Verraki: Driving Growth Of Businesses Across Africa With Technology
Four years ago, Verraki did not exist let alone ring a bell among corporate industry players. But today, three years after it was established, Verraki, a business solution company for Africa, is fast becoming a household name in Nigeria and by extension, on the African continent. And this is because it set out to be a Nigerian/Pan African company with a global outlook.
Verraki, a leading solution provider for enterprises and governments, is driven by the desire to build and implement technology solutions for seemingly intractable challenges, provide advisory services to drive the capacity and motivation for change, and curate innovative ventures to unlock new sources of growth across our continent.
The name Verraki is derived from a fusion of Latin and Greek words. The Latin word ‘Versorium’ means Turn Around while ‘Meraki’ in Greek describes the action of doing something with soul, creativity, pouring oneself into a task.
“Verraki aptly captures the essence of our company; to turn around African enterprises and governments via smart, future-focused solutions and business insights, new opportunities, helping to unleash their potential, turnaround their performance and achieve the seemingly impossible, with the sole goal of creating a better future for Africa,” Olaniyi Yusuf, Managing Partner of the company explained.
Explaining the motive behind the creation of Verraki, he said: “Africa is still a developing continent on the march from being third world to the first. Three years ago, we were convinced that Africa’s largest and most apparent intractable problems requires more of business solutions conceptualised by Africans and built by Africans.”
Founded on April 1, 2019, over the last three years, Verraki has covered mileage, breaking boundaries in project execution. Its first operational year coincided with the emergence of COVID-19 pandemic that crippled the universe. And despite the debilitating impact of the pandemic on businesses in 2020 and by extension 2021, Verraki stood its ground. Rather than go into oblivion like some other companies, it waxed stronger, delivering its mandate to its ever growing clientele base.
Providing insight, Yusuf said: “Our first year as a company was calm, but the following two years was difficult due to the pandemic. But I am very proud of what we have been able to achieve in three years. I remember we added a few things to our goals as a company such as health, agriculture and transportation, which are basic amenities that an average African needs. Later we added construction and housing. That level of pro-activeness helped.
“In three years, the company did not lose a client, rather it added some conglomerates to its rich portfolio. Some of the big, new portfolios include OANDO Plc, one of Nigeria’s leading players in the oil and gas sector. Oando Plc is listed both in the Nigerian Exchange Limited and London Stock Exchange. BUA Plc, second largest company in the cement industry in Nigeria was one of the companies, which Verraki gained in three years. Edo State government joined the Verraki family from the public sector.
“Today, we have invested in seven start-ups just to show that we are not just a service provider. We are also shareholders. We were able to do this because we are an African company. It became imperative to solidify the continent in terms of economic growth and development that will attract our children to want to come back home to contribute their own quotas,” Yusuf noted.
Excited about its growth so far, Yusuf stated that: “We are expanding the markets with blue chip companies while we continue to add high profile clients. We at Verraki are becoming an integral part of business landscape that will transform Africa and at the same time helping our communities.”
Verraki has supported and it is still working with start-ups, big companies, ministries and agencies of government, local and international companies, multi-lateral agencies like IFC and Afriexim and have executed projects across multiple African countries in the last 3 years.
Verraki is particularly proud of its contributions to nation building and human development including the support of Verraki staff to the planning and establishment of the COVID-19 Isolation Centre at Landmark Village in Victoria Island. Its active involvement in the establishment of Ikoyi Medipark, which aims to provide world class health services towards reducing medical tourism, development of a tourism master plan for Edo State in support of the return of the Benin bronzes, support to Lagos State with the conceptualisation and planning of an ICT Park – KITE@Yaba – and the creation of an enabling ecosystem for tech entrepreneurs in Yaba district to drive investment, job creation are additional landmark achievements the company recorded in a space of three years of its existence.
Verraki is also providing capital and technical services to leading Fintech and tech startups, developing a Medium Term Strategy for a public university, working with the CBN to instill IT Standards for the Banks and Fintech, and developing a Strategic Plan for the Office of the Public Defender (OPD), Lagos State.
Through its sponsorship and involvement in the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, Junior Achievement Nigeria, National Association of Computer Science Students, Fate Foundation, Lagos Business School, LCCI, Corona Schools, WIMBIZ, and the American Business Council, Verraki is contributing towards a better community, a progressive nation and developing a generation of conscientious young people and entrepreneurs who are equipped with the necessary skills to compete in a fast-changing world.
“We are also creating a work environment and culture in which innovation thrives, ideas flourish, problems become opportunities, passion becomes purpose, potential becomes performance, and people thrive,” Verraki announced.
During a panel discussion at its third year anniversary celebration held in Lagos last week, one of the staff, HR Lead at Verraki, Debo Awojide, said one thing that stands out the outfit among its peers is a work-friendly environment for its people.
“I got to know about Verraki in 2019 via referral and I joined in 2020. It was easy for me to learn the culture of what the company wants to be. My first impression is who we are and it sunk with me. The fact that I can work up to people within the organisation is a plus for a family and people oriented company. I want us as an African company with a global outlook to continue to build on the culture that we started with by maintaining our people, client as we continue to grow.”
Senior Partner, Kelvin Balogun had always hoped to work with a world class company where the process, skills, values are of the best standard and all these he found at Verraki.
For Balogun, the ability to see what the emerging trends are and what to do with them, ‘setting ambitious goals and each year we achieve them attests to perseverance and ingenuity of everyone in the company.”
Senior Partner, Toluwaleke Adenmosun, who spent 29 years in Accenture before joining Verraki is glad that her decision to join as a partner is paying off as she said the partnership has survived over the last three years as the vision of the company has been kept.
“It has been a roller coaster for us as a company and I want to continue with improved services. And I am impressed by the partners’ drive, by maintaining clients and the overall culture. It has been good to see the growth in people, staff and perception about Verraki externally. Also, the desire to learn is good for continual growth. I am happy that Verraki is known as a solution provider for Africa.”
Ms. Tolulope Taiwo-Ashaju, another staff of Verraki noted that after joining the company three years ago, she discovered that Verraki had gone through transition from Accenture to Verraki. Her words: “On getting here three years ago, I met a people and family oriented company. People were kind, friendly, easy to get on with. There was one-on-one engagement. The environment and people are welcoming. It is a culture that I like.”
“Now we are looking forward to the next few years, said Yusuf in his closing remarks. Clearly, we want to be a technology company, business solution provider that will help the continent. And Verraki will bring solution to the market. We want to work with Pan African clients such as Access Bank and other companies that have footprints across the African continent because there is a need for African Continent to birth giant companies like America, Europe etc.
“Also, Verraki want to assist Young Ventures because we want to focus on growth so that they can become global company. One of the incentives and innovation at Verraki is to encourage our staff members and we hope that any staff that have stayed for five years and wants to become his/her own boss through business ideas that are aligned with the vision will get Verraki’s support in cash and kind.
“There will also be Verakki recognition programmes to reward our staff that is working tirelessly by pushing the company to success. As we forge ahead as a company we reiterate our commitments to be a solution provider that will solve the problem of the continent just as we continue to aspire to be the best in the continent.”