April 6, 2015
We were so pleased and honored to have Esosa Ighodaro at #UIU2014 last year, the young under 30 entrepreneur taking the world by storm. Read Michael Luchie’s interview with one of our very own.
The viral world we live in allows us to have nearly anything we want at our fingertips. Want to find out who starred in that movie you watched last night? Check IMDB. Who won the game last night? Check ESPN. What shoes is she wearing? This is where COSIGN hopes to be your go-to answer.
Inspired by trying to find the product information of a pair of shoes in a commercial, Esosa Ighodaro and Abiodun Johnson started COSIGN. After searching for information online about the shoes, the co-founders realized that hundreds of other people were actively trying to find the information, but that information was not easily accessible. The manufacturers of the shoes would want the product information available, but there was no incentive for the advertiser to share details about the shoes because they were not the featured item in the ad.
COSIGN is a social-based business that allows people to easily tag and find product information within a picture, making a post “shoppable” and allowing the tagger to earn commission if a sale is made from the post.
After coming up with the initial idea, the pair worked on putting the legal structure of the business in place and started working on creating the MVP (minimum viable product) version of the app. To get the business off the ground, capital was needed in order to develop the technology that would allow users to quickly tag and share products. Before launching a successful Kickstarter campaign, Esosa said they approached friends and family members. “Want to throw some bucks at it and see how it goes? Most people said no, but some said yes.” The yes’s helped provide validation for their idea and gave the pair an early start in creating the company, which officially launched their app this February. COSIGN has already landed partnerships with over 1,200 retailers.
Q: What’s drives you on an everyday basis as an entrepreneur?
A: The whole idea of being able to solve a problem that’s really unique to not only me, but a lot of people have the same problem of seeing something and wanting to get information about it.
While she comes from a financial background and has had experiences at JPMorgan Chase, Bear Stearns, and CITIGROUP, Esosa has always considered herself entrepreneurial in nature. “I’ve always loved the idea of creating some type of value for someone else and them giving me something in return for that.” She made the leap from the corporate world to the startup world by giving up her CITIGROUP job to partner with Abiodun Johnson. While she loved working within finance, the opportunity to become an entrepreneur and provide value to others was something she couldn’t pass up. “I love that as an entrepreneur you can create immense value for someone that doesn’t even know you, but they’re grateful.”
Asked if working with a co-founder is an advantage or disadvantage for a startup, Esosa was quick to point out the benefits of having a reliable co-founder like Abiodun Johnson by her side. “There is so much work to be done. Any way you can give up some of that work and get it done to the (best of the) ability of your partner…it’s golden.” She said that the pair can “divide and conquer.” “Try to surround yourself with positive people and create support networks. Sometimes it’s going to be tough to manage things that come your way, and you’re going to want to run it by someone else.”
Advice for Others
Q: What’s your best piece of advice for fellow young entrepreneurs?
A: Just do it. Go out there and take a chance on yourself.
Esosa could have remained in her comfortable position at CITIGROUP, but she decided to take a chance on herself and pursued the idea that she was passionate about. COSIGN is becoming a reality because of a pair of young, entrepreneurially minded co-founders who took a chance on their idea and are seeing it through. To learn more about COSIGN, visit Cosign.co.