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MEET THE FOUNDER : Damilola Soladoye from Cycles, Nigeria


TechInAfrica – Meet Damilola Soladoye, , the Cycles founder – Cycles is redefining the way people commute within communities and cities. Using an efficient, fun and healthy means of transport, they are building better people, communities and a greener earth.

Damilola Soladoye, founder of Cycles

First of all, can you pitch us your company in just a few sentences?

Cycles is a mobility startup solving inefficiencies in door to door, last mile transportation in African communities. We do so by providing smart bicycle sharing technology that enables individuals to commute, keep fit and enjoy leisure in their communities.

Can you tell us more about yourself, your personal background, your experience and how you went to this journey?

I am a graduate of accounting from Covenant University, Nigeria. During my undergraduate days, I experienced first-hand inefficiencies in our transport system on campus owing to the availability of one transport means, the university bus shuttle system which catered for over 8000 students.

I set out to solve this inefficiency on campus which led me to start Cycles with a few friends. Further research proved that these inefficiencies existed in universities and estates across the continent and this is what Cycles is poised to solve with our solution.

Covenant University, located in Ota, Ogun, Nigeria

Can you tell us more about Nigeria ? Why this market?

Nigeria is a huge and growing market. As the most populous country on the continent, Nigerian universities and estates boost of over 10,000 students on average commuting in her University and estate communities each day and with a growing population rate these numbers are growing each passing year.

If nothing is done to solve these inefficiencies transportation would be a great issue going forward. This is why the Nigerian market is conducive for Cycles asides being natives of the country with a good understanding of its systems.

What are the main issues you have been facing Nigeria?

Nigeria is a very dynamic and unforgiving environment for startups like us. Access to funding and going to market have been major issues for us.

Though luckily for us, we have been supported by some of the best tech communities in the country, from Co-creation hub, the Fbstart accelerator program and even our alma matta, Covenant University.

Who are your main competitors around? And outside of the country, who is your inspiration?

There are a couple of other startups seeking to enter into the Nigerian market in our space, but as much as possible we strive to stay ahead by innovating consistently in our tech and being as creative as possible.

Outside our country bike-share startups who are both successful and have failed in any sense inspire us as they give us useful insights that help our growth.

What is your point of view, as a startup founder, about Nigeria?

I am a great believer in the future and ability of Nigeria. As a startup founder, I strongly believe in the power of Nigerians to build the country we all want to see. Nigeria is a special country and with the right leadership and entrepreneurial drive, it can become the silicon valley of Africa.

Is it hard to find investors there?

There are a good number of investors in Nigeria and based on my little experience they aren’t really so hard to find. What I feel the issue is about investors in the country would be “is this investor the right investor for my startup?” “is this investors offering the most suitable for my startup forward?”

Finding the right investor with the right offer is what I see is the issue towards investors.

What do you think is lacking to Nigeria to develop it more? What are the main barriers to develop a startup there?

The major barriers in Nigeria to developing a startup is an enabling environment for entrepreneurs. Effort towards this is already being made but with more investment in creating an enabling environment in terms of infrastructure, electricity, and other key amenities Nigeria would be better.

What is your perspective for the next years on Nigeria and more regionally on Africa?

The next years for Nigeria and Africa are definitely years to watch out for. More startups are coming from the continent than ever and a greater amount of investment is being injected into the ecosystem.

As you know, we are always on the look of great startups, new products and amazing entrepreneurs, could you name a few locally or regionally in Nigeria ?

As a privileged member of the Fbstart accelerator program in Lagos, Nigeria I can boldly say that I interacted with some of the brightest minds and amazing products from entrepreneurs in the country. Startups such as Vetsark, DeepquestAI, Grid and many more to mention a few are really great startups to look out for.

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