In our second episode of the Founders’ Corner, we have a conversation with Kelvin Tyron, Chief Product Officer of Saving Grains and Co-Founder of Nvoicia. Kelvin shares his journey as an entrepreneur and how he ended up building two thriving startups.
Kelvin Tyron is the Chief Product Officer of Saving Grains and Co-founder of Nvoicia. He has a background in Computer Engineering and specialised in Product Development. Kelvin has always had a passion for Tech.
He involved himself in multiple businesses at a young age and had always wanted to run his own business. Eventually, he began researching the SME industry with his team, trying to figure out the problems they faced. They discovered that the main problem these businesses faced was delayed payment issues and that is how Nvoicia was born.
- If you are to describe your startup journey in one word, what would it be?
I will say it’s been informative. You get a wealth of experience from speaking to clients, handling finance, and developing a product, among others. So, it’s a learning process that keeps you growing.
- Can you elaborate on how any of your startups tend to help small businesses or help individuals?
At Saving Grains, we aim to help farmers/rural areas retain most of their profits from production. During harvest season, farmers selling all their produce at once leads to an oversupply and hence low profits. We combine a model of safe storage and finance through community-led aggregation to increase smallholder profits. The farmer gets paid today and gets a piece of future profits through our traceability solution. Farmers and our partner rural aggregators see a 50% and 80% increase in profits respectively.
Nvoicia on the other hand, helps small businesses streamline their payments from their large corporate clients with invoice factoring. Nvoicia pivoted to more of a bank-facing model. The plan for Nvoicia was to become a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business. So, while working with the SMEs we tried to figure out how the financial institutions were operating. Once we did that we began entering into partnerships with banks. By combining both our strengths, we reduce decision time on financing SMEs from weeks to a matter of minutes.
- Throughout your startup journey have you had any customer success story that has made you proud to be an entrepreneur?
At Nvoicia, there was an instance where a customer provided services to a mining client but had to wait for 90 days to be paid the money for his services due to so many processes and limitations. With Nvoicia, he was able to receive his payment within a few days and this allowed him to take on more jobs and more clients. We have many similar stories.
Additionally, Saving Grains has been able to provide an average profit of 80% to the small aggregators we deal with and an average 50% increase in profits to farmers we work with annually.
- What are some of the key trends coming up in your industry, and how are you able to adapt to them?
There are a lot of changes and rapid growth in the Tech industry. These changes have their advantages and disadvantages in the sense that they may produce disruptive solutions to your current business model or help grow your business. But as a business person, you always have to keep abreast, make sure you’re figuring out how things are going and make sure you are in a position to be able to improvise when necessary.
For instance, the development of AI and blockchain have become the key trends lately. Many people fear that these developments will result in job losses. However, AI is going to be more of an efficiency multiplier in the beginning stages before it begins to replace existing solutions. So as a founder, what you should be looking out for is how you can take advantage of that efficiency in your business. So basically, I look at these new trends from an efficiency point of view.
- What are some of the skills that have helped you grow as a Tech founder, and what do you think people who are trying to build startups can learn from?
Curiosity. You learn as much as you can from different industries. Pick up as much information from different people. There’s always a reason why something is working in a specific industry. So being curious about why things are working for different people in different industries can always be applied in different ways. As a result, it helps if you keep an open mind, try to read as much as possible and talk to other founders as well. This is extremely helpful. It gives you different perspectives on situations. Also, be honest with yourself. Know when to pivot.
- Do you have any inspiring last words?
Startups are not for everyone. It’s a financial risk and it’s not as easy as people make it seem. So, if you want to build a startup, make sure you validate as much as possible. Kudos to all the startup founders out there.
This was an informative session with Kelvin Tyron. We greatly appreciate your time and know your inspiring words and advice will go a long way to motivate aspiring startup founders.