Nigerian computer software programmer, Oyelaja Oyekan is is the CEO of Cybernator Solutions, and brain behind PrayerBox. The app, which was started in December 2014, already has well over 40,000 users. It has been referred to as the ‘Twitter for religion’ and offers users a platform to post prayer points, testimonies and share prayers with each other privately. It also offers a means to connect users with their churches via one of its features, Church Pages.
Fluent in over 13 programming languages, Oyekan revealed that the inspiration for starting PrayerBox came from observing the trend of shared prayer points on social media websites in Nigeria.
“I started Cybernator Solutions out of my passion for writing computer code. I learnt to code for the fun of building things and never made any money from it until I built a one page website for an educational consultancy. This led to more freelance jobs and eventually the urge to start my own company.
The inspiration for PrayerBox came from understanding Nigeria as a very religious country and seeing the increasing trend of people sharing prayer points on social media sites. This made me realise the potential of building an online platform dedicated to religion and giving churches a more personalised way of connecting with their audiences and congregation.
I had also missed church due to late night programming, and this also made me vow to build something that will keep me closer to my religious community irrespective of my location”.
Founded in 2008, Cybernator Solutions develops websites, software applications, and designs ranging from graphics to logos. The company, which was run out of his dorm room, got 10 clients within the first month of operation. Over the course of Cybernator Solution’s existence, they have worked on projects such as the now defunct Waaazap (a social networking website), Passjamb (an exam preparatory platform) and a host of web, mobile and software projects for individuals and companies. Most recently they developed the website for the governor elect of Lagos state [Akinwunmi Ambode].
On one thing he wish he knew about entrepreneurship before he got started, Oyekan revealed: “I wish I knew it was harder than just programming. I wish I knew this was harder than a game of chess against Kasparov [a world champion]. Entrepreneurship is harder than building products. It’s about building a company, managing people, generating revenue and learning to stay motivated when things get hard”.
In 5 years, the software programmer sees PrayerBox having over five million active users, as it targets over a million active users and signing up over 500 churches on the platform at the end of 2015.