Shadrack Kubyane of Coronet Blockchain Shares how they’ve scaled a start-up from $500.00 into $2 million annual revenue leading to a founding of one of the leading Blockchain start-ups in Africa.
Q1: Tell us about your yourself?
I am a villager at heart. I grew up managing and growing my mothers’ businesses from age 11, so it was natural for me to be in management consulting with my last corporate role with Deloitte. I then spent a decade: scaling businesses via my management consulting expertise.
The segway that ushered me into blockchain: was when I led a team that scaled an SME from 500 USD to 2 million USD within 36 months.
Following this breakthrough, we uncovered a treasure trove of Africa’s broken & fragmented supply chains that needed repairing. Blockchain’s unparalleled capabilities proved to be the perfect fit.
Affectionately referred to as Africa’s Blockchain Barron, I am a passionate AfCFTA advocate. My Linkedin Thought Leadership enjoys 500 000+ impressions monthly: as I daily engage C-suite executives, Listed company CEOs, Tech experts & entrepreneurs on:
Q2: What does your company do?
Coronet Blockchain is a B2B2C Marketplace that provides blockchain vetted Human hair extensions, haircare products & salon equipment to African salons, distributors & retailers from ethical global manufacturers at lower sourcing costs. Our first use case involves using blockchain to transform Africa's 7 billion USD hair extensions sector. Our SDG2030 BFF focus, is using blockchain across Beauty, Fashion & Food supply chains., leveraging blockchain, for social good. Impacting Africa's supply chains.
Q3: What inspired you to start your business?
We ended up in the blockchain industry, by accident, really. When we were called upon to scale that SME which started in a chaotic taxi rank, when an ex-colleague from Deloitte approached our management consulting practise. She had started a hair extension business with just $500 and it was now growing, she wanted us to put systems in place in order to formalise and scale the business. Fast-forward 36 months later we scaled her business into 4 branches, 40 full-time staff and $2 million a year revenue. We received an overwhelming request from brands across Africa wanting the same success story.
Knowing that they all had similar pain-points, we soon realised that we needed to produce the same transformation at scale and we needed a solution that can deliver industry wide transformation. During dinner with a with a family friend who worked for a legacy technology company told us that blockchain was a glove-fit solution. During that time the tech giant has just concluded a proof of concept that was solving similar pain-points in the food supply chain and they also had an investment program that invests in scalable start-ups. So after presenting our business case to the investment committee, they funded us twice during Covid to build the technology.
Q4: How do you define your business model; what differentiates your products or Services from others?
Currently our solution focuses on 3 segments: Product provenance, access to market through our B2B2C market where international manufacturers of hair & beauty access can sell quality authenticated products to the African market and finally availing connected business systems to Africa salon, retailers and hairdressers so that they can run formalised and sustainable businesses.
Q5: Starting a business is not easy. What struggles did you experience in the infant years of your company and how did you overcome it?
We started building Coronet just before lockdown. One can agree that was a challenging time to start a business (through 100% remote working as supply chain shocks were kicking in worldwide). We had limited human capital resources. Thanks to foreign programs such as Bridges for Enterprises (a Cambridge University accelerator type platform), all the way from New York, and Game Cock Consulting, from South Carolina, jointly availed critical resources to us, on the human capital side, further to the IBM provided technical expertise.
With that said: having something to look forward to and put our heads down to keep building despite uncertainty at a global level has paid off as salons and retailers, during Covid, discovered they could no longer travel to source products in person, off-shore. We had numerous brands banging at our doors while the solution was being built, which is uncommon, as tech start-ups normally struggle with early adoption.
Q6: What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started?
When I worked in corporate it was normal to be in a team that could move a project from a R0 balance sheet to R5 billion within 36 months. This created a false reality in my mind because when I left corporate I thought that would be my immediate reality and trajectory. Being ignorant that the corporate I worked for had a larger than life brand equity, having been in existence for over 165 years with intricate backend systems and an army staff with infinite resource at their disposal.
I learnt fast that business is not a sprint, it’s more like a marathon, and definitely, business is not a get rich quick scheme, it requires the patience of a bamboo farmer, which can take half a decade to show results. You will not be your own boss, every client you have is your boss. Instead of no boss, you now have 30 to 100 bosses that expect you to deliver. No sick leave or fun weekend, at least at the beginning until you can build systems and delivery teams.
Q7: Businesses come with stress; what gives you the joy to keep you going?
Its purpose before profit. If business was just about income I would’ve just kept my job at Deloitte the benefits were really good. But business it what gives both me and my wife purpose, to move Africa forward, to make our contribution to solving Africa problems
Q8: Why do you think businesses fail in your industry?
It's about totally understanding the people’s WHY and becoming their HOW. For example mainstream food retailer open o lower tire retail brand for low income families, they mistakenly thought that quality doesn’t matter rather cheap prices. What they did not realise is that a cheap box of tomatoes is supposed to feed a family of 15 for the whole month and is 50% of the tomatoes rot in one week that means two weeks with no tomatoes and because of that they will not trust the retailer with chicken or anything. They may be a low income household but they will rather spend more to buy better quality so that food can last longer.
Q9: What are your 3 priorities right now:
Currently raising a Seed B funding round to take Coronet into market.
Growing our client and user base.
Being a leading Voice and a go-to for Blockchain use in Africa's Supply chains.
Q10: What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
Our BFF30 vision as a company is to implement blockchain across the Beauty, Food & Fashion and be a leading player by 2030. Our initial use case is currently in Beauty then followed by the food sector to attain the much-needed food security priorities and last but not least the Fashion industry. The 3 industries that makes up our focus are the largest employers in Africa as we plan to create impact across, women lead business and youth lead businesses.
Q11: 3 things most people do not know about you?
The last generation of farmers: that lived from the ground from most of our dishes including leading a group of boys for hunting trips
I love to cook: I really enjoy cooking, I was once featured in South Africa's famous Braai Master cooking show.
The one time tax Drive: I once drove taxes to keep my new consulting
Q12: Advise to other entrepreneurs or to your younger self?
Be intentional and keep close company with those who have gone ahead of you in your industry. Such an ecosystem will save you from the lots of mistakes you will make, in your early days. Mistakes will be there, but, an ecosystem of such a nature, will be your buffer, to lessen impact, the price you pay will be lessened, fast tracking your growth. Get books on successful leaders you look up to. This is like having a coffee with them at any time of the day, spend time learning and attending events where they’re speaking
Here's what other people say about Mr Shadrack Kubyane, Africa's Blockchain Baron:
Shadrack Kubyane describes himself as a villager at heart who is equally at home on a tractor 🚜 as he is in a boardroom. What is certain is that—Shadrack possesses one of the most extraordinary minds of our time.A thought-leader, an intellectual, with a unique and acute storytelling ability to demonstrate the benefits of blockchain technology.He is a blockchain expert and thought leader, particularly in terms of advising, contextualising, and comprehending its implementation, functionality, and potential applications in Africa. Shadrack's ability to communicate the benefits of blockchain using poignant messages and drawing on issues that are not always obvious to the casual observer impresses me greatly. I look forward to working with Shadrack in the future
Dear Shadrack, the way you both you and Pretty present Blockchain as a concept is powerful in its simplicity. I truly admire that! The most striking part of your presentation slides is the incredible potential that Africa will have by 2035, its Youth! Turning what others have called risky into power by using education and apprenticeships... I truly look forward to that and not just watching, but God willing, participating!
Many leaders will emerge out of the 4th Industrial Revolution that the world is currently experiencing . One of those leaders will be Shadrack Kubyane, Co-Founder of Coronet Blockchain.
Charismatic, Brilliant and Inspiring - Shadrack is transforming Blockchain in Africa though his supply-chain based project called " Coronet Blockchain." Setting the standard in innovation and leadership throughout the region, he is rapid-firing solutions into a multitude of problems through his strategic and tactical planning & execution.
As a guest on my livestream program "Crypto With English " , he provided a wealth of knowledge and wisdom across a variety of issues in Blockchain , Cryptocurrency , Tokenomics and Geopolitics. He intuitively understands the "Bigger Picture" and articulates complex issues into very engaging and straight-forward talking points.
Known as "Africa's Blockchain Baron" , he lives up to that name and exceeds it. All substance, no veneer - he is a man of action and a captivating entrepreneur, inspiring many people in Africa and beyond. Africa has been called the "Cradle of Civilization" and Shadrack will be one of its pillars in this Blockchain technology era.
Mr Shadrack has proven to be a talented, humble and dedicated mentor. He became a mentor to me in early 2021 and since then, he has demonstrated sincere care for my professional growth, development and career advancement. Given his expert knowledge and great wealth of experience, his words of advice have been very useful and encouraging. I strongly recommend Mr Shadrack as a professional you can learn a lot from.
Shadrack Kubyane is one of the most amazing minds of our times. A Thought-leader, an intellectual, has a distinct and acute ability of story-telling to simplify complex concepts. A visionary who inspires confidence and can clearly articulate where he is headed commanding such willing followership.
Absolutely confident in his abilities and instills the same confidence in those he leads. He is a force to beckon and is someone to watch in the coming 5 years.
From the first time I met Shadrack at Deloitte, I suspected that there was something unique about him. He's humility and empathy is the first trait you notice. He then shows his intellect and greater good thinking. A life scholar, he is eager to reach out to different expertise to keep learning and sharing knowledge. Watching and engaging with him on his current blockchain adventure, I'm encouraged by what he will produce.
Shadrack is a an amazing resource and a passionate African who I call "Future of Africa" . He's a great speaker with depth of knowledge. I am excited to be part of your network bro, together we can build the Africa of our dream 🙌
Shadrack is an Amazing Speaker, Full of Energy and Zeal for the Great Technology ( Blockchain ). He is one of the Great pioneers of Blockchain in the African Soil, doing great things in the Supply Chain across Southern and Eastern Africa
Meeting Shadrack and Pretty Kubyane was like God opening a door to me. The humility and openness I have experienced with Shadrack is profound.
After my first interview with him, he reached out and asked me to have a session with him where he analyzed my professional journey and gave advised and what I should do. He exhibited incredible Management Consultant and Strategist capabilities in that session. I was profoundly blessed. And he did not charge as a matter of fact.
I strongly recommend Shadrack as an astute professional, wordsmith, entrepreneur and mentor. We look forward to the launch of the Kubyane Institute of Leadership and Entrepreneurship!
Shadrack Kubyane first came to my attention for his insightful comments on blockchain technology and I believe him to be one of the finest world-class leaders and speakers on blockchain and crypto.
His passion and power for helping others is of the highest order. He has the quality of ‘Kingship’ required to lead a continent into the coming fintech revolution.
As an alternative to my own KingMaker & Self-Mastery program I would recommend the Kubyane Institute of Leadership and Entrepreneurship if you wish to become the best of the best.
Shadrack, is a global thought leader and one of the leading pioneers from the front lines of the fourth industrial revolution. His fine understanding of the blockchain technology is admirable and his participation in lending his voice to lead conversations around this technology as well as it's use cases is especially remarkable.
This has placed him among the biggest speakers in the world of Financial technology, Blockchain & Cryptocurrency.