Lagos is a terrible place to live.
That’s according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
In its last three Global Liveability Indexes — rankings of the world’s most liveable cities based on 30+ factors across five categories — Lagos, Nigeria, was ranked the least livable of all cities evaluated, aside from war-torn Damascus.
And the rest of Africa, outside of Johannesburg and Pretoria, hasn’t fared too well on the EIU’s ranking either.
That’s why Nadayar Enegesi left Andela, the tech talent unicorn he co-founded, to build what he calls “the operating system for the good life” — Eden Life.
It’s a home services platform that brings the good life — catered meals, reliable laundry services, outsourced household chores, and more to come — to consumers across Africa, starting with Nigeria and Kenya.
I had an interesting, wide-ranging discussion with Nadayar, Eden Life’s CEO, in front of a live Afridigest audience at the meetup in Lagos two weeks ago.
We touched on why Eden Life exists, how to build & scale service businesses in African markets, whether it’s too early for B2C in Africa, the role of a CEO, what matters in a founding team, what keeps Nad up at night, and more.
Watch the conversation below.
I’m curious about your decision to leave Andela. Take us through your journey. You’re in the middle of scaling Andela and you decide to launch Eden Life. How did that come about?
And after doing this in a bunch of different countries, it really hit me that actually Africa has the largest underserved consumer population in the world. And I couldn’t stand living in Lagos and experiencing this chaos every day and having lunch with my colleagues and complaining about this chaos every day and not doing anything about it… I personally believe that it’s my calling to do something about this quality of life problem and that’s where Eden Life came from.
For a quick overview of Andela, see: ‘The complete list of African unicorns today’
So Eden Life is largely a B2C company and the common thinking is that it’s basically too early for B2C in Africa right now. What was the reception to your decision to leave Andela and build a B2C business focused on quality of life for African consumers? How did people receive that?
When you look at investments in Africa today, a lot of it is based on trends. So there have to be pioneers that actually prove that something new is worthwhile and then everybody else is going to rush in. But guess what, it’s the people who pioneer those industries that tend to benefit the most when the gold rush eventually starts.
The advantage that we have is the investors that we get are driven by conviction so they see the future that we see and they understand that if anybody were to actually solve for quality of life generally [across Africa] then it’s going to be very, very big; it’s going to be a massive success.
One thing that’s impressive to me about Eden Life is the customer evangelism. If you go on social media, a lot of folks are very vocal about the business. And you’ve talked in the past about referrals and word of mouth being a significant source of new customer acquisition, so how do you build that in? How does that come about?
And for us [at Eden Life] from day one we said that quality is something that we are never going to compromise on. Customer service is something that we are never going to compromise on. So I think the response of the customers is just indicating that we we’ve kept our side of the bargain, that’s really what it is.
For more on the opportunity for African companies to differentiate themselves via customer experience excellence, see: ‘The king’s ransom waiting for African businesses that create magic moments’
Watch the interview here and be sure to subscribe to the Afridigest Youtube channel.