A freak strike sparked the interest of two university undergraduates of Lagos State University (LASU) back then. That peculiar turn of event that was to change their lives laid the foundation for Taiwo and Kehinde Adeboye, the twins that founded Kingston Technologies, a technology retail business with deep roots in Computer Village.
Story by Kolade Akinola
Photography by Aduragbemi Akinpelu
or Taiwo and Kehinde Adeboye, the co-founders of Kingston Technologies, they have mixed feelings when they recollect their undergraduates years at the Lagos State University.
A prolonged strike back then was to propel them towards the world of technology entrepreneurship and they have reason to be thankful today for the chain of events that was to lead to the formation of their technology business.
The Kingston Twins, as they are popularly known in Computer Village grew up in the very heart of Ikeja and have seen the market cluster evolve into a technology hub and business melting point.
Kingston Technologies, the top flight technology business they have built from no capital has grown beyond the market and they are today catering for the needs of clients in the government, banking, telecoms and several other customers that have come to trust them to deliver across Lagos metropolis and beyond the economic capital of Nigeria.
When they sat down to share their story with Komputer Village Magazine this afternoon, it was a thankful Taiwo and Kehinde, who can today see that extended strike action of LASU as a blessing in disguise as it was to shape the course of their lives.
For the twins who jointly run the technology business, and not surprisingly do most things in common, they are now proud IT entrepreneurs, part of the key players to watch in Nigeria’s biggest technology market.
The twin brothers, graduates of Physics says the passion and enthusiasm to venture into IT business all started when their uncle who import IT products from Germany introduced them to selling computer components like hard drives and floppy disks, while waiting for their school to call off the prolonged strike.
”It all started when we were in the university. There was a strike in Lagos State University for about two years. Then one of our uncle in Germany who brings in computer, came one day and he told us, ‘look you guys have been sitting at home, let me introduce you to a business that would make you people go to work”, Taiwo, one of the ‘Kingston Brothers’ told Komputer Village Magazine at their corporate headquarters in Lagos.
The Adeboye twin brothers recollect that the business experience was so exciting and fun that they made up their minds not to look for white collar jobs after graduating from LASU where they completed their university education.
Computer components were hot-selling back then in an era of thriving business in cloned computers where buyers picked various parts to build their systems customised often to their specifications and budgets.
”So we started going to his office. He started telling us what a particular product is, what it’s meant for, the hard drive, floppy disk. At that time memory was about 56 kilobytes, not even megabytes. You know at that time, we started gradually then we picked up interest.”
He recalls that their foray into the business started with getting customers in Computer Village. ”We give it to retailers in Computer Village on credit. So after a week, we go back to them. Whenever they have sold, they give it (money) to us.”
The twin brothers recollect that the business experience was so exciting and fun that they made up their minds not to look for white collar jobs after graduating from LASU where they completed their university education.
”We developed interest right from University and we knew this is what we wanted to do. Most of my schoolmates, when we graduated, all of them went to Port Harcourt, some to Lagos State Secretariat but we decided that, look this is what we wanted to do. Then there was no money but we engage ourselves in doing it. At that time Computer Village was just a small hub that a few people sell computers”, Kehinde recalls.
”My uncle imports computers. So we got to meet most of them, IT World, Wiztech, all the big companies then. We meet them by selling to them. Then, we used to sell memories. So the interest was there that this is what we want to do because we knew that technology is going to take over everything.”
They have successfully navigated the world of entrepreneurship and the two brothers have successfully managed the business thus far without conflict or any attempt to go separate ways because as they told Komputer Village Magazine, their guiding principle that “first and foremost, what should you should put in mind is the fear of God.”
According to Kehinde, “I can tell you I can leave the office for a whole year and he will successfully run the business and we will not have a fight over things. We understand each other. I take decisions that sometimes loses money, sometimes it brings a lot of money.”
Kehinde has this to say about his twin brother: ”I have been in the UK for like two three years, and you won’t believe it, he was paying my salary. I was in the UK with my wife and he was paying my salary. I got engaged in other businesses where I probably source for products in UK. I will tell him, Taiwo, I have seen some products in the UK and this will sell, he will send money to me and I will go and buy. I will ship them to Lagos, he sells, send the money back to me, and apart from that we are very close. Let me just be honest, we are very close that even our wives gets jealous of it.”
Taiwo and Kehinde Adeboye got married the same day and the bond between the twins have also helped to shape their success in business and in several other areas.
”There is no day we won’t talk. Even when I was in the UK, there is no day we won’t talk. We went to same school, primary school, secondary school, we were in same class. You know we did West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) together up to the University. We were in the same class in the University too and we even graduated with same grade. So I will say it is a divine thing, and the way our parents have brought us up. We don’t feel jealous of each other”, Kehinde says about they mutual bond between the two that has helped them to manage business success.
A reflective Kehinde tells us that, ”we respect each other. You know that whatever decision he takes, I always stand by him and all that. So it is just the fear of God. You need to really believe in God and have that fear that look whatever you do, if he doesn’t see you, the Almighty God is seeing you. So you have to be open, and because of our openness and all that, that is what has kept us going.”