Co-Founders, Ayo Olunuga and Damola Ajayi established Nigeria’s First pay-as-you-go warehousing company, Warenext to help online retailers warehouse their goods on a pay-as-you-go plan, with efficient and customer-centric last-mile delivery options on the platform.
WareNext is a Logistics Marketplace in Nigeria, which offers a one-stop shop for businesses with logistics requirements. With the platform, customers are connected to hundreds of flexible warehousing solution providers as well as couriers and truckers eliminating multiple processes and reducing cost.
WareNext is Nigeria’s first digital marketplace providing freight forwarding, warehousing storage and fulfilment, and last-mile delivery; and it is helping online retailers warehouse their goods on a pay-as-you-go plan, with efficient and customer-centric last-mile delivery options to choose from on the platform.
Ayo Olunuga. Co-founder of Warenext, was raised by a father who owned a logistics business in Nigeria. With his experience at the Royal Mail and Jumia, he had mastered the terrain and fully understood where the market gaps were. He was eager to solve the warehousing and last-mile delivery problems but he knew the journey is a marathon, and to win, he couldn’t go it alone. Thereby, starting the logistics company with a co-founder, Damola Ajayi.
In an interview, Ayo Olunuga and Damola Ajayi told Business Elites Africa in detail about their journey as employees and now as business owners. Ayo said in his interview that he has been in the logistics business for about 10 to 15 years.
He grew up around a logistics business owned by his father and that’s what he studied at the University as well. He actually had his formal logistics job in the UK, with the Royal Mail. From there he moved on to Aston Martin where he worked with Jaguar Land Rover and then to Nigeria where he also worked with Jumia.
According to Ayo, he was the head of delivery at Jumia, and when he left Jumia, he tried his hands on a small logistics business, where they did road and rail transportation for a number of businesses. They moved goods from Apapa all the way to the Kano-Kaduna axis and down south as well.
That was what they did for a while, then the modernization of the railway came about, and the railway actually stopped working for some time. That literarily halted the rail side of the business, but they went on with the road. That was what he did prior to him joining and starting off Warenext with Damola Ajayi in 2019.
According to Damola Ajayi, he started off in Human Resources (HR). He was doing recruitment, talent management, and facilitating a lot of training, as far back as when he was a student, a member of the International Association of Students in Economics and Commerce (AIESEC), a student organization that basically caters to young people developing their leadership potentials.
Damola mentioned that he did a lot of projects, training, and conferences across different countries. “This student organization is in 115 countries. So you could travel and do exchange programs. Shortly after school, I went to Ghana, where I did a bit of AISEC stuff as well as talent management. From Ghana, I traveled to Gabon for a project with the United Nations and AISEC. Then, I went to India, where I also worked as HR personnel at TATA group – the IT arm of the company”, he stated.
TATA had over 200,000 employees, and he was managing about 9000 people back then.
Damola said to Businesselite Africa that after TATA, he came back to Nigeria and worked as an HR staff at an engineering firm; then quit and went to Jumia.
At Jumia he did recruitment and training as well, more like HR and sales, which was his first experience in sales. Later in Jumia, he moved to become the director for the marketplace because the company needed to move from the retail business into a marketplace business, which informs some of the things they do at Warenext today.
After Jumia, Damola joined Carrry1st, a gaming company where he was the manager for growth and expansion in Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya. “After that, I ran into Ayo and Warenext happened”, he concluded.
Warenext was established in 2019 by Ayo Olunuga and Damola Ajayi based on some of the challenges in the Industry. According to Ayo, one of the challenges he faced while working in the UK, was that of short-term warehousing.
During peak periods like Black Fridays, Christmas and other major holidays, there is usually a spike in online shopping and all will go through a supply and logistics to get delivered. But the number of warehouses which the company ran throughout the year was not usually sufficient for the peak period.
So, they needed additional short-term warehousing spaces to accommodate the extra volume that would come. Coming down to Nigeria, Jumia had exactly the same problem. So, it really didn’t matter the country or location, logistics issue was always there.
That was why he teamed up with his friend and former colleague Damola Ajayi, a sales professional to establish Warenext an end-to-end digital marketplace as a pay-as-you-go warehousing solution for small and medium-size enterprises.
Ayo decided to partner with Damola in order to foster the business growth by employing his idea and skills based on the experiences he had noticed Damola gained while working alongside himself at Jumia. According to the duo, the mission is to shoulder all the logistics burden of SMEs in Nigeria.