In 2017, Fehintolu Olaogun co-founded CredPal, a digital lending platform, in a humble one-room office. A few years and a YCombinator accelerator program membership later, he has led CredPal to become one of the fastest-growing startups in Africa.
On this edition of How I Work, Olaogun shares how he started CredPal and how he is navigating the challenges of working from home during a pandemic.
- Current role: CEO/co-founder at CredPal.
- Location: Lagos, Nigeria.
- Current computer: MacBook Pro 13-inch.
- Current mobile device: iPhone 11 Pro Max.
- Describe what working in this pandemic is like, in one word: Eye-opening
Tell us briefly how you started out your career and how you got where you are today.
I started out as a software developer in the university. Right after graduation I worked briefly as a software developer in an advertising agency before I ventured into entrepreneurship. I co-founded Exolve Technologies, a first-rate technology corporation that continues to provide superior enterprise solutions to governments and establishments across Africa. After seven years at Exolve, my partner, Olorunfemi Jegede, and I went on to start CredPal in 2018 where I lead the development and execution of external operations and long-term strategies as the CEO/co-founder.
At CredPal, we are transforming the lending and retail industry through consumer financing by helping millions of middle and lower-class consumers make purchases across online and offline merchants while they pay back in fixed monthly instalments. To date, we have integrated across more than 850 retail stores, including some of the largest online and offline merchants in Africa: Konga, Slot, Shoprite, Cash ‘N’ Carry, and many others.
Yes, this will be my first time working fully from home.
Walk us through a typical workday since you started working from home (like a diary of a recent day)
My workday starts at 9 a.m. with a number of meetings with the team and external stakeholders.
Before noon I find some time to eat after which I get back to work again.
Official work hours end by 6 p.m. and then I take a break to unwind either with Netflix or spend some time with my family. I go back to work again or read from around 9 p.m. until I’m ready to sleep.
What apps, gadgets, or tools have you been relying on to work from home, and how do you use them?
You can’t really do anything without a good Internet service provider and constant electricity. As for apps and tools, I rely on Slack, Google Meet, Gmail, and Zoom for team meetings and communications. I use Todoist to list my tasks and keep track of what I need to do for the day. Asana helps me keep track of projects we’re working on at CredPal, and when I need to take a break, I just go on Twitter or play Asphalt 9 on my phone.
Having to work from home, how do you allocate time for work and other things?
From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. I focus on work. After 6, I shuttle between spending time with my family and unwinding with movies or music.
Do you live/work alone? If not, what’s your living condition like and how do you avoid/cope with distractions?
I live with my family. Avoiding distractions has been quite easy because my family understands that I work from 9 to 6. So, within these hours, I fully concentrate on work.
I watch movies, play games, listen to my music playlist, workout, or spend time with my family.
What’s your biggest challenge with working from home and how are you trying to solve it?
The biggest challenge has been managing a team from home. With the hiccups of electricity and good Internet service providers, it can be daunting dealing with people completing their tasks on time and making progress on projects. However, it has also been a learning curve for me. I mean, I never thought I would have to manage a fully remote team but with a lot of scheduled meetings and weekly reports from departments, it has been easy to keep track of departmental activities as well as general significant progress.
Throughout this period, we have deployed innovative projects and also reviewed existing ones for better optimisation. So working from home has actually turned out alright.
What are you currently reading, watching, or listening to? What do you recommend?
My current read is Winning by Jack Welch and Suzy Welch and I recommend Zero to One by Blake Masters and Peter Thiel. I’m also catching up on a series called How to Get Away With Murder.
What piece of advice would you give someone trying to adapt to working from home?
Try your best to look after your physical and mental well-being. It is also important to strike a balance between work and personal time.
Who would you like to see answer these questions?
Olorunfemi Jegede, COO/co-founder, CredPal and Peter Ogedengbe of Exolve Technologies.
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NEW REPORT: Nigerian startups raised $28.35m in Q2 2020; only about 4.5% of that came from local investors. Find out more in the full report.