Find your true place on the map with Mappa
Tell us about yourself and your startup
I’m an engineering grad with a professional background in business strategy - mostly advising consumer and technology businesses on their important bets.
I'm also just a huge fan of tech and its transformative effect on the world around us.
Mappa is an attempt to flip residential property on its head by making it consumer-centric.
It’s unbelievable how painful and uncertain the moving process is - it's a somewhat outdated value chain that was never really built for us, the consumer.
Meanwhile on the other hand, property is our largest financial commitments (either rental expenses or as an asset if you’re an owner).
The final key insight is that the data (needed to make optimised decisions) is all out there somewhere - just unharnessed. Even where data is aggregated in some form, it's not personalised or presented in a way that the average person could ever digest.
The idea is to build a platform of products that can solve this: drive personalisation and efficiency at scale - and help the consumer take her decision-making potential to the moon. We want to create an experience befitting of the digital age we’re currently in and that also reflects the importance (and costs) of property commitments.
A little ambitious but yeah, that’s what I’m currently working on alongside my co-founders Ibrahim and Goke.
What led you to where you are today?
As stated, I started my career in strategy consulting - a key premise of which is harnessing data and using it to solve hard problems and inform the most important corporate decisions.
I tried to buy my first property during that early career stage and I found myself completely in the dark. There was no way to make a highly educated, purely objective and personalised decision
I actually tried to solve the problem using the principles I was learning at work - I would start collecting data on the neighbourhoods and properties I was visiting
I started building this chunky excel model but it all got a bit too much so I abandoned it and just caved in to external pressure (agents, sales people, family etc.).
At no stage did I feel certain or empowered to make this big financial decision. In hindsight, I don’t feel like I made a ‘bad’ decision but I still don’t feel that I made ‘my decision’ - that stuck with me.
Fast forward a few years, I’d continually witnessed people around me experience similar problems. I’d had enough, so I decided to dust off the spreadsheet and Mappa was born.
What has been the biggest highlight of your Founder's journey so far?
The team without a doubt - watching a team of talented co-founders and broader contributors form around the vision has given it life. It's been equal parts touching and exciting.
It also made me take the opportunity way more seriously than I would have otherwise.
I feel no matter where/how this venture goes, we have the potential to achieve a lot together.
What lessons have you learnt that you would like to pass on?
- No matter the clarity of your vision, entrepreneurship is a ‘zig-zag’ journey - almost nothing will happen (as seamlessly) as you pictured it in your head. So keep pushing and most importantly, stay teachable
- Find co-founders if possible, they’ll support you in ways you (and they) wouldn’t expect
- Passion for the project and execution discipline are underrated but critical qualities for your team. Technical ability/competency stands for precious little in its absence. In fact, technical talent will rally around you while you execute
- If you can, work on something that has some combination of (i) A problem that truly bothers you (ii) a field you’re passionate about (iii) your background/ career/skills give you some sort of advantage
If you could invite anyone to join the Black Valley community, who and why?
Whilst he's connected to Black Valley, my current top pick would be Tope Awotona of Calendly
- He’s built a B2BxB2C hybrid business and made the customer acquisition (and overall) economics work
- He’s built a big business from a ‘feature-like’ product within a productivity space dominated by giants (i,e, Google / Microsoft). He was able to carve out his niche by tackling a highly-specific but overlooked market inefficiency. Calendly almost had no right to exist!
There’s a potential wealth of lessons to learn from chatting with him - that would be amazing
I’m a big fan of Black Valley’s mission. Sometimes people from underrepresented groups just need that extra bit of focused support and encouragement - so they find the belief that they too can be the builders of tomorrow.
Entrepreneurship is risky and requires buckets of self-belief. BV can help by continually showcasing success stories and providing tools / relationships that help founders get their dreams off the ground.
From a Mappa perspective, we’re trying to build technology that doesn’t really exist for a market that is super tricky and quite resistant to change.
That’s going to be hard but we’re relishing the challenge and will give it our best shot!