Osinachi Ukomadu is one of the African entrepreneurs leveraging technology to proffer solutions to inter-continental logistics bottlenecks. He specifically built a system that makes it easier, safer and cheaper for Nigerians to purchase and ship goods from the United States.
His deep desire to serve people gave birth to Heroshe, a company he co-founded with his wife, Chichi, whose passion was also coincidentally “shopping and helping people.” Heroshe helps family and friends access quality goods and move packages from the US to Nigeria.
The startup has become successful, with over 40,000 customers. Osinachi uses state-of-the-art solutions to ease cross-border e-commerce transactions, last-mile delivery, and payments for goods and services.
Although born and raised in Abia state, Osinachi Ukomadu’s early years were somewhat nomadic due to the nature of his father’s job, a banker. The family frequently relocated to different parts of the country. He resided in three different cities: Port Harcourt, Kano, and Lagos.
Osinachi Ukomadu attended Adebayo Mukuolu College Ogba, where he completed his JSS 1-3 before relocating to the United States with his family. He completed his high school and university education there.
As a result of the many geographical changes, he learned how to adapt and survive. However, it took him some time to adapt to the US’s new educational structure and culture, as his thick Nigerian accent was a turn-off to his school mates. The discrimination would later form a solid foundation for his resilience, influencing how he lives and does business.
According to him, after enrolling in a new school in the US, he and his siblings were left to independently handle the remainder of the adjustment. Despite not appreciating those experiences at the time, now he can understand how those experiences impacted him to be the person he is now.
First Business Experience
Osinachi Ukomadu’s first business venture was a home healthcare agency he co-founded with his mother, a nurse. She wanted to leave her full-time job to establish a home health business, and he had just lost his first job out of college.
It was a rare chance coupled with his eagerness to try new things. So, he agreed to partner with his mother immediately. He, however, was so unskilled and made every blunder imaginable, but the knowledge gained was beneficial.
The company depended mainly on the revenues from operations, so there was a need to generate consistent revenue every week to keep the company solvent. This was a challenging task without access to credit. Sometimes, there was no money to pay the staff. The agonising part for him was having to look at the faces of the employees while informing them about the financial issues.
Despite this, they had a culture. The environment was a wonderful place to work since everyone was so caring. Even with the lack of funds, employees came to work while waiting for the salaries to be paid. This taught him a valuable lesson. With time, the firm generated millions of dollars in sales. While the firm continued to run well, he left to pursue other interests.
Osinachi Ukomadu’s startup was a case of preparation meets opportunity. The COVID-19 pandemic was a blessing in disguise for the business, and a ton of other internet-based enterprises, primarily e-commerce, as millions of people globally relied on online stores to purchase goods. Dues to this, Heroshe experienced tremendous growth.
In 2021, Heroshe’s customer base was increased to 40,000. The company launched its mobile app in the same year, and its sales increased by 24% month-on-month in the fourth quarter and hauled more than 100,000 tonnages. But like every other business, Heroshe was confronted with daunting challenges.
“We’ve been affected by the global supply chain challenges everybody is facing. However, our volume has continued to grow,” Osinachi Ukomadu says in an interview. Nigerian logistics may have some structural challenges; however, there are a few players who have done a great job solving these challenges. We seek them out and selectively partner with them to deliver our promise.
We are taking advantage of our growth to strike the right partnerships that drive better value for our customers. We make sure to only work with first-leg and last-mile partners who are aligned with our culture of delight. Increased volume gives us so many options when it comes to partner selection. Choosing the right partner has been the game-changer in the continuous delivery of a delightful experience to our customers.”
Since the market is not saturated yet, Heroshe is still focusing on the Nigerian market. After mastering the cross-border e-commerce access, logistics, and payments in Nigeria, the startup looks to shift to another anglophone country before moving to other regions of Africa.
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