Grow, innovate, evolve or customers ‘ll leave you behind – Boye Oshinaga, Founder/ CEO, Gradely

Nigerian entrepreneur, Boye Oshinaga, the founder and CEO of Gradely, a thriving education app that helps pupils raise their academic performance level, recently advised business owners to consistently adapt their products and operating model. He stated this during an interview with IncAfrica. 

Boye’s Gradely was a recipient of an Edtech Summit Award. His product also has received favourable coverage from CNN and BBC. It is been adopted by schools, pupils and parents across the elementary and secondary school ecosystem in Africa’s largest economy.

According to Boye, he came about the idea of developing Gradely when he overheard a parent complaining to a teacher about his child failing twice and wanted to find out how to revive the pupil’s sagging performance. 

He, therefore, set out to develop an app that would fix the growing gap in pupils’ learning ability. Gradely digitise over 60,000, comprising 4,000 audio-visual, learn assessment content which helps pupils learn, relearn and improve on major class subjects. The app provides instant, accessible feedback that helps parents and teachers track their children learning improvement.

But the insight into Boye’s edtech resource isn’t what he would like fellow and would-be entrepreneurs to borrow from. He would rather have entrepreneurs learn the basic factors, some of which he learned he came about on his startup journey, for maintaining business success.

He said, “Gradely taught me that the market can change fast and can easily fast-track the demand for technology and digitisation. It’s really about having the ability to adapt. You need to build into your DNA as a company, a very strong ability to adapt to change.”

He continued, “What you need to understand is that the customer [is constantly becoming]… more advanced. [They] have expectations and your job is to exceed those expectations. If you only meet their needs, they can still forget you but once you exceed their expectations, it is difficult for them to forget you”.  

“You need to be at the forefront of evolution. There’s nothing more important to a startup than product innovation,” he concluded.

The stories of failed businesses are all too common globally. Fundera, a firm that provides loans to small businesses, explained that an approximate 20% of new businesses fail in the first year. Meanwhile, the number grows worse as the years wore on to increase to about 60% that fail in less than 1 decade of starting. 

Considering the resources and efforts that must have been utilized or burnt on that journey, learning the basic principles of succeeding in developing products that suit the market and adapting such products in the face of changing consumer tastes, transforming macroeconomic realities and evolving trends, are not negotiable. These are what entrepreneurs such as Boye have learned and successfully are constantly adjusting to on their business journey.

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