‘Data is the currency of the future and that future is now’
Oluwatomi Ayorinde is a result driven software engineer with seven years extensive experience in analysis, design and development of Business Information Systems with utmost interest in solving business problems and challenges with proven technical and technological skills, which has led him from being a desktop developer to a Business Processes Consulting and now cofounder of Mobile Forms, a fast growing Technology Startup in Abuja. In this interview with TOBI AWODIPE, he talks about how he started, experiences in the Ventures Acceleration Program and how he intends to transform the way data is gathered
We know you are the co-founder of Mobileforms, what do we not know about you?
I am the first of seven siblings, and I finished with a first class degree in Management Information System. I started coding from my second year in university.
You’ve always had technological and technical skills but in terms of work experience, what was your life before Mobileforms?
I started out by building and marketing a library software while I was in the university. After I graduated, I joined a software development team in Yaba, Lagos, where I led the first team to build a software called BankOne; a service banking solution for microfinance banks. Then, I moved into Enterprise I.T Consulting and joined one of the leading business software solution companies. Now, I am here trying to grow a startup into a billion dollar business.
How have your experiences in employment prepared you to run your own business?
I have worked in both a startup and a Fortune 500 company. These experiences have helped me understand little beginnings while seeing a bright future for our business. I am first a developer, then a consultant with a wealth of experience in I.T and business process reengineering.
What was the inspiration behind Mobileforms?
Working in a Fortune 500 company gave me the opportunity of working on several I.T projects across Africa. Considering our disconnected environment, the way to solve our data collection needs in Africa became clear to me: we needed to adopt a Mobile First approach and a crowd-source field agent strategy. Mobileforms was an experiment to test this hypothesis, and it has worked excellently well so far.
So how does it work?
MobileForms is the fastest and most reliable way to gather data today. Businesses, NGOs and individuals can simply sign up on the platform, build a survey form and publish it to our field agents all across the country. Our field agents then use the Mobile Forms app to gather data for the survey including text, GPS, pictures and videos. The businesses gain access to reliable market and consumer data in one to three days. These data can be captured offline and online and synced into a central database for easy analysis and reporting. Institutions (NGOs, business and governments) use this platform to conduct Field Surveys, Monitoring & Evaluations and other routine data collections.
Aside the services Mobileforms render, how else does the business contribute to the economy?
Our business model helps put extra cash in the hands of youths all across Nigeria, many of whom are unemployed but ready to work. We are also committed to encouraging more talents to pick up coding skills. We work along with our development partners to train more developers and give them an opportunity to contribute to our technology.
You were in the Ventures Platform acceleration program, how has that helped your business?
The Ventures Platform helped us focus on our core selling point, they gave us tremendous access to mentors and influencers that helped us drastically reduce our sales cycles and grow our business. The incubation team are very exceptional and extremely helpful every step of the way.
Being in the acceleration program, what would you say was the best part of the experience?
The best experience will always be the time shared with fellow startup founders. Ventures Platform provides an exceptional environment for us to collaborate and grow together.
With all that comes with running your own business in a country like ours, what keeps you going?
I keep a collection of all the feedback we have received from clients, mentors and fellow startup founders. We also have a special section for our field agents thanking us for the extra income they are able to get through our platform. Reading these comments at the end of every project gives my cofounder and I the strength to go on. It assures us of how much impact the company is making in the lives of people nationwide.
What does the future hold for Mobileforms?
Our vision is to be the one platform for African businesses to conduct surveys, monitoring and evaluation, routine data collections and to hire field agents on demand. Data is the currency of the future. If we can enable industries to gather reliable data and make better and faster decisions, we can ultimately contribute to the growth of nations in Africa.