For Honey Ogundeyi, technology is a tool for solving everyday life problems and challenges and generally making life easier. This has been the crux of Ogundeyi’s tech entrepreneurial journey. From founding Fashpa, the pioneer fashion online retail outlet in Nigeria, to launching Edukoya, an Edtech startup that provides personalized learning experiences for students, every business idea has been about solving a problem around her.
Honey Ogundeyi is an internet and brand management expert and consultant with experience across banking, Internet, Telecoms, Brand Management and Business Consulting. She is also skillful in web commerce and online and mobile advertising. All these skills have served her as added tools in her drive to solve life problems with technology.
Education and early career
Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Honey Ogundeyi started schooling at Queens College Yaba, before moving out of the country to finish her secondary education at Alexandra College in Dublin, Ireland. She proceeded to the University of Birmingham to study and graduated with a BSc in Public Policy and Management.
Clearly, one who knows what she wants out of life, Honey Ogundeyi had a rich and quite versatile career before launching into business. Ogundeyi was with Heirs Alliance, an Associate of the UBA Group from 2004 to 2006. She went on to work for many top companies; as a Senior Analyst including working as a consultant with McKinsey & Company in Brussels and Johannesburg; and Ericsson as Head of Brand Management for Sub-Saharan Africa;. She was later with Google as an Industry Manager, leading the development and growth of their commercial business, and proffering advertising solutions to clients.
As Head of Brand Management with Ericcson, she led a new brand strategy rollout plan for Ericsson in Sub-Saharan Africa. While at Ericsson, she also worked as the Brand Capability Manger in Stockholm, Sweden.
Ogundeyi was the founding CMO at Kuda, one of Nigeria’s leading digital challenger banks, and led the team to reach millions of customers in less than two years. She is the former country director of, the UK-Nigeria Tech Hub.
With work and leadership experience across two continents, one can say that Ogundeyi was ready to launch into entrepreneurship, but like with many other things, there had to be a trigger.
Honey Ogundeyi hails from a family of entrepreneurs, and this had impacted the way she viewed problems. Even while helping clients proffer solutions to their business problems, she was further developing the problem-solving skill which she already had.
Ogundeyi fully launched Fashpa.com in April 2014. The trigger behind this was a trip to Balogun market, Lagos, which had her unnecessarily stressed trying to find the quality she wanted, and still unable to purchase it because of the exorbitant pricing. From this experience, Ogundeyi noted that there seemed to be an accessibility and affordability problem around quality fashion. Not everyone had the luxury of time to spend a whole day in the market looking for a certain quality of clothing or shoes. There was a need to develop a tech-based platform that could fill the gap.
With this in mind, Honey Ogundeyi launched Fashpa.com as an online retail store that would provide customers with quality and trendy fashion and accessories in Nigeria and beyond. She would later recount in an interview how she built the first version of Fashpa by herself in her bedroom.
The platform tried to global buyers to small and medium-sized fashion brands and artisans across Africa, and practically became the first e-commerce platform for African Fashion. The e-commerce site also designed and sold its products online and in-store and sold fashion and lifestyle brands from the international market to Nigerians.
Fashpa was structured as a vertically integrated company that creates, manufactures, and sells its own range of clothes online, with worldwide delivery. A few years after its inception, Fashpa became a full-fledged fashion retailer, carrying high-end international brands including Zara and H&M. The major selling point for Fashpa was the wide range of options it provides at affordable rates.
In 2016, the e-commerce firm launched the Fit Project programme which received a lot of positive feedback from customers.
Fashpa is the reason Ogundeyi is widely recognized as the pioneer of fashion online retail in Nigeria, as Fashpa was the first of its kind in Nigeria.
Bigger fish to fry
After running Fashpa for about four years, Ogundeyi started an entrepreneurial vlog – Side Hustle to Empire – in 2017. She used this platform to share her entrepreneurial journey and give tips on how she started and grew her business. She also wrote inspiring articles in her blog, sharing essential steps for Nigerian women to thrive in business.
By 2021, Ogundeyi took her tech entrepreneurship to new heights with Edukoya. The launch of this educational learning app was born out of her experience in her schooling days. According to Honey Ogundeyi;
“I attended a Federal Government secondary school and I remember that with a class of over 100 students, teachers often with their best efforts were in many cases unable to give each student personal attention. A vicious cycle ensued: with little time to personalize lessons, the teacher would be unable to respond to every student’s request to further explain concepts.
Our learning experience focused mainly on memorising to pass exams and not to learn. This dynamic is not peculiar to Nigeria, it’s a global problem.”
Edukoya was thus an attempt to personalize the learning experience for students across Africa, and give them access to top-quality education. Edukoya also offers a range of features such as 24/7 exam preparation and homework help, a question bank with step-by-step workings and personalized performance tracking systems.
Users could review past national student exams for free on the app, but there is a fee for students who want to be tutored. In its first month, Edukoya had over 50, 000 downloads; the company has also recorded more than a million attempted questions on its app – a validation that it was truly trying to solve an existent problem.
Its core product, ‘Ask Edukoya,’ is a one-to-one online tutoring platform for several subjects that connect the best teachers to students all around the country for real-time short lessons on homework, exam preparation or doubt-solving. Edukoya prides itself as “the number 1 tutoring platform to unlock your child’s genius”. More products and updates have been released for the audience.
Edukoya has raised $3.5 million in pre-seed funding led by European VC firm Target Global.
Recognitions and awards
Thanks to her trailblazing activities in the technology space, Ogundeyi has earned several recognitions for herself. In 2014 Honey Ogundeyi was listed by Forbes as one of the Top 10 women emerging entrepreneurs to watch in Africa. In 2016, she was listed by the World Economic Forum as one of the Top 10 innovators in Africa as well one of the 10 most influential young Nigerians under 40 in Technology. In 2015, she was named in a list of 100 most inspiring Nigerian women by Ynaija.com.
Ogundeyi has received recognition as a One Young World Ambassador, a Junior Achievement Nigeria Ambassador and a Mentors, and is at the forefront of several women-led initiatives in tech. In 2018, Ogundeyi was appointed to Facebook SME Council for Nigeria. This is, no doubt, linked to the entrepreneurship mentoring and vlogging activities she started at about that time.
In June 2014, she was among the guest speakers at the Africa Rising Summit in London where she extensively spoke on the untapped opportunities that existed in Online Retailing in Africa.
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