of the week. Ariyo, who plans to soon extend the brands to other countries of the world, speaks with RAZAQ AYINLA, Regional Editor, on the prospects and challenges of the business in Nigeria. Excerpts:
What is behind the concept of online foods and grocery shopping as represented by Storegrill and FoodBakery?
For the past five years, I’ve been working as a founder at Storegrill and FoodBakery. I have some background in data analysis, with a degree in computer engineering. What really got me into the field, though, is the need to help consumers to be able to afford genuine items at affordable prices. I did that with Storegill.
Throughout my career, I’ve noticed that I’ve always been good with numbers and handling data.
For example, when I was working at a software company, I led a project for migrating all operations data to a new data warehousing system to cut down on costs.
The new solution was a much better fit for our business, which eventually led to savings of up to $200,000 annually.
Moving forward, I hope to expand my experience across different industries, particularly foodtech, which is why I started FoodBakery.
What informed the creation of FoodBakery and how does it improve activities in the industry?
I started FoodBakery in February 2020 in anticipation of COVID-19, to help get food and grocery item(s) to users during the lockdown.
FoodBakery model works as an On-Demand logistics-based startup, which acts as an intermediary between merchants and the prospective buyers who wish to get products from local merchants delivered at their doorstep.
We are utilising technology as much as possible in our operations and evolving further into other markets in the future.
So, how is FoodBakery fairing in the Nigerian market and among the competitors?
I can say we are doing okay. The competition is very high and there are lots of other businesses and startups doing very well too but with the technological background and support we have, I can say we can compete favourably.
The Nigerian market has been good. You know that as Nigerians, we eat a lot. So, the market is already there, we just have to tap into it and show up to our customers, with the right product and services to satisfy them.
And, there’s a Nigerian proverb that says ‘the way to a man’s heart, is food’. We are working really hard to get to their hearts.
How is your brand benefiting from ICT and what has been the impact of techs in the actitivites of your FoodBakery?
We are utilizing technology as much as possible. Earlier this year, FoodBakery was accepted into Microsoft for Startup Program which makes an affiliated company to Microsoft.
Last week, we were also accepted into the Founders Institute and Segment’s Startup Program to help us scale, read and understand our customers using data and AI.
We have the technological resources we need to help move further and grow better
What are the challenges being faced in terms of government policies, socio-cultural and environmental issues?
We are fully incorporated and all our vendor products are certified okay. We are in the business of food services and distribution.
Maximising the use of social media marketing to get food to users on-time and in good condition is all we do. Hmmm, the truth is that it has not been easy. There are lots of personal sacrifices that have been out into getting everything to work accordingly.
What is the prospect and target of FoodBakery in short and long terms, how do you intend to expand?
Currently, a lot of background work is going on to set-up our businesses in other countries. We are constantly using technology advancement to improve our product and services. Within the next few months, we will be adding some new features to our products which I will inform you about.