I usually like to spend some time each December to reflect on the year and plan for the new year; 2023 was a very interesting year for me and for the first time I want to consciously write about it but more than that to commit to writing about my journey and learnings ( Thanks to an incredible network of friends that have inspired and also encouraged me to attempt writing): so please bear me with as this is completely new for me.
Off to a Great Start
I formally announced the launch of Rayda(www.rayda.co) with an incredible team in January 2023 as we set to create a solution to help businesses get incredible value from their fixed asset investment. This is a few months after leaving another company I co-founded a few years earlier(a much longer story for another day); I have been incredibly fortunate to have a community of friends, colleagues and peers who have encouraged, challenged and pushed me to strive for incredible heights. We acquired early customers and raised capital from Angels & VCs I admire across the ecosystem. Closing several strategic partnerships across multiple countries and most critical learning and understanding the biggest challenges businesses were trying to solve with their assets.
Today we offer IT Asset acquisition( Purchase & leasing),Off-boarding and storage across Africa, LATAM, Europe, GCC, the US and the UK as well as Asset management, Insurance and Tracking globally.
A painful middle
Watching and seeing the incredible work and organisation we had built in the previous company shutdown; the impact on the incredible people who did great work to get it to what it was and on the community in general was/is a painful experience. So much learnt about people, our motivations and what we hold dear; about how we perceive the future and approach it. A lot is clearer only in retrospect and as the saying goes ” Everyone has a plan until they are punched in the face”.
The punch in the face
The months leading to the end of the year were challenging, to say the least; with inflation and a crunch in customer purchasing ability; ramping revenue growth and cutting costs became the central focus across every conversation with founders, investors and the ecosystem; the challenge though was that we saw our official exchange rate move from ±420 to ±1,000 to the dollar essentially meaning revenue in dollar terms was dwindling at a very fast pace. Thankfully we have always believed in building a global business which might accelerate and streamline our operations and process to focus on non-Naira revenues to form a healthy base for the business ( Extremely excited about this and some incredible initiatives we will be launching this 2024).
- Mentored some incredible startups (Looking to do more of this in 2024)
- Joined the board of a foundation
- Joined the advisory board of a health tech company
- Watched my first live football match ( excited to attend more live matches in 2024)
- Hiked up a mountain in Morocco( really enjoyed the experience; will love to try this more this year)
Things I am excited about in 2024:
- Writing and Storytelling: I want to try and write more ( the goal is to write a monthly recap to capture key highlights for the month, learnings, books, and movie experiences that shaped the month. I am also planning to bring back my podcast & YouTube: MoneyTalks; I got a comment on one of the videos and it reminded me why I started the channel in the first place and what I was defining as success for the channel. I look forward to starting this off again and switching the style and approach. Hopefully, I will create more content on other things I enjoy but mostly around people’s journeys; learnings and thoughts ( I think I just got a name for it).
- Startup Support: I want to support more early-stage start-ups as much as I can; this will be from investing directly, intro to investors in my network, mentorship and advisory where needed; hoping to organise micro events to connect founders and provide them the launchpad needed and I am looking forward to speaking at key industry events to lend my perspective on the changing landscape around technology, Innovation and its impact on business and society.
- Launch of a Scholarship program: looking to launch a scholarship program to enable more people to get into technology as a career pathway; this will be both in learning support and resources (computers and more) the goal will be to support as many people in the first year and use the learning to streamline it in the future.
2023 was a challenging year but we came, we saw and we conquered; I am thankful for the community around that continues to support and encourage me every step of the way. The biggest realisation for me in 2023 is that:
“Things are not always as they seem”
It is not as bad as it looks; it is not as great as it looks. With time and new information your perspective changes; I was discussing with a friend recently and we agreed that the most important thing is to ensure that you give it your best with the knowledge and resources available at every given time. Looking back over the last few years I realized that some of the most pivotal shifts in my life were not events I planned for but looking back have shaped my journey in a way I could not have imagined. It has made me trust God in a whole new dimension; trust his voice as he guides me daily; and trust that while the moments might not make a lot of sense, at a later date the picture becomes clearer.
Even as I plan for 2024; I am excited about the incredible adventures, experiences, people and encounters that 2024 holds that I could not have imagined, planned or strategised for.
And so it begins…