Pika: Effortless cooking experience

Pika: Effortless cooking experience

Tell us about yourself and your startup

I'm the CEO and co-founder of Pika. My love for Computers and Technology led me down a career path in Software Engineering. Throughout my career, I have worked at various blue chip Tech companies in the consumer space, where I learnt how to build state-of-the-art software systems and developed a keen passion for solving consumer problems.

Pika is a company co-founded by Gbemi and I. Pika focuses on solving consumer problems in making African meals. Anyone who has cooked an African dish knows it can be time-consuming, and there is limited documentation on the process and steps. Essentially, recipe knowledge is tacit and stored in the minds of those who know how and cook based on feelings. Sourcing ingredients can be problematic. Living in the Diaspora adds to this complexity regarding the availability and freshness of produce not grown locally. In addition, there is little to no research on nutritional information on African food. 

At Pika, we design and create meal kits that solve all these problems by making preparing and cooking African meals an effortless cooking experience.

What lead you to where you are today?

Our journey started during the pandemic whilst trying to cook Efo-Riro (a Nigerian dish). I was nostalgic for Nigerian food, so I decided to try it out myself, not fully knowing what I was doing, the process took me around 7 hours and three trips to different grocery stores. It didn't taste exactly how I had hoped, and I thought making a Nigerian meal shouldn't be this hard.

My thought led to a conversation with Gbemi on how we could solve this problem, and within a week, we had our prototype meal kit designed. Since then, we have explored various African meals and focused on creating meal kits for them.

What has been the biggest highlight in your founder's journey so far?

I will say there have been two significant highlights for us:-

1) The number of people who have been helpful and willing to support Pika. It has been a delight to see the support we have received in solving the problems associated with cooking African meals.

2) The response to our product and how it has become a constant feature in people's experience of eating African meals. It is heart-warming to hear customer feedback on Pika meals they've tried and equally rewarding to have repeat customers

What has been the biggest highlight in your founder's journey so far?

I have learnt so much on the journey of running Pika. But two lessons stand out for us:-

1) There is no such thing as a bad idea. There is always a new lesson, hidden knowledge or a new angle of seeing things from whatever idea you come up with and try to implement.

2) Build iteratively, fail fast. This follows from the first lesson, which is to test out new ideas and learn!

If you could invite anyone to join the Black Valley community, who and why?

I would like to invite Oshoma Zekeri to join the black valley community. Zekeri is working on a brilliant idea to change the landscape for event vendors of all kinds. I believe his venture can potentially redefine how we book event vendors in the future.

Final thoughts?

I believe we have just started on an incredible journey and barely scratched the surface in exploring the opportunities. There is so much more we can achieve. I am incredibly excited about our vision and grateful for the support we have received so far.

Akintunde Agbeja

CEO and Co-Founder of Pika Group