Ethelbert Nwanegbo: Meet the Nigerian Matchmaking Global Businesses and Professionals
Bixex is a 21st century digital business exchange platform whose primary aim is to simplify how business owners and professionals can seamlessly connect and collaborate. It does not matter where your business is located – be it in Africa, America, Asia, or Europe. As long as you can access the internet and signed into Bixex, you can easily connect/collaborate with whomever you need to work with it.
Founded by serial entrepreneur and US-trained accountant – Ethelbert Nwanegbo, Bixex avails entrepreneurs an opportunity to access international business contacts and opportunities. The platform also has a social component which makes it a holistic platform.
In this exclusive interview with Business Elites Africa, Nwanegbo explains how Bixex is a broader version of LinkedIn, Fiverr, and Upwork combined. He also narrates how the Bixex concept was revealed to him in his dream back in 2017.
Q: How did you create Bixex?
A: This whole quest to solve what I think is a major problem started at the onset of my company back in 2007, when I decided to leave the company I was working for to create my own accounting firm. I spotted a problem I thought required an urgent attention.
It was a daunting task to recruit new clients or network effectively. So I attended chambers of commerce meetings so and identified with several groups. I would drive from my office for about thirty-five minutes to networking events, spend about an hour and thirty minutes at the events and another thirty minutes to drive back to my office. And ninety percent of the time, I couldn’t find a lead or make any meaningful connection. I spent too many hours at these events, plus I paid for attendance. At the end of the day, I couldn’t find one person that I could say was a good lead.
I turned to LinkedIn and some of the glorified billboards, to see If I could connect with some of these business owners, if I could send messages and have a conversation with then, maybe I could find a client, but it didn’t work.
So for me, there was a need for a platform that can help both buyers and sellers of professional services mingle and exchange services while at the same time giving them social networking opportunities.
I decided to do further research. I found Fiverr but Fiverr was just a platform that people just go to find freelancers. The problem with Fiverr too was that the buyers and sellers couldn’t connect meaningfully and there was no social component to it. It’s so dry. For example, there was a book I was trying to finish so I needed someone to
research for me in one area, so I found a lady on Fiverr to do the job. Given that Fiverr is so limiting in communication that you can’t have a good conversation about your need, getting a good result for my book project was a flop. So Fiverr didn’t solve the problem. Then I looked at Upwork but that didn’t solve the problem either.
I became clear that there is a major need and I needed to resolve it. That was one. Another question I had to ask myself was; is there a platform that a person who needs business guidance could find a mentor without having to hire a consultant that stops adding value the moment you stop paying them? That was another problem. These problems gave birth to Bixex. I was so obsessed with the need to find a solution to these problems that I sort of caught a supernatural vision.
ALSO READ: Business Elites Africa Releases Special Magazine Edition – “Bixex, a New Home for Business Exchange”
In 2017, I went to bed one night and fell into a dream. The whole thing was given to me in that dream in detail. From the name Bixex, which is Business Exchange, what will be on the site to the problems Bixex should be solving. It was so vivid to me in that dream. I woke up and wrote down everything I saw in that dream. I called some developers to run the idea by them and they said the dream was too lofty, that there was no way one could combine the marketplace, social component and all these other stuff in one application. They said it would be better to make four different applications. But I said no, I want everything in one place. That’s how Bixex came to live.
Q: You mentioned LinkedIn, Fiverr and Upwork, are you saying it’s the social component of Bixex that makes it better than these platforms?
A: No, it goes beyond the social component. When you look at LinkedIn, it has just two
elements that are contained in Bixex. LinkedIn had the social element, which is connecting with people, joining groups, sharing content – that is one. Another thing Bixex and LinkedIn share in common is you being able to upload jobs and hire people. With Fiverr and Upwork, the only thing they have in common is just the marketplace. So Bixex is like an embodiment of all these companies combined, and lots more.
Q: What exactly is the edge Bixex has over the other platforms?
A: Part of the edge is the Deals, the Matchmaking (B2B) and being able to send referrals. The referral process on Bixex is beyond just tagging somebody. For example, if I’d need to refer Mr A to Mrs B – I’d click on ‘send referral’, select Mrs B, and it’s going to ask me who I want to refer Mrs B to, I’m going to say Mrs B and then I could add a note. No other platform has that.
In addition to what you can do with Bixex, you can create your own group. On the B2B Matchmaking, If I’m a professional in Nigeria and I’m thinking of floating a company in the US, you could go to B2B Matchmaking and create a request that you are looking for an attorney to help you register your company in the US and an attorney on the platform can connect with you, and you guys can exchange contact and execute the transaction. Whether you’re a retailer looking for a supplier anywhere in the world, a designer looking for a global distributor of your products; the B2B Matchmaking will solve that problem. No other site offers this service, especially with the level of peace of mind Bixex provides.
Let’s talk about other features on Bixex, what is the difference between the Marketplace, Deals and Offer?
A: The Marketplace is where buyers of service post what they are looking for. For example, If a person needs the service of a graphics designer to design a flyer or anything, or someone needs the service of an accountant, Marketplace is where they all post their requests. They also put a budget they are willing to pay for the service. While the Deals and Offers feature is where sellers push their service offerings. For example, a web developer could post a gig or a deal for jobs and add a competitive service charge so that he could get a client faster. He could offer to build two websites for the price of one. In the same vein, a desperate graphics designer could decide to put out an irresistible offer – maybe to design a logo and flyer for $10 when the regular price is $50. So the feature is where all kinds of deals take place.
Read the rest of the interview in the latest edition of our digital magazine here: Find it on pages 8, 9 & 10.
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