Latii Braylot is the founder of Slourish Ltd a startup that focuses on easing the process of raising business funds, savings, investment and managing funds for Africans.
In an Interview with Founders Africa, Latii gave a clear exposition on the impact that Slourish is making in the FinTech sector, its effectiveness in the Nigerian economy and expansion plans.
Tell us a little about yourself
I’m a 26-year-old indigene of Gokana L.G.A of Rivers State Nigeria, a self-taught programmer and vision-driven entrepreneur. I founded Slourish Ltd in 2018 to disrupt the way Africans raise business funds as well as the way people earn, save, invest and manage their funds. Haven written several articles online, I have gotten some event-speaking engagements and coached several people in the freelance and online business sector within the past 6 years. When I’m not working on a project, I spend most of my time gathering knowledge in the tech and business fields among others. But I also network, hang out and entertain myself with movies.
Tell us about Slourish and the solutions you provide
We run a simple but unique platform for funding Nigerian businesses through micro-investments from users. We help entrepreneurs finance their businesses by raising the funds from micro-investors but our platform comes with a lot more perks. Members also get to interact, share ideas and participate in the development process of the businesses and stay updated on their investments.
The platform hosts thousands of micro-investors, entrepreneurs, brand supporters as well as those just looking to earn, manage or grow their money through their participation in our programs. Entrepreneurs also enjoy a few more services from us which could be as little as branding or as major as complete business incubation.
Within the last few months, we have attracted a good number of users who have been actively utilizing our platform in supporting the vetted businesses while growing their money.
Our HPS program has been a welcomed development for most Nigerians as it accords participants the opportunity to earn monthly interest on their funds in addition to their investments.
What inspired the idea for it?
Every year, over 15,000 Nigerian entrepreneurs lament for lack of business funds and the few numbers of grants available coupled with the limited access to Angels, VCs and loans, many vibrant minds, innovative and viable ideas are dying off. I was also in this situation and creating a solution just seem like a great decision.
Also, more and more people looking to invest or grow their money are getting frustrated with constant losses because they lack a simpler genuine method or they are dissatisfied because they would want to put their money to good use.
What’s the greatest challenge you encountered when you started?
A lot of people in our current market are still not familiar with our concept. With the numerous ways we have explained our services in simple terms on our platform and the creation of a ‘How it Works’ and a ‘FAQs’ page, we still get calls from dozens of people requesting for more information. Crowd-investing is still new to a lot of Nigerians and it’s a challenge getting people to use what they don’t know about.
Tell us about your entrepreneurship journey
Right from the day I was able to think for myself, I knew I was going to run a quality business someday because well, I was brewing with ideas, thinking strategically in business terms and filled with the zeal to pull through.
However, I took my first real practical entrepreneurial step back in 2011, running a few test ventures that prepared me for my brands today. I started freelancing online shortly after equipping myself with some web development skills and along the way, I improved my skills in leadership, management, sales, product design, strategic planning and overall business development.
To me, the journey is just beginning as I’m yet to launch most of the projects that I’m currently working on. You can stay updated on my journey through my website.
What’s your most exciting moment as an entrepreneur?
What the future holds. The future can only get brighter for me and since my primary focus is on Slourish, most of my entrepreneurial excitement comes from there. The plan is already laid out and I’m tackling and implementing it one step at a time. No matter how little it may seem, there’s always some form of excitement each time I reach a milestone.
The goal is to make Slourish greater and we all know the greater it gets, the more entrepreneurs I’m able to help and more users get to benefit so, yes, I long to make Slourish a bigger brand and I get excited each time I get closer to that goal.
How has the response been from Nigerians since launch?
“This platform is amazing!” That’s precisely the kind of feedback we’ve been getting and we owe that to our user-friendly design but there are a lot more reasons behind the positive comments. I think another reason is probably due to the easy access to support that we have provided.
We understood how valuable our users are to us and have been making sure they can conveniently navigate the platform, carry out their activities and get assisted when in need. So far, I think we are a welcome development to most Nigerians who know about us. True that not all of them end up utilizing our services but the number of people who are yet to appreciate Slourish are very few.
If you were given $1m to invest in Slourish, where would it go?
$1m is nothing compared to my vision for Slourish but it will make a big difference as the operational costs from our business vetting processes will appreciate a little support.
An investment of that sum will catapult our growth exponentially in just a few months. Within the first few weeks, we will triple our user-acquisition rate, gain some additional talents and focus on dominating the micro-investing market in Nigeria before scaling abroad. Our figures will certainly yield at a 10x rate, our competitors will be scared to the bone and there’s no telling on how much revenue we will generate.
What are the future plans for Slourish?
Slourish will be among the top 5 FinTech brands in Nigeria. This won’t be easy because there are a good number of them. However, Slourish has proven to be loved by many.
We are working on making Slourish available to the whole African entrepreneurial community and at the end, Slourish will be the major place where African entrepreneurs and micro-investors log-on to fund businesses and grow their money. We are constantly improving in every aspect. Those who joined Slourish 5 months ago know how far we have grown within such a short time. What then do you think will happen when we have been in the industry for 5 years?
From your experience as an entrepreneur, what advice would you give young African entrepreneurs who are just starting?
As an African entrepreneur, you no longer need to stress yourself about huge capital as I did. The most important thing is for you to start and once you do, you will be amazed by how far you will get even with your little savings.
Fortunately, funding which was the major barrier is the solution I’m providing now. You only need to focus on building a quality brand that creates the type of solution people will pay for. Once the market demands for your product, the rest is history. Nevertheless, you should remember that for people to take a chance on you, you should have proven how reliable, accountable and determined you are.
If you lack the necessary skills, learn them and hire people or get some co-founders with the experiences in your field. Learn as much as you can and put it into actions. Attend business networking events and stay active in your industry.