‘My teenage years in Nigeria defined the man I am today’
Born in Nigeria, Ikenna Ordor moved to the UK at the formative years of 14.
After successfully completing his studies in Business and management at Birmingham City University, he went on to further study International Business management at The London Metropolitan University.
He is also certified in portfolio, programme and project offices under the Axelos programme.
However, it was his time at University in the City of Birmingham that introduced him to the night life and hospitality industry, where he turned his passion for luxury entertainment into profit – having worked as a nightlife promoter for some of the Country’s elite night clubs, hosting A-listers such as Drake, Alicia Keys, Rihanna, Trey Songz, P-Diddy and many along the way.
He credits his business acumen to his Nigerian parents who he says taught him the value of money from a very young age.
In 2016, he founded Starr Luxury Cars, a privately owned UK luxury car hire company with the vision of building an automated luxury platform, which houses the largest fleet of luxury vehicles globally.
Over the years, he has led the company to become the ultimate luxury car concierge, sourcing and providing vehicles for some of the world’s most recognised brands including Nike, Chelsea FC and Ubisoft.
Operating an asset light model, Ordor is at the driving seat of revolutionising the industry with his business model, the first of its kind in the automotive industry.
In this interview with The Guardian, he spoke on his life as an entrepreneur and his innovative venture.
Who is Ikenna Ordor?
Ikenna Ordor is focused entrepreneur, family man and a bon vivant to the fullest; extremely ambitious, driven by success and not only financial success.
I’m a firm believer of the popular saying ‘health is wealth’.
How was your experience growing up in Nigeria?
My early years was education focused, ensuring that I maintained the top three position in my class, an achievement, which saw me attend Olashore International School; one of the best schools in Nigeria at the time.
My teenage years really laid the foundation and defined the man I am today.
Watching my mother juggle several businesses, which included buying multiple properties in the UK, while simultaneously shipping container loads of electronic goods and clothing to Nigeria, sowed the seed of entrepreneurship.
I’m very passionate about great hospitality and luxury cars, and I’m very glad that my entrepreneurial journey has led to working on my passion daily; it never feels like work.
Tell us how your journey started as an Entrepreneur?
I was a true hustler; I never started with a business proposal nor did I go fishing out venture capitalist to make my business ideas come alive.
I have always built my business endeavors from the ground up.
I would say my journey started from as young as 16 years old, when I bought my first car.
To raise the money, I sourced discounted products, which I sold to my friends and family.
I mean, anything from clothing to mobile phones; I was making a good 25 per cent profit on every item sold.
It still took me a while to save up for my car; during the course of year, I felt like I was running an empire.
I had ideas; I thought what if I could sell every product in the world and multiply profits exponentially.
As young as 16, I was thinking of how to create my own Amazon. I still admire the young entrepreneur that I was.
How did the idea for Starr Luxury Cars come about?
I carefully watch and study the global markets and I am convinced the future is digital; the most successful businesses in recent times are platforms that operate asset light models combined with smart technology, the likes of Uber, Deliveroo, Jet-Smarter or Airbnb.
Who would have thought that you could order a Jet on your phone by a tap? Well it’s now possible via Jet-Smarter; Jets and luxury cars go hand in hand.
So, why not a global interface for luxury car service providers, which gives the consumer direct access to the very best service and selection of prestige Chauffeurs and supercars available for hire within the luxury automotive sector?
With my extensive experience in luxury hospitality, knowledge of luxury cars and logistics of ground travel transportation, I have spear headed the conception and progress of Starr Luxury Cars.
Every action in the world is becoming easier by tech; it’s easier to book a nice apartment in a foreign city or order very nice food delivered to the comfort of your home.
The idea of Starr Luxury Car is to do the same; give our clients unlimited access to a plethora of luxury vehicles and supercars in major cities around the world.
Starr Luxury Cars boasts the largest fleet of luxury cars in the UK; can you tell us more about this?
I’m very proud of our fleet, extremely proud. There isn’t a chauffeur or supercar hire company out there that can promise to deliver on every requested vehicle.
From parking a James Bond Style Defender Spectre on a three story roof for a client’s campaign shoot to delivering a pink supercar to 16-year-old birthday party, we make it happen for our clients; think of us as the ultimate car concierge.
Some of the vehicles on our fleet are exclusive to us. We have some fantastic cars in our fleet, ranging from the Bugatti, La Ferrari, Pagani and even Batman’s bespoke car, last but not least Shelby Gt500 from the movie, gone in sixty seconds
We are not just all about the outrageous and pricey vehicles.
Our chauffeur vehicles include the Mercedes S-Class, Bentley Mulsanne and Rolls Royce, which are all very popular choices for airport transfers, business meetings and corporate events.
Car hire’s account for 65 per cent of our revenue currently, so, we have to maintain the very latest models on our fleet.
The latest Rolls Royce Phantom VIII recently arrived and the Lamborghini Urus, Ferrari Portofino, GTC4Lusso, 488 pista are some of the very exciting models we are looking forward to listing this year.
Surely a business such as this must be capital intensive, do you have any investors?
Yes, the business is capital heavy, but asset light; I initially funded the business solely though my personal funds.
That was the extent of belief I had in this business.
However, we are now in the process of raising seed capital, after two years of successful operations and proof of concept.
This would enable us open up more of our operations and acquire more clients, raising the sales, profile and activity of the company.
We already have two early stage investors that are committed to the company.
You provide a bespoke service for business travelers, could you share that with us?
Time is money; for our business travelers, we have preferred access/expedited immigration clearance and check-ins at Heathrow Airport.
Doorstep to Tarmac is super popular making seamless travel a reality; we partner with the very best concierge companies in the UK.
When you have an account with us or you are using our services for the duration of your trip, you can call us anytime and a member of our team will be happy to source last minute reservations to fully booked restaurants, VIP passes to premium events in the City.
Not only for business travelers, a lot of our vehicles are hired on special occasions. We’ve worked on some great projects; from hiring a helicopter for a special project to coordinating a James Bond boat cruise down the River Thames after a wedding proposal; we have set a benchmark for excellence in service.
Do you have measures in place to ensure consumer satisfaction?
We are not in the business of cars, I tell my team all the time; we are in the business of experiences.
We treat every client like royalty. Once you get aboard a Starr luxury vehicle, beyond the aesthetics of the car, service is next up on our priority list.
Our client’s satisfaction is extremely key; repeat business and recommendations with great reviews is paramount to the success of our business.
A chauffeur is very privy to sensitive and personal information, all our chauffeurs are well trained in privacy policies and maintaining the trust of all our clients.
Discretion is high up on the list of our core values; we want all our clients to feel utmost level of comfort when conducting business or personal dealings within the comfort of their very own Starr luxury Car.
Do you have any rules that you live by in business?
Yes, a few rules, integrity and transparency.
Beyond the contracts and paperwork, I like to know that I can trust my business partners or associates.
Transparency leads to an open script and better understanding, expectations of deliverables.
Experience has taught me to budget wisely;, advance planning is key in any business.
Never give up, I am sure to stay resilient in my approach to achieving goals.
I take calculated risks, always go bold than cautious, the worst that can happen is failure which to me is an opportunity to stand up and fight again and a lesson learned. Either way, the final outcome will always be positive.
Do you think the Nigerian market is ready for this line of business and are you ready to replicate such back home?
Nigeria is very close to my heart; I can’t imagine operating a global business without having the motherland in the mix.
A booming wedding industry is very welcoming for our premium chauffeur option with Rolls Royce Phantom hires being a popular choice for weddings.
Nigerians love their cars; I can see a car club being the perfect offering to the Market.
A club of 20 cars, ranging from Aston Martin’s to Lamborghini’s exclusively available to our members.
Our members will get to experience these vehicles without having to deal with the annual maintenance or initial purchasing costs.
In addition, our members go from owning two cars to a choice of 20+ vehicles to drive whenever they please.
This is all in the pipeline for this market.
What can we expect from you and Starr Luxury Cars in the future?
Starr luxury Cars is set to become a dynamic player in the luxury automotive hire market.
From changes to electric powered engines to alternative power vehicles, we want to stay ahead.
Our ability to offer the latest models and sort after vehicles for our clients has worked in our favour and we want to keep building on this.
Through a heavily powered digital future, we want to make Automated Luxury a norm.
Wake up with a Ferrari in your driveway, or within two clicks order a Rolls Royce for dinner.