I am a pro-active Product Management and Business Leader with experience identifying and developing innovative business solutions across several sectors. I started out as an engineer and then move into product management and business development and strategy.
I got introduced to the world of computer just after I finished writing my SSCE (WAEC) and internet as early as 1995. At first, it was more like a burden but this has turned out to be one of the best decisions I have made in life. I see myself as a natural strategist who enjoys identifying, presenting and communicating new ideas to solve pertinent problems.
I have gained strong leadership skills through managing projects from strategy to implementation. I am passionate about technology innovations, startups, developers eco-system and also connecting people at the different levels of the socio-economic pyramid with services / solutions that improve their lives and livelihoods.
I started out as an engineer and then moved into product management. In 2005, I joined Globacom as a Product Manager focusing on the prepaid voice product and then Product Manager responsible for the Value Added Service business. I was accountable for all services over SMS, IVR and USSD channels. I left Globacom in September 2007 to start my MBA at Manchester Business School focusing on Marketing and Strategy.
In 2009, straight from school, I was recruited by Nokia to lead the team that launched the Nokia Life services in Nigeria (first in MEA). I was the Senior Business & Product Manager, Nokia Life Services and was accountable for both customer acquisition and revenue generation. In 2013, after Microsoft announced the purchase of the Nokia mobile device division, I moved into the Developer experience department where I was focusing on attracting top brands to build their mobile applications for the window platforms. I later joined Microsoft’s DX team once the acquisition of Nokia’s Mobile Device Business Unit was completed. This gave me the opportunity to launch services and solutions that help to improve people’s livelihood.
While in Nokia, I co-founded Mobile Monday Nigeria team in 2010 to provide a platform to foster open and independent innovation within the technology ecosystem. I was also a member of the steering committee of Lagos Angel Network – an exclusive network of angel investors focused on supporting start-up entrepreneurs in Lagos and environs. I left Microsoft in June 2015.
I co-authored “Maximizing Your Service Year“ book (written to give practical tips to serving youth corps members on how to maximize their service year).
I am part of Product Calgary group and I am working towards becoming a Chief Product Officer.
The Past Adventures:
I was involved in some start-ups before I moved into corporate employment :). While some failed, I experienced some form of success in others.
- Secondary School Days: As most children do, I caught the entrepreneurship bug early. I was selling groundnuts, bread, drinks and ice blocks to university students. It was an interesting adventure. And yes, I made some cool cash too.
- I got involved in setting up another startup in my 2nd year in the university – Obafemi Awolowo University. We were writing codes on behalf of fellow students. I still remember when I had to write different versions of some codes that could handle the posting of potential corps members to different states in Nigeria based on sex, state of origin and marital status. The codes were written in Fortran.
- Studio247: This was a business I started with 3 friends while on campus for the sole aim of delivering year books and year CDs to final year students. We were able to deliver year books / CDs to 7 departments and fellowships. We did make some money? I later went ahead to found e-nnova media with two of the partners immediately after we graduated from the university.
- Student Konsult: This was a business arm of my fellowship – Student Christian Movement – that I helped to run. We started the first home delivery photocopying business on campus and we were offering quality service at cheaper rates. Students just needed to drop the documents they wanted to photocopy and we would handle the rest.
- In 2002, I started e-nnova media with two friends (Seun Olajide and Abimbola Fashua of blessed memory). We focused on delivering high quality web design services, value added services (mainly SMS-based services), flash animations, CD productions and even graphic designs. Our clients were individuals, private and government institutions. Some of our clients were multi-nationals and government universities. I still believe this company would have gone ahead to deliver great services if Bimbo is still alive. I have vowed to revisit this dream one day.
- In 2004, I started Nairahost with a friend – Kayode Muyibi – that I met online. The interesting thing is that both of us are still yet to meet face-2-face till today. I later brought in Seun Olajide from e-nnova media on-board. This web hosting company, a subsidiary of e-nnova media, started out of the need to provide affordable and reliable hosting solution for Nigerians, became the leading web hosting provider in Nigeria within 3 years. The company was eventually sold to Web4Africa.
- I was part of the founding team members for Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PINigeria). See http://www.pin.itgo.com/Team.html
- In January 2014, I co-founded Nok360 which later became Tivas in 2016; I left Microsoft in June 2015 to become the founding CEO and Director of Product. I lead a team of passionate people focusing on connecting people at the different levels of the socio-economic pyramid with services / solutions that improve their lives and livelihoods. In February 2019, the board appointed my co-founder as the CEO.
Failed Attempts At Startups:
I made two attempts at starting a Value Added Service business. First in 2002 (Cedarview technologies) and the second time in 2005 (Voltron). On each occasion, we had great ideas and even got registered by the network operators but the will to survive took over. We had no funding and guys were not ready to sweat it out. So, the businesses died naturally. This is still an area of business (though crowded) that I feel need disruption in Nigeria.
Before the attempt to start VAS business, I started a n ICT firm (SystemGenii) with 3 of my classmates from the universities – Obafemi Awolowo University. We were just fresh from school and had little knowledge about running a business but we were blessed with technical skills. Our service offerings were simple: web solutions development, network solutions design & implementation (LAN & WAN), printer toner recycling and PC assembling & supplies. We had huge ambition, got some cool projects on-going but the union didn’t last. Something was wrong with the governance. End result? We all went on our different ways. I hope to be able to share what I learnt through the process in a blog post soon.
I also got involved in an e-commerce. I co-founded eazeemarket in 2006 to provide a marketplace service but guess we launched before the market was ready. And as you would expect, the business died a natural death.
I am a believer that having a degree in itself doesn’t result in learning. It only create a platform to learn. I am, at the same time, grateful for the opportunity to earn some degrees.
My first degree was a B.Sc in Electronic & Electrical Engineering from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria (2002) and a Masters of Business Administration degree from Manchester Business School, United Kingdom (2009). Others are mostly online via Coursera and Udemy.
You can find out more about me and my on-going adventures by reading about my projects.
You can contact Emmanuel through the Google Hangout or skype: eolutosin. Please send a chat message to introduce yourself and explain your reason for making contact. I will respond as soon as I am available.
You can also reach me via email – emmanuelAToluwatosDOTin
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