From raising $1m to getting mentioned by Mark Zuckerberg, Opeyemi Awoyemi of Jobberman bares it all (Exclusive interview)

Opeyemi Awoyemi has done it all.

From thinking up a crazy idea in his tiny dorm room and co-founding Nigeria’s biggest job site to getting mentioned by VP Osinbajo and Mark Zuckerberg, we bring you the inside story of the origin of Jobberman straight from the mouth of one of her 3 co-founders.

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How old are you?

28

 

Which university did you graduate from?

Obafemi Awolowo University

 

When was Jobberman founded?

2009

 

What was the inspiration behind Jobberman.

We were solving a problem that we had and was common to our environment. Personally, I found it difficult to get an internship while in school. We also saw validation in how Naukri was impacting lives in India.

 

How did you find your co-founders??

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I had worked with Deji on a couple of projects and Lekan was a coursemate. We weren’t all close friends but we could recognize the strength that each person brought to the table.

 

Was owning a company a dream idea from when you were little?

No. However, making real huge impact was.

 

In spite of many platforms offering Job Search, how is Jobberman different?

Easy job search than anywhere else. Largest platform with jobs posted directly by the employer.

 

Was it your love for technology or love to help graduates that drove the creation of Jobberman?

Love for tech and the excitement in using tech to provide a real solution was it.

 

As a child to the registrar of a Federal Nigerian University, did that help you in the creation of Jobberman?

No, that happened long after Jobberman had become a household name in Nigeria.

 

What were the defining moments for you when you started Jobberman?

Starting, getting to top 50 most visited sites in Nigeria, raising first round of $1m, getting to 1m professionals, partnering with MTN, The Guardian, BusinessDay, getting mentioned by VP Osinbajo and Mark Zuckerberg.

 

The problem with many startups in Nigeria is the lack of Capital, how were you able to attract investors?

I believe in building first to attract money. That’s what we did, we focused on building a fast growing brand and that attracted investors to us.

 

The building of Jobberman started in your university days. How were you able to balance it with academics?

That’s easy. Students generally have a lot of time which they spend playing, gisting, visiting, watching videos and games. You sacrifice and prioritize always. Spend some, choose what to do, delay, or drop.

 

Was there any special skill you had or had to learn in order to build Jobberman?

I had the skills to put the software together initially. However, there were soft skills that I credit to the foundational days of Jobberman. People management. Data-driven decision making. Analytics/Modelling. Better Presentation skills. PR.

 

What were your major obstacles during the initial years of Jobberman?

Convincing companies to take us seriously was tough initially. Pricing appropriately for a market like Nigeria was also a big issue.

 

Any words of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs out there?

Don’t mortgage your dream. Think big about how you really want to change/impact your world. Life and entrepreneurship is better enjoyed when there is a purpose to why you do what you do and not just for the money.

 

Wow. What a cracker!

We hope you’ve been inspired by this week’s edition of The Iconoclast. We want to hear from you. Kindly share the lessons learnt in the comments section. In the meantime, follow our blog for more exclusive interviews from Africa’s most successful entrepreneurs.

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Published by Ogunbowale Olugbenga

Ogunbowale Olugbenga is a multiple award winning social entrepreneur & digital skills expert. An alumnus of the Leadership in Business Institute of Kellogg School of Management (USA), He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Obafemi Awolowo University (Nigeria). Inspired by the plight of millions of unemployed youths, Olugbenga founded Epower.ng, a digital agency passionately growing businesses & accelerating the application of digital skills for economic prosperity across Africa. To help institutions prevent scandals & promote performance, Gbenga founded Polivoice.Work, an anonymous employee feedback tool that captures & analyses feedback anonymously in real time to detect, predict & improve work place conditions. A Mandela Washington Fellow, Tony Elumelu Fellow, Royal Common wealth society fellow, YALI star of business & YALI network influencer, Olugbenga is the founder of Africa’s biggest orphanage outreach, The Orphan Empowerment Society, with a 5,000 strong volunteer force and a presence in 19 African countries empowering thousands of orphans with free vocational skills, medical care, & food. He is also the co-founder of the communication & leadership organization, Pacesetters Leadership Club.

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