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Sunday, 26 April 2015

Young Nigerian Entrepreneur Fuses Religion And Social Media With His PrayerBox App

Meet Oyelaja Oyekan, 26 year old Nigerian entrepreneur and CEO of Cybernator Solutions. An app developed by him 'PrayerBox' is been tagged Africa's twitter for religion and currently has over 40,000 users. His application offers users a platform to post prayer points, testimonies and share prayers with each other privately. It also offers a means to connect users with their churches via one of its features, Church Pages.

Oyekan who says entrepreneurship is about building a company, managing people, generating revenue and learning to stay motivated when things get hard, shared about his entrepreneurial journey with howwemadeitinafrica. Read excerpts below...

What was the inspiration behind starting Cybernator Solutions and ultimately the platform PrayerBox?
I started Cybernator Solutions out of my passion for writing computer code. I learnt to code for the fun of building things and never made any money from it until I built a one page website for an educational consultancy. This led to more freelance jobs and eventually the urge to start my own company.

The inspiration for PrayerBox came from understanding Nigeria as a very religious country and seeing the increasing trend of people sharing prayer points on social media sites. This made me realise the potential of building an online platform dedicated to religion and giving churches a more personalised way of connecting with their audiences and congregation.

How does PrayerBox produce revenue?
PrayerBox currently generates revenue from custom targeted advertising. We are currently working on newer revenue models, and once they are well tested we will announce them to the general public.

How did you advertise your product?
PrayerBox has not advertised its service since launch. The impressive growth has come from word-of-mouth referrals, media mentions and recommendations by churches to their congregations.

As an entrepreneur have you had any business failures, and what have you have learnt from them?
Failing is fun because learning is fun and you learn from failing. Failure has taught me to always study how differently I could do things. Waaazap was more of a failure than success and this was due to it having nothing unique to offer and never really solving any problems for its users. This has helped during the course of starting PrayerBox. You have to identify and validate the need for your product before you start building, or else you will be failing before even starting.

What is the one thing you wish you knew about entrepreneurship before you got started?
I wish I knew it was harder than just programming. I wish I knew this was harder than a game of chess against Kasparov [a world champion]. Entrepreneurship is harder than building products. It’s about building a company, managing people, generating revenue and learning to stay motivated when things get hard.

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