“I am a failed microbiologist. Failed musician. I’m a failed author.” That is how Ayeni Adekunle, who is now a tech genius, describes himself. The tech founder has interests in public relations, advertising, media, Human capital management, IT and entertainment.
Ayeni is the founder of Black House Media (BHM) Group, a public relations and digital communications agency headquartered in Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria. The Nigerian entrepreneur has created the world’s first-ever all-in-one analytics and online talent marketplace platform, Plaqad.com.
The platform combines an online freelance marketplace with robust social media tracking analytics to help brands run end-to-end social and web campaigns, according to Techcabal.
“Plaqad, a contorted way of spelling the word ‘placard,’ is a protest against the norm, the traditional forms of communication that disenfranchise brands and people from effectively making their voices heard because of budget, location or size,” says Adekunle. “As the first marketing software company from Africa launching on a global stage, we understand and recognize the importance of being heard and seen, hence our mantra, ‘Make your voice heard’.”
Plaqad uses SocialCred, a free influencer and social media ranking tool it launched in June, to monitor and calculate influence on social media platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. It scientifically ranks social media credibility and also promotes transparency in influencer marketing, thereby reducing fraud. Plaqad comes at a time when influencer marketing is growing exponentially in the digital era. The market size is expected to hit $22.3 billion by 2024 from 5.5 billion in 2019.
Ayeni says his new platform will bring together the people, the tools, the products and resources required by businesses and individuals to run successful campaigns on a single platform, a feat rarely seen even in the developed world.
Ayeni, who comes from Ondo State, Nigeria, is a member of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations UK (CIPR). He obtained his Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) degree in Microbiology from the University of Ibadan in Oyo State. He started his career as a showbiz columnist at Encomium Weekly after a stint as a feature editor with Hip Hop World Magazine. He later joined ThisDay and The Punch as a columnist in 2008.
He founded BHM in 2006 for public relations services. The firm has since grown to have subsidiaries like ID Africa, Plaqad, Newsroom, 234Star, NET, Orin, NET Shop and EC. He is credited with creating an App for public relations experts.
The tech founder was described by Forbes Africa Magazine as “one of the pioneers who led Nigeria into the digital-first strategy era of Marketing Communications.” In 2017, he was named Nigeria’s PR Practitioner of the Year. His firm, Black House Media (BHM), also bagged two awards — Agency of the Year and Best Agency to Work — in 2017.
Also, one of his companies, ID Africa, emerged Best PR Agency for Use of New Media. In 2019, Ayeni was named Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Marketing (NIMN) in recognition of his contribution to the marketing profession.