Olumide Shode is an English graduate that has become a woman in tech, creating Alarrt -an application with the potential to improve Nigerians’ social security immensely.
The University of Lagos graduate completed her English degree with second-class honours but opted for a tech career instead of taking the path of education, which would have been easier considering she had a family member who owned a school.
Olumide Shode’s journey in tech started in the 3rd year of her university education when she developed a passion for exploring the software development world. She dabbled in web design, honed her skills, and is now the founder and CEO/CTO of a security threat platform, Alaart,
Olumide has changed the face of her future and created another pathway to success.
Olumide Shode’s journey to becoming a tech founder
As is the case for many other Nigerians, she was indecisive about the next steps after her one-year NYSC program. While creating a website was enjoyable then, Olumide Shode was sceptical about its cost and maintenance, so she sought to do something else.
Her degree could get her a job in her uncle’s school, but teaching was not the option she wanted. She could further her education but was unsure of the specific field to study.
This led her back to pursuing the passion she once had in software engineering and she became determined this time to make a living out of it. Olumide Shode took a year to self-learn, participated in tutoring sessions, and started applying for internship positions to gain experience.
The 4+ years of experience gained alongside the knowledge and acquired skillset helped her to create ALARRT. The idea was birthed out of many security-challenged experiences she had in her life while working a 9-5 job in the hustling state of Lagos.
With the power of technology, you can leverage it to create solutions to any problem you see fit. In the fintech space, there are a lot of solutions, in the ed-tech industry there are solutions, and many more coming up but when it comes to security and safety we still have quite a lot to do.
The app was developed in 2021, with many users signed up already. Olumide Shode suspects the numbers could have been much higher if it was also available on the iOS platform, a dream that the Alarrt team is working on making a reality soon.
Read Also: Kaduna shuts down telecom Services to curb insecurity; 6th Nigerian state in weeks
What is Alarrt, and how does it work?
Alarrt is a social app that informs users of safety threats around their locations and routes. It also connects the user with the right help in a life-threatening crisis at the click of a button.
The app also integrates users’ social media accounts, making it easier to send the alert and track locations in case of a distress call. The startup is also partnering with a private medical emergency response system and is looking to partner with Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA).
In terms of security, it is also still in the works. We are looking to partner with the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) since we are like trying to do the same thing; keeping citizens safer, we are seeing how we can work together to achieve this.
Olumide Shode is also hoping that shortly, the partnerships will provide users of the app with a reduced cost rate for medical bills.
While the app does not work offline in cases where network coverage is not stable, Olumide Shode explained that the team is looking to create their toll-free number and even incorporate a USSD code.
Plans to raise funding for operation’s growth
Raising funds can be very tasking for any business, and Alarrt is no exception. For Olumide Shode, pitching her idea is always fun, but discussing the financial and monetization part is pretty daunting.
The app currently works for free and does not yet generate revenue for the company, but Olumide is looking to change that in the coming years. She has a well-drafted plan to include the premium version of the services to help them monetize as they scale.
Currently, the company is looking at grants, equity funding, etc. Although in October last year, Olumide Shode was part of those who were selected for the GETaccelerated startup accelerator programme, which was designed to provide ₦55 million in equity-free funding to select early and idea-stage startups. It was Alarrt’s first equity-free funding.
With this funding, Olumide explained that it would be used for brand awareness marketing, engineering of the product and its services, and maybe to get the team their workstation as all staff currently work remotely.
But, this is not enough to help the company with its upscaling plans, especially as they are looking to expand heavily across Nigeria and other African countries.
Every business/business owner has faced challenges
While Olumide claims she has not faced any major challenges, maybe because her business is still at its very early stage, she does not deny that there are challenges. As a business owner, some challenges are inevitable for startups at the different stages of their growth.
One of these challenges she has faced is getting her people to see and trust the services of Alarrt. This is why she is very interested in investing in these aspects of her business, especially now that she is looking for partnership deals.
Another problem is getting and managing the right team, especially as the work setting is remote. She also mentioned handling customer product feedback is a challenge the company is looking to solve by providing better customer satisfaction service.
Olumide Shode is not the type that gets affected by gender-biased challenges.
Sometimes I get the vibe, they don’t say it out loud but I do. For that, i just feel like it is normal and I try not to let it get to me.
Although it has made her prefer to pitch to a more female-dominated audience because she feels more comfortable, and the aura exudes calmness, which she claims is more relatable for her.
Alarrt is currently just one of the many projects she is working on. She is also looking to create solutions to solve challenges in the entertainment and real estate industry.
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