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Nigerian online cake marketplace eyes expansion into Ghana, Kenya and SA

Featured image: WaraCake CEO Ayilara Olatunde (Supplied)
Featured image: WaraCake CEO Ayilara Olatunde (Supplied)

After having completed expansion into 23 of Nigeria’s 36 states earlier this week, WaraCake founder and CEO Ayilara Olatunde says he is now eyeing markets in Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa.

The online cake marketplace, which has been operating since 2014, counts Farmcrowdy CEO Onyeka Akumah, Passion Incubator and the Tony Elumelu Foundation among its investors.

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Olatunde said since he launched the startup he has raised “just a little over $15 000”. He however declined to reveal how much revenue the Lagos-based startup, which currently employs five full-time and 50 part-time employees, generates.

You can achieve a lot with minimal capital – WaraCake CEO Ayilara Olatunde

“We are looking at expanding to more African countries. We have Kenya, South Africa and Ghana on the radar,” he said.

He said the Nigerian online cake retail market is “highly competitive”, with pricing and quality of service driving demand.

He added that his startup is “deeply involved” in vetting vendors who sell on its marketplace.

“Vendors send us a sample of their cakes before they signup. If the pictures look great and product tastes awesome, we proceed to discuss the terms of the contract. We then proceed to monitor customer feedback over time to determine retention,” he explains.

The new Nigerian states that the startup now covers include: Abia, Adamawa, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Cross-river, Delta, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Imo, Jos, Katsina, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Rivers and Taraba.

“This expansion is fostered by our passion to fulfil the unique requests of every customer and keep them satisfied by our products and services regardless of locations or time constraints,” he says.

The biggest challenge the startup has faced were logistical and around delivery. Olatunde says he found a work around that by paying part-time workers to deliver products.

This has led to the startup launching WaraChow, a food delivery service operating in Lagos. “Focusing on cakes alone was really limited, there is a huge demand for food delivery services at really affordable prices,” he points out.

In 2016, the startup participated in the Tony Elumenu Entrepreneurship Programme. Olatunde believes this was a game changer for the company, he says the seed capital the startup received there, as well as participation in the programme’s bootcamp helped reshape WaraCake’s operations

Olatunde says he got two big take aways from the programme, the first being that networking is “really vital” to building a global business.

The second? “You can achieve a lot with minimal capital,” he says.

Featured image: WaraCake CEO Ayilara Olatunde (Supplied)

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