Kayode Adegbola, the director of government and regulatory affairs at Gokada, has ended his six months stint with the bike-hailing startup to start his venture, Golborne Road Advisory.

Golborne Road Advisory (GRA) is an advisory company that helps its clientele, including blue chip organisations and tech startups to navigate the murky regulatory landscape in Nigeria. Its services include stakeholder mapping and management, strategic communication, opposition research, partnerships, procurement advisory, policy formation, and grassroots engagement and surveys.

In simple terms, GRA wants to save its clientele "a lot of time in dealing with regulatory issues, allowing them to focus on innovating".

In the meantime, Mr Kayode, now Lead Advisor at GRA, is vacaying and putting in place systems and processes for his new venture.

Update: On November 21, Venture Platform Fund announced a new partnership with GRA. Venture Platform is an early-stage investor that has invested in over 20 Nigerian startups across different sectors, including healthcare, financial services, agriculture, education and big data. Notable among its portfolio companies are Printivo, Paystack, Tizeti, RelianceHMO, Trove, Piggyvest, Mines and ThriveAgric.

What you need to know about Kayode Adegbola

Prior to joining Gokada, Kayode Adegbola served as the Executive Assistant to the former CEO of the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), Akintunde Oyebode, who is now the Special Adviser on Investment and Innovation to Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti state.

After more than three years of working the LSETF, Kayode joined Gokada in May 2019 as Director of Government and Regulatory Affairs. As a trained lawyer and former government official, Kayode was appointed to serve like a liaison between the state government and Gokada, and engender fair regulation for the bike-hailing startup.

Recall that sometime in July 2019, there were reports that the Lagos State government was considering a ₦25 million licence for the slew of bike-hailing startups in the state. But nothing has been heard of the counterproductive plan since then. Perhaps, because, the government has seen reasons to collaborate with mobility startups operating in the state.

During his six months tenure at Gokada, Mr Kayode did move the needle on the relationship between the bike-hailing startup and the state government. So much so that Gokada management paid Governor Jide Sanwoolu a courtesy visit, and donated 30 security motorcycles and 60 DOT-certified helmets to the Lagos State Security Trust Fund.

Mr Kayode also orchestrated a partnership with the Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency (LASPARK) to plant 10,000 trees by the end of 2019, and 100,000 trees over the next five years. Dubbed the largest tree-planting initiative by a private sector player in Nigeria, the partnership is an effort towards making Lagos state a greener and more livable city.

Why did Kayode Adegbola leave Gokada?

My time at Gokada ended recently.

Kayode Adegbola, Lead Advisor at GRA

Mr Kayode did not state what brought his time at Gokada to an end, but there are some permutations. First, it could be that Gokada considers the dust to have settled, per the ₦25 million licence fee mulled by the state government and other harsh regulations. Hence, the strategic shift on core operations. Recently, Gokada hibernated for two weeks to retrain all its drivers, who are key to its success. Gokada 2.0 was launched on August 26, 2019.

Also, it could be Gokada's plan from the onset: to bring in a C-level executive to stabilize things with government and have him train and develop another talent, who will take over after him. A sort of temporal in-house consulting arrangement. An apposite case is Kayode Abass, who worked with Gokada for only 10 months (October 2018—July 2019) as a B2B (LinkedIn) Marketing Strategy Consultant and Head of Special Projects.

During his time as the Director of Government and Regulatory Affairs, Mr Kayode had a personal assistant, Shoaga Olarinre Solomon, who'd been a liaison officer and management trainee at the LSETF. Shoaga joined Gokada as a Government and Regulatory Affairs Officer in July 2019—two months after Mr Kayode was appointed as Director.

Lastly, it could be a case of Sir Jonathan "Jony" Paul Ive, who will be leaving Apple later this year as the Chief Design Officer to start his own design company, LoveFrom. But, Apple will still be one of the company's primary clients. So, Mr Kayode's GRA, too, might be servicing Gokada as a client. And with the "Road" in its name, it presupposes that Golborne Road Advisory clients will include mobility startups.

I reached out to Mr Kayode for comment, to set the facts straight, but he said, "I'm not making any comment".