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Revent Technologies: The Journey To Becoming Africa’s Google

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Since I ventured into the tech space as a journalist covering startups, women in tech and the tech space in general, 70% of the founders I have interviewed all have almost the same response when I ask them to share some of their future goals for their startup. It always includes “to become the next African Unicorn”.

Revent Technologies
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By Onyinye Okonkwo

Since I ventured into the tech space as a journalist covering startups, women in tech and the tech space in general, 70% of the founders I have interviewed all have almost the same response when I ask them to share some of their future goals for their startup. It always includes “to become the next African Unicorn”.

Becoming a unicorn in the tech space is the dream of most startups but it is no mean feat to achieve, as having unicorn status means that your company must have crossed the one Billion dollar valuation mark which is the requirement for getting the unicorn title. As of the last count, the global number of unicorns is about 1,150 with seven being from Africa and five out of that number being Nigerian startups.

In July 2022, 14 new unicorns joined the global unicorn list with none coming from Africa, the continent currently has about seven unicorns making Africa the continent with the smallest number of unicorns. This may well change soon as Revent technologies plan on becoming an African unicorn in the next five years.

CEO and co-founder, Babatola Awe

CEO and co-founder, Revent Technologies, Babatola Awe

Revent technologies is a technology services company that aims “ to solve problems that will bring future solutions to current technological problems to help dynamic organizations unlock tangible business values and their potentials for growth. They achieve this by offering their clients cutting-edge and efficient technology solutions that deliver optimum user experience and value.

How do they plan to do this you may wonder seeing as they are a very young startup which was founded in 2020 with their official launch in January 2021.

While the goal they had in mind at the onset was to become a Unicorn, their plan to make that a reality was to create a product that one million people could use with the belief that “ if one million people can use our products then we will achieve Unicorn status. So it’s not just about becoming a unicorn but delivering effective solutions through the products we own.”CEO Babatola reveals.

The initial focus for Revent was to be a research and development firm but they have had to rework their plans.

Babatola Awe Revent CEO reveals that “ we started with the plan to be a research and development technology team and the reason was that we wanted to take our time to understand the market we were playing in and the possible gaps. Also, we believed there were other areas that the African market isn’t paying attention to yet which technology can provide solutions to the problems in these areas. We wanted to look beyond fintech, e-commerce, or logistics solutions”.

How do they plan to achieve this gutsy dream One may ask? The CEO Babatola tells me they plan to achieve this by realizing several products into the market with hopes that one can be used by at least one million people as he believes that having a product that is useful to one million people will lead them to Unicorn status.
Although this sounds like a gamble, it is quite audacious as Babatola tells me he is convinced that they can do it.

Co-founder, CTO, Revent Technologies, Akintayo Okekunle

Co-founder, CTO, Revent Technologies, Akintayo Okekunle

Babatola’s confidence in the company’s ability to build a unicorn in the next five years may sound bold to many but it isn’t misplaced as he has extensive background working at Deloitte, where he was a senior manager with a growing profile both locally and internationally before he caught the entrepreneur bug and exited to start Revent technologies with co-founder Akintayo Okekunle. Another reason for this confidence Babatola tells me is the slew of products that they have lined up to launch before the year runs out.

Would having many products not be distracting? I ask. Babatola doesn’t think so, he believes many tech companies exist that have several products and services “ we have had potential investors advise us to focus on one thing but that isn’t our vision, to be honest. We want to provide a range of products and services and we believe it’s achievable. We can be the google of Africa (google being a tech company with a wide range of products in the market).

Products and services

Revent technologies Babatola tells me is more of the umbrella body under which they have several teams handling different products. Some of the products they have are Flow mono which is their first official product launched in the market.

Flow mono is a product that aims to make business processes simpler, it contains solutions such as document and folder management, e-signing, process management and initiation, vendor management, and much more making it a full-blown business management tool. Even though the product is yet to officially launch, already has over 200 users. They believe it is the ‘Docusign of Africa” but with many tools at the users disposal.

Revent also has other products in the pipeline one of which is their fintech product called Vybe cash which will be launched later this year.

While Revent hopes to have products which at least one million people can use, in the meantime, they offer several high-end technological services to their clients some of which are, soft engineering, Digital bank solutions, technology advisory, product design, Robotics process automation, IoT and cloud solutions, and other outsourcing services.

Speaking to me about their products like the robotics automation works, Oluchukwu Adumije VP Software Engineering, Revent Technologies, explains that “ services like robotics process automation which is one of the technological solutions we offer clients like big financial institutions, microfinance banks and many other big companies who want to simplify their processes and reduce the man hours and resources spent in carrying out repetitive tasks that automated robots can perform”.

Oluchi further explains that Robotics process automation is best used by companies who have their processes already figured out and can afford it as the license cost about 10 thousand dollars a year. Recent tech has so far grown its client base for the services they offer to over 10 companies which include Kuda, ….

People and work culture
The work culture at Revent tech is modern and relaxed as the CEO says they are a young company made up of young people and it is evident even in their super casual dress code “ we do not believe that you must wear a suit to work to be serious, as you can see we dress casual but good of course. We are a young workforce and some of our approach to work is not at all traditional”.

The startup runs a hybrid work mode with 3 days in the office and two days working from home and although it is now working, it wasn’t always the case at the beginning
‘At the beginning, it was a struggle as we were still trying to design our products, get feedback, and all that we struggled doing that remotely but this year we decided to try the hybrid mode and so far it’s been working for us with 3 days in, 2 days from home. We are quite flexible here and we encourage team members to work closely with their line managers. While we are flexible, we maintain a high level of discipline and adherence to company policy and culture.” Babatola reveals.

Revent is also an equal opportunity employer, the boys club which many women in tech regularly say exists in the tech space doesn’t seem to exist here as Babatola tells me “ women lead most of the major departments here in Revent and I am proud of that. We know it’s not common in the African tech space but here at Revent, we do not consider gender but competence and these women in charge of engineering, products, and design are very competent in what they do”.

This startup CEO tells me has about 60 staff in total half of which are staff they outsource for some of the services they render. About 25 of that number are core full-time Revent staff with some working hybrid or completely remotely.

“ We initially started with four staff myself, my co-founder, and other 2 staff but now we have about 25 staff with others we use for our outsourcing services which are about 60. We run a hybrid model but are more particular about productivity. We do not necessarily believe you have to be in the office to be productive but care about people doing their work and producing results. If they believe they can do that better at home on some days we let them so long as their line managers permit. We have some of our staff who work in the US, Germany and one in Abeokuta, what matters to us is that you produce results Which means we give the line managers the power to make these decisions. We appreciate people’s effort but we are more interested in producing results as that is what we are paid for ” Babatola reveals.

Challenges
While there are many challenges facing Revent tech like every other startup Babatola tells me they have a culture of not focusing on challenges but finding a way to make the best of whatever challenges they encounter.

An example is the challenge of in availability of talent due to the mass attrition of young talent from Nigeria to other countries. While this presents a challenge to other startups, Revent technologies sighting the talent gap in finding skillful employees created the Revent Academy which they describe as the “talent growing expression of their business” with the first cohort currently in progress with 11 people participating. The academy teaches courses like backend development and UI/UX. The startup plans to launch the next cohort by October with courses like javascript, frontend development, angular, etc to be added to the curriculum by January.

Access to funding or grants not being readily available is another challenge, coupled with what Babatola describes as the “ African man’s need to totally control everything and amass wealth to themselves this sort of mindset is stifling innovation, stifling expansion and not letting us that opportunity to work together to grow our economy.”

To tackle the funding challenge the startup has set up sources of income that helps them generate funds to run the business, according to the CEO, “ when we started we knew that until our product gains market traction we may not be able to attract investors and we understand that cash is the bloodline of every business. This is why we set up a team and sources of income so that whatever we make, we put back into the business. While we are yet to get investors we are not afraid, we know that a point of convergence will come and that everything will come together at the right time because we operate in a state of inter-connectedness ”

Looking forward

For Revent technologies, the future is promising as they hope to have grown and expanded into two or three countries one being the US and Kenya or Ghana. They hope one of their products would have at least 100 thousand users and ultimately hope to be nearing unicorn status in that time.

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