How 32-Year-Old Built a Business From Scratch, Sells it to Target for N226.5 Billion

How 32-Year-Old Built a Business From Scratch, Sells it to Target for N226.5 Billion

  • A serial entrepreneur, Bill Smith sold his shopping company, Shipit to a company for a whooping N228.5 billion
  • Smith said the idea foe the company came after his second child was born and his wife had a hard time shopping for groceries
  • He had previously founded businesses that he sold to other companies before starting Shipit seven years ago

A company, Shipit, built by a school dropout has been acquired by Target, America’s big-box department store for a whooping N228,500 billion.

Shipit, which specialises in same-day delivery was founded by Bill Smith, a secondary school dropout and a serial entrepreneur with perseverance.

Bill Smith, founder of Shipit
Bill Smith, founder of Shipit Credit: Bill Smith/Shipit
Source: UGC

According to CNBC, Smith said his father was an entrepreneur and so he grew up seeing him doing different businesses from the time he was 5 years old. Smith says he wanted to understand business and its workings. He said his father was into the cell phone business.

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According to him, hanging around his father, he learned a few things about business at an early age.

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Inspired by his dad and eager to start making money, Smith quit school when he was about 16, much to his dad’s dismay.

He recalls that despite his father being a businessman, he was not supportive. He said his father said becoming an entrepreneur was a bad idea.

How it started and how it is going

In the early 2000s, Smith began selling cell phones. Finally, he opened up two retail cell phone stores and was making N1.6 million to N2 million a month.

As he worked, he received his school certificate and even briefly went to the university. He understood quickly understood that conventional education was not for him. He thought entrepreneurship was his calling and he cannot learn that in the classroom.

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Smith believes that business is all about going out and solving problems and said he is not sure that can be taught in the schools.

He said:

“I think that it’s kind of a flaw to think that you’re going to go to a school, and someone that’s never been an entrepreneur is going to teach you how to be an entrepreneur, you know? So, I just tell people you’ve got to get out there and start making it happen.”

After running his cellular phone company for three years, he established a company that issues small loans. In 2009, he established Insight Card Services, a firm giving re-loadable, prepaid Visa cards.

As per Smith, the business of prepaid credit cards is very complicated, but he understood it by figuring out who the big players in the industry are and also doing research and meeting people. He sold Insight to GreenDot Corporation, financial technology and bank-holding company for an undisclosed amount.

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His biggest and best idea was born

After selling Insight, he started looking for his next opportunity. Then came the idea for Shipt.

Smith said the initial plan for Shipit was to build a business around the same-day delivery for big-box retailers. He hated shopping and wanted to find a way to get the dreaded task done.

Finding inspiration in the grocery aisle

He wanted customers to be able to go to a retailer’s website, place an order and have it sent to their door that same day. In order to achieve that, Shipit will use a network of independent contractors, or shoppers. He invested about N1.2 billion of his own capital into the company.

The first version of Shipit was launched in November 2014 in Birmingham.

Smith did not get the whole idea of same-day delivery all figured out until 2015, he told his team that they are going to pivot into grocery delivery for clients who are having a hard time shopping for groceries.

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Billionaire gifts 19-year-old beauty entrepreneur N166 million to speak with his Daughters has reported that A 19-year-old beauty entrepreneur, Tania Speaks, has gotten a raise for her organic beauty business from a billionaire, Mark Cuban after she pitched her ideas on a television show, Shark Tank.

The investment, however, came with a caveat. That the 19-year-old meets his two daughters and have a one-on-one with them.

The billionaire said he would invest the money for a 15 per cent share in her beauty business and also that she should tell his daughters how she built her business.


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