How Covenant University Graduate Makes $12m in Start-up Business

Dickson Nsofor

An uncommon resolve to see dreams come through has motivated a 2013 graduate of Information and Communication Engineering of Covenant University, Mr. Dickson Nsofor, to launch into the world of software and communication engineering, with outstanding results within a short space of time, precisely since 2017, when he incorporated Kora Network, an infrastructure for inclusive financial systems powered via blockchain.

Kora Network is a digital financial service solution for the new generation payment systems, with a fully integrated platform on the network blockchain, where transactions are tracked in the most transparent way at reduced costs across the globe.

The start-up recently achieved the seemingly unimaginable feat of raising 12 million dollars within 10 days of opening its Token sale to the public, with FBG Capital, one of the largest blockchain venture capital in Asia, leading the investment flow into Kora, along with Nirvana Capital, Rootscap, and other major crypto funds outfits.

To further give credence to the quality and safety of Kora Token, a team of experts at Hosho Group, with backgrounds in all aspects of the blockchain, cryptography, and cyber-security, certified that the Kora contract was free of any critical issues.

Key points discovered in the audit exercise were that Kora contract is an ERC-20 token written very close to the ERC-20 (Ethereum Request for Comments, the official protocol for proposing improvements to the Ethereum network) compliance specifications, and the testable code is 100%, which is above industry standard and the contract status was a low-risk one.

Dickson Nsofor (M) on staircase with colleagues
Dickson Nsofor (M) on staircase with colleagues

The success story of Kora Network is not one of happenstance, but that deeply rooted in facing challenges, almost failing, but refusing to accept failure and facing reality head-on.

Mr. Dickson Nsofor, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Kora Network, stated that the evolvement and success of his organisation were predicated upon series of failure and disappointment in projects he went into as a graduate.

“Five years after leaving Covenant, I was confronted with serious business challenges and the reality of life. However, thanks to what Covenant imbued in us, I was able to face the situation head-on and, today, the story is different,” he posited.

He attributed the birth of Kora to his time at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, where he observed operational challenges of transferring and tracking funds to troubled regions of the world. This, he said, motivated him to resign his appointment and started proffering solution to the identified problem.

Nsofor, who, in 2017, taught BlockChain for Finance and Social Good at INSEEC Business School, London, said that his company and team are laser-beam focused on evolving the best e-fund payment platform that would set Kora on the right track to being the first $5 billion African start-ups. According to him, “We are not aiming to be the best in Nigeria or Africa, but to be the number one start-up in the world by 2022, capturing over 1.5 to 2% share of the estimated $650 billion that will be in circulation in our field of operation”.

The 27-year-old entrepreneur averred that Covenant University is not a school, but a mindset; it is not a place, but a lifestyle that challenges individuals to think the impossible and release the potentials to drive one’s wildest dreams to reality. “We did not go through Covenant University, Covenant went through us, that is why we are unique, and our result speaks,” he added.

With its current staff strength at 50, Kora Network is an assemblage of graduates of Covenant. When asked the reason for this, Nsofor asserted that running and driving a vision like Kora Network to fruition would need people of vision, shared values and that believe in possibility mentality to command the kind of result they needed within a time frame. “I tell people that Kora is one of the axes of Covenant’s Vision 10:2022 (being one of the top 10 universities in the world by the year 2022), and there is no better place to recruit but from my Alma Mata,” he explained.

Nsofor was the Chief Business Development Officer of LIXON Mobile, a company he started in 2014 and designed one of the foremost feature phones in West Africa, with Java versions of WhatsApp and Facebook to drive mass adoption of the Internet among unbanked people. The company, he stated, sold 20,000 devices in the first year of rolling out the device.

Reminiscing on an encounter with the Chancellor, Covenant University, Dr. David O. Oyedepo, during his undergraduate days, Nsofor recollected that the Chancellor, while addressing the students at a forum, announced that the University had acquired equipment worth N88 million. “That was the first time I heard such a thing, and I think that was when I adopted the catchphrase ‘impossible is nothing’ and started thinking about doing something outstanding in life,” he remarked.

Nsofor, who was the Chairman of the 2013 Student Convocation Planning Committee of Covenant University, noted that irrespective of what anybody might say about Covenant, it has made many of her students great through a robust and all-encompassing academic and practical life pedagogy, and the aura of dignity and royalty that Eagles (graduates of the University) bring into any environment is one that is a testimony of where they are coming from.

He commended the leadership of the University for the renewed drive for excellence and the mentoring and communication channels they avail the alumni of the University, towards helping them find their feet in their various fields of human endeavour.

“Covenant has all it takes to be touted the Harvard of Africa. The current Vice-Chancellor, Professor Atayero is adequately positioned to drive the vision of the University, as received by the Chancellor,” he enthused.

Nsofor charged budding entrepreneurs of Covenant to be sure of what they want to do in business, build commensurate passion to drive it as being passionate about what one delves into would help one to overcome every form of disappointment. According to him, “We are bound together by the bond of Covenant and will always look out to support those that are enterprising and ready to take on new challenges”.

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