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10 Things You Didn't Know about Ladi Delano

Ladi Delano

Ladi Delano is the British-born Nigerian technopreneur who, along with his co-founder and co-CEO Jide Odunsi, is currently making waves with his latest venture, Moove, the world’s first mobility fintech service. Having already made significant inroads in the Sub-Saharan African market, Delano and Odunsi now plan on turning Moove, which offers revenue-based financing to ride-hailing drivers, into a global enterprise - an ambition they've just moved one step closer to achieving after closing $105 million in their latest funding round. Find out more about the entrepreneur's life, careers, and future plans with these 10 things you didn't know about Ladi Delano.

1. He attributes his success to his parents

Although he has a Nigerian heritage, Delano was born, raised, and educated in London in the UK. According to startuptipsdaily.com, he attributes much of his success to his parents, who he describes as "unsung heroes" who made multiple sacrifices and did everything in their power to ensure their children received the education and support they needed to succeed in life. His father, a corporate executive and an MBA lecturer, spent hours studying business techniques with Delano, educating him on the very things that, 20 years later, would turn him into one of Nigeria's most successful entrepreneurs.

2. He overcame adversity

As a child, Delano was diagnosed with deafness in one ear and mild dyslexia. As a result of both conditions, schooling was no easy matter. Despite the challenges, Delano persevered, eventually earning an MPA from the London School of Economics and Political Science, a Master of Science from Oxford University, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Global Business from Oxford University.

3. He got into business as a kid

Even when he was a kid, it was obvious to everyone around him that Delano was a born entrepreneur. When he was a teenager, he convinced his parents to pay him two years' worth of pocket money upfront to invest in cheap designer shoes that he then sold at a profit to his school friends. At university, he set himself up as a career advisor to other students, while also working with recruiters to advertise their services and establishing retail platforms where students could buy school equipment and other goods with their mobile phones. The business ended up failing, losing him a considerable amount of money in the process, but the misstep didn't stop Delano from trying again.

4. His first major success was in the liquor industry

When Delano's parents moved to the US shortly after he left college, Delano joined them. Within three weeks, he'd landed an internship with Merrill Lynch. After the internship finished, Delano moved back to London, where he and a group of friends decided to capitalize on the growing market for vodka by venturing into the liquor business. The result, Solid XS, became a success... at least in terms of sales. But while there was no shortage of customers, the high cost of doing business in London ate up most of the start-up's profits. Determined not to give up, Delano moved the business to China. It proved a wise move, and within very little time, Solid XS accounted for over 50% of the vodka market in the country.

5. He sold his first business for $15 million

After several years of building Solid XS up into one of the dominant forces in the Chinese liquor market, Delano took the decision to sell after the company after the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-2009 began to bite hard. After receiving an offer from a rival firm, Delano sold the business for $15 million, which he promptly reinvested in his next venture.

6. He moved to Nigeria in 2012

In April 2012, Delano decided to move to Nigeria, a country he considered ripe for investment. After arriving, he formed Bakrie Delano Africa (BDA), a $1 billion joint venture with BakrieGroup of Indonesia, a conglomerate with interests across a range of industries including infrastructure, property development, mining, oil and gas plantations, media, and telecommunications.

7. He believes the secret to success is learning from your mistakes

Becoming one of Nigeria's most influential entrepreneurs before the age of 40 requires dedication, discipline, and according to Delano, a certain kind of mindset. Speaking to howwemadeitinafrica.com, he explained the personal philosophy that's driven his career, saying that he attributes his success to "Hard work and learning from my mistakes." "Despite what some people say, you never get anywhere without hard work, and whilst we all make mistakes, the even bigger error is not learning from them," he explained.

8. He founded Moove in 2019

In 2019, Delano teamed up with fellow British-born Nigerian technopreneur Jide Odunsi to co-found his latest venture, Moove Africa BV. The project, which provides revenue-based financing to ride-hailing drivers in sub-Saharan Africa, has already enjoyed huge success, securing a highly profitable partnership with Uber and raising over $174.5 million in funding. Having captured the African market, Delano now aims to scale the model to new markets in Asia, MENA, and Europe over the next six months.

9. He's been named as one of the most influential people in Africa

Building a billion-dollar business before the age of 30 tends to put you on the radar, and Delano is no exception. Moving to Nigeria to establish Bakrie Delano Africa didn't just work out well from a business and financial point of view, it also sent his public profile soaring. In January 2012, he was named among Forbes Africa's list of the 10 Young Africans to watch. Since then, he's been named to the Top 100 Young Economic Leaders by the Institute Choiseul in January 2018; and the Top 20 Young Economic Leaders by Institute Choiseul in January 2019. In January 2019, he won the title of Most Influential People of African Descent.

10. He's a multi-millionaire

Considering he's been showing entrepreneurial spirit since he was at school, the fact that Delano has chosen the career path he has isn't too surprising. How much money he's managed to make within such a short space of time, on the other hand, might give you pause for thought. According to xyznews.com.ng, Delano, who's still a couple of years short of his 40th birthday, is already worth the phenomenal amount of N10 billion, which converts to around $24 million USD.

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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