Fopefoluwa Opeola-Davies is a trained architect, a creative designer, serial entrepreneur, co-founder and operations lead at lifemachines.ng. He is a Nigerian based PC-building & online computer component retailer.
He had his basic education in Ijebu-ode, Ogun-state and tertiary education at the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), where he bagged a Master of technology in Architecture.
Fope Davies is in his mid 20’s and hails from Ibadan, Oyo State. He loves to describe himself as a design technologist/tech-entrepreneur. He is very passionate about design and technology. He loves to add value to people and organizations through his creative abilities and also solve design problems with technology.
Prior to his entrepreneurship journey, he worked as a freelance architect and practiced at various design firms as a project architect, a 3D artist, and Product/furniture designer. He is also an experienced computational designer and project manager.
Fope Davies has always being enthusiastic about computers at a very young age. His Father wanted him to be a computer engineer but he ended up studying architecture.
Fope Davies loves tech, but that’s not why he started building personal computers (PCs) — he began because he studied architecture at the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA) in Ondo State.
As a student of the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA), Fope Davies was the go-to PC guy when people needed to make Computer purchases. His friends would tell him what they're into, and he will suggest what they needed, and he sourced and delivered.
In 2014, when Davies was studying architecture, only a few people in the class had laptops capable of handling class projects.
“So we’d have to queue to use people’s systems to do our work,” he said. “Just imagine how that would be when you have a deadline or a defence coming up in a few days.”
To solve this shortage problem, Davies started a side hustle in school importing personal computers (PCs).
According to him, 50% of what it took to get PCs into Nigeria came from clients, most of whom were architecture students-cum-part-time designers.
Having learnt how to repair laptops on YouTube, Davies also doubled as a repair man if the PCs developed faults.
Post-graduation, Davies worked as an architect but continued his laptop importation and repair business on the side, eventually founding LifeMachines PC Build — a company that builds custom PCs — in 2020.
Life Machines was launched in April 2018 to be a Nigerian based technology hardware retail store, that focuses and caters for the needs of digital creative professionals, who require high-end computing solutions to run power intensive applications and optimize their work-flow. They are fully committed to help design creatives maximize their creative strengths, enabling them with powerful hardware to create designs faster and more efficiently. They build, assemble and upgrade high-end computers, rigs, design-oriented workstations for sale and also serve as retailers for major brands such as HP, Dell, MSI etc. When we talk of digital creatives, they are basically creative individuals, design firms, including freelancers and designers in various sectors of the creative design industry.
Starting up back then as students, Fope Davies recalls that didn’t have enough capital to fund the business, and they weren’t exposed to business grants at that time, so they did rely on (CMF) customer funded model which basically means payment in advance. It was difficult to convince their colleagues to pay huge amount of money for computers they haven’t physically seen before. This was how they started to gradually build trust. Rome they say was not built in a day. This same strategy was what Bill Gates and Michael dell adopted to get their business up and running.
Lifemachines.ng was founded by two friends, Fope Davies and Olawunmi Adesina and they sold their first high-end computer during the final year of our postgraduate study.
Rise to stardom
Looking to get ahead as an architect, he interviewed for a job at Baron Architecture — a prominent architectural firm. However, he did not get the job.
Interestingly, three months after his interview, Baron Architecture found LifeMachines PC Build Lab’s Instagram page and reached out to buy some PCs. But Davies suggested they build them instead, and Baron Architecture agreed.
The firm he’d walked into looking for a job paid him ₦3 million ($4,054) — his biggest PC gig at the time — to supply PCs.
This deal signalled the end of Davies’ job hunt and employee status, as he quit his job to focus on running his business.
Essentially, PC building is just one of the services he offers. He also takes on the risk of sourcing PC parts.
Davies’ clients range from students to freelancers, gamers, animators, and corporate bodies such as design agencies, animation studios, and churches. Davies mentioned that he built PCs for two big Nigerian churches in 2022.
His clients have different needs when it comes to computing power. Some need a basic laptop, while others need high-performance laptops or desktops. For example, the churches he built PCs for needed high-performing desktops as they had robust media teams running power-hungry software.
Davies advises his clients on what to get based on their needs and budget. He recommends building customs PCs for clients that do work requiring much power. According to him, custom-built PCs are good because they have great specs and can be upgraded easily.
His clients are from West Africa, mainly Nigeria. Davies said his most significant competitors are Amazon and eBay, but he admits that he also has competitors in Nigeria who are not yet on his level.
In 2022, Davies and his team made ₦252 million ($340,540) selling custom PCs. It was their best year yet.
Davies’ custom-built PCs have a base price of ₦1.2 million ($1,621) and can go as high as ₦6 million ($8,000).
While he admits that building PCs with less than ₦1.2 million is possible, he argues that one would find a laptop that would do the job just as well.
The team builds at least four PCs a month, with some builds taking as much as five days, depending on the sophistication level.
For high-performance laptops, Davies’ minimum price is ₦550,000, and he sells an average of ten weekly.
“Sometimes, it is not a single purchase; it might be a bulk order. An office might request five or six at once.”
The same goes for custom builds. Davies recalls when one company requested eight custom-built high-performance PCs in 2022.
That was also the year they built their most expensive PC.
“It cost about $8,500 (₦6.29 million), and we did two for a design company. The owner of the company just called and was like, ‘Davies, I want the most powerful PC ever.’ So we needed to come up with a specification. Not the specification you would see in any place in Lagos. So we imported all the components and gave them a timeline.”
His other interests span around art, photography, football and travel. He has a strong desire to make impact in Africa through hardware development and also contribute in transforming Nigeria from a tech consumer nation to a technology manufacturing nation.
Having relocated to the UK to build connections and a robust supply chain, Davies has big plans for LifeMachines PC Build Labs. He’s even nursing the idea that an African Apple or Dell could emerge from their small lab in Ogba, Lagos.
 Techpoint Africa