Before Ikpe founded Cars45 in 2016, he served as CEO at Dealdey.com and as Commercial Director at Konga.com, one of Nigeria’s largest e-commerce platforms. In this interview with Nairametrics, Ikpe shares the growth story of Cars45, the industry’s black market, the challenges faced when operating in Nigeria, and discussed the issue with ‘Made-in-Nigeria campaign’, amongst many more issues.
Cars45 raised funds in 2017, are there plans to raise more cash for the operation?
We have seen a huge market potential and we are at a very early stage in our growth and development as a business. There are major growth cycles that we would always achieve and most of those cycles require that we infuse some level of additional investment to the business. It’s a natural process to grow, and meet a bourgeoning market demand, and during those growth curves, you’ll need more investment.
What have been the challenges of operating in Nigeria?
Our values of providing solution to customers’ problems will never go out of fashion. As a market maker, it takes time for people to understand what your value propositions are. So, there might be initial scepticism and resistance from the market because people fear what they don’t know. We have done a lot of engagement with the authorities and one consistent thing is that as we unravel and move forward, the goal becomes clearer. The biggest challenge has always been staying true to our values beyond the criticism that we receive and maintaining our discipline. It is also to remember that the market is very fragmented and so there is very little structure around the market. So as you develop, the ecosystem that is needed to support the business might not necessarily be there. It simply means we have to build a lot of partnerships and relationships with a lot of other parties.
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