All posts tagged development

Learning From Founders: Naija Style

I spend an unhealthy amount of my time reading about technology and startups; it’s no wonder that I am fascinated with the minds behind them – the founders. Startup founders, the successful and not so successful ones alike, intrigue me because I think it takes a special amount of crazy to go into technology anywhere in the world, most of all in Nigeria.

The problem for me was realizing that most of my reading materials were fragmented and almost non-existent with regards to local content on the Nigerian tech startup scene. I hadn’t even seen an aggregated source of founders’ stories till I got my hands on Founders at Work by Jessica Livingston. This collection of interviews with founders of famous technology companies is the inspiration for my founders’ series – Naija style.

Although Founders at Work gives insights into the early stages of some startups, I don’t think any of their founders, most of whom are based in the US, ever had to deal with NEPA or universities that didn’t have computers to teach their computer science students, among other challenges.

Granted, the startup trend in Nigeria is still relatively young, but there are a few founders worthy of note to learn from. What this series aims to do is tell the story of Nigerian startup founders in their own words – their journey to building and sustaining their technology companies in Nigeria. How did they get their ideas? How did they convince investors to back them? Are co-founders necessary? Did anything go wrong? How did they recover?

I realize that there are no hard and fast rules for building a startup and that what works for company A might not work for company B, but there are similar patterns, recurrent themes and universal truths that will help any aspiring startup founder. I am of the opinion that knowing what other founders did right (or wrong) will go a long way in teaching existing and new startup founders how to run and improve their businesses. “Learning from their experiences will save us from painful first hand lessons, both personally and financially.”

So, whether you are an existing or aspiring startup founder, or simply interested in hearing the stories of how Nigerian technology companies started, over the next few days, I will be putting up interviews on a not so regular basis of founders to learn from – not the stories their PR teams want us to hear, the down to earth stories that we can relate with.

P.S.: If you have any startup founder’s story you’d like to hear, send an email to tolu@bits.ng

Jason Njoku of iROKO Partners Joins The Nigerian Stock Exchange

Jason Njoku was yesterday confirmed as an official Growth Ambassador for the Alternative Securities market (ASeM), a specialised board for listing small and mid-sized companies with high growth potential and is part of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

Njoku, CEO and co-founder of iROKO Partners, started his business in 2010, streaming Nollywood movies for free. Today, with irokotv.com, his company is the world’s largest distributor of African movies online, with over one million unique visits each month, and he has since been voted as one of Forbes’ ‘Ten Young African Millionaires to Watch’.

He was nominated as a Growth Ambassador, thanks to his track record in building a successful, global Nigerian tech company and promoting business best-practice. At only 32 years-old, he is the youngest member of the Growth Ambassador programme for the ASeM and will be working with advisors to look at how Nigeria’s young, budding entrepreneurs, notably in the technology and Internet sphere, can access funding and mentorship from business veterans and investors.

On joining the ASeM Growth Ambassador programme, Jason Njoku says: “It is a huge honour to be recognized by the Nigerian Stock Exchange for my work within Nigeria’s business and technology sector and I Iook forward to starting an immediate dialogue on how we can collectively encourage and support the young Nigerian entrepreneurs of the future.

“Believe me, there are a lot of very smart young men and women out there who have awesome ideas and are desperate to start their own company, but too many fall at the first hurdle because they cannot access funding or navigate the bureaucracy of starting a business here.

“Today was about fostering the spirit of entrepreneurialism in Nigeria’s SME market and the coming months and years for both the ASeM and myself will be extremely interesting”.

The ASeM launch, held The Muson Centre in Lagos on Tuesday April 23, was attended by dignitaries from the Nigerian Stock Exchange, including CEO Oscar Onyema, as well as representatives of the Nigerian Government, official business organisations and business entrepreneurs. Jason Njoku was also joined by the distinguished Mrs. Florence Seriki, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Omatek ventures Plc as an official ASeM Growth Ambassador.

Qualcomm To Host Developers At April Edition Of Mobile Monday Nigeria

This event is geared towards Mobile Software Developers who develop for Android, iOS, Windows Phone and Blackberry who are interested in Developing Applications with Qualcomm APIs.

Only the first 100 Developers to register will be selected. And successful attendees will be notified a week to the date.

About This Event

The April 2013 Mobile Monday Nigeria Event showcasing Qualcomm Technology. Qualcomm is prepared to train software developers in Nigeria on various software API’s which enable rich mobile app experiences. Here are some of the APIs that Qualcomm has to offer:

1. Vuforia (Augmented Reality): enables developers to create Augmented Reality App experiences are best in class and creative beyond definition on Mobile devices running the Android and iOS operating systems, giving mobile apps the power to see.

2. Alljoyn (Peer to peer connectivity): to enable peer to peer connectivity within devices to create great multiplayer gaming experiences across multiple OS and device types with the ability to leverage different radios (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GSM) depending on availability.

3. 2net™ Platform from Qualcomm Life (Wireless Health): It offers a set of wireless health solutions that can elegantly and reliably capture and deliver medical device data to integrated portals or databases from nearly any customers’ or technology partners’ wireless medical device for storage in a system designed for security and interoperability.

4. Gimbal (Context Awareness): The Gimbal™ context aware platform for Android and iOS enables application providers to deliver more timely, personalized and relevant content to mobile audiences.

Note that only the Augmented Reality API will be covered in the training.

When and where is it?

The event holds on the 29th of You’ll be notified if you are selected to attend the event.

Why you would want to attend?

Get to meet the industry heavyweights in Mobile Tech: Professionals from Telcos, VAS providers, Software Development Companies, Device manufacturers will be at the event to network with people. Come over and meet potential customers, investors and collaborators.

Get to hear about the latest software APIs that Qualcomm has to offer and experience real world usage for yourself. Also you get to access training for these APIs through Mobile Monday Nigeria (Annual members only).

Please note: Due to space limitations, MoMoNigeria reserve the right to limit the number of attendees. Attending the event is free. Register early. If you will not be available to attend this event after registering, Kindly let the MoMoNigeriaa team know so that they can reserve the ticket for another person.

iDea Hub Set To Launch With Developer Session – April 19th

Information Technology Developers Entrepreneur Accelerator (iDEA) is a non-profit organization established to support the development of indigenous skills and capabilities in software development.

Its primary purpose is to accelerate the development of the software industry in Nigeria by nurturing and helping Nigerian software technology businesses. iDEA will help entrepreneurs build software skills, solutions and businesses critical to their success thereby creating wealth and employment opportunities. The iDea project is supported by Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA)

The Lagos centre is launching on 19th of April, 2013 with Developers session by Nokia, Microsoft, Google and Minister for ICT, Omobola Johnson with DG NITDA, Professor Ngaye.

Google Developers Session: 10am – 1pm (19th April)

Femi Taiwo, Google Developer Group manager is going to take ‘How to build an Android App with HTML5′ in one hour and a hands on session is going to be included.

Microsoft Developers Session: 9am – 1pm (20th April)

Microsoft Developer Session Windows 8 development by Akinwale Ariwodola

Nokia Developers Session: 2pm – 4pm (20th April)

Nokia’s support for Nigerian developers on their pathway to growth by Teemu Kijarvi Windows Phone 8 Development.

Venue:  iDEA Centre, 296 Herbert Macaulay Way, Sabo, Yaba, Lagos State.

You can also check how to apply for membership here

Social Media Marketing Strategy 101 For Nigerian E-Commerce Companies

The e-commerce buzz in Nigeria is in full swing, and with this evolving industry has come the need for full scale and effective online marketing initiatives to push the right products to the right customers via the right channels without spending your entire company budget. Developing such a strategy is just one of the reasons why there is an opportunity for yours truly, and many other online marketers, to make a living today. I’m going to share the basics that differentiate an effective campaign from the rest.

Before the entry of social media marketing into the traditional educational curriculum, as can be found in some schools in Nigeria today, understanding just what exactly ‘social mediamarketing’ really meant took a lot of reading, trying out different things in the dark, makingmany mistakes and eventually perfecting strategies as a result of recurring events. So, what have I learnt in this journey that will define a proper social media marketing strategy?

Social Media Marketing simply means driving users/customers/traction to your business in order to expose your brand/products to your target audience while generating revenue via existing social media websites, like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and several other similar platforms, using organic and paid ads.

My definition incorporates some key elements that many brand and marketing experts around the world usually miss; they are the Key-5s including brandaudienceplatforms,goals and optimization. These are very important points to note when employing a socialmedia marketer for your brand. At any point, if he/she doesn’t have the right ideas that will encompass and effectively define how each of these highlights will be achieved, then don’t hire the person or organization.

I currently work at Konga.com and we recently launched Konga Mall, a platform that will bring businesses online with the advantage of a storefront, warehousing, a payment gateway and delivery. Within one week of getting the buzz out around the Konga mall via social media, Konga Mall had already eclipsed the total number of malls that had signed up to its closest competition in Nigeria. How did we achieve this? We had to decide on the Key- 5s from the onset and this was our experience.

We have come to understand that success in social media marketing first starts by understanding your brand: knowing what you do, what your brand strengths are, what your brand weaknesses are, where you want to position your brand and what the overall timeline is to achieve the goals set for the brand. With this in mind, we understood we had an advantage over every other online mall with the number of fans we had built on all our social media channels. So, we played with our strengths, defining a strategy that was going to use our many fans to get the word out.

The next step would be to define your audience: what age group most defines who you are trying to attract, what particular level of education (primary, secondary, graduate level or post graduate level), what income range (low disposable income, medium income, and high disposable income) would define the people you are targeting for your products. At Konga mall, the focus was C-Level executives, business owners and generally entrepreneurs.

Once we were done defining our audience, we had to focus our resources/strategy on those platforms that attracted these individuals the most. I have seen brands that have missed this absolutely. One interesting campaign was targeting 65 year old Nigerians using a substantial amount of paid Facebook adverts and expecting results that never came. At the end of the day, they complained about the insignificant ROI for huge resources they had used up pushing their campaign when the real problem was the wrong channel/platform they chose in executing the campaign.

More so, you need to describe your goals for your Social Marketing Strategy. Breaking yourgoals into stages will be your KPI to understand at every point in time whether or not thecampaign is heading in the right direction. This is key in also presenting the success of your campaign or points to learn from to key decision makers of your business.

Finally, once all the top four keys are executed and you have started out with all yourstrategies, you will need to look at optimizing your campaign after a trend has beenestablished. Usually, I’ll say you can understand the first trend of events after two weeks of kick starting your campaign. However, a proper trend can be established at the end of six weeks after the campaign begins. Optimizing your campaign will help in spending wisely while looking at focusing more resources on parts of the campaign that show better ROI.

For any social media marketing expert that is willing to get the best for his/her efforts in growing any business online, you will need to do the following:

1.     Successfully understand your brand

2.     Define your audience

3.     Pick the right platform that focuses on your audience

4.     Strategize with a proper understanding of your KPIs/goals and

5.     Keep optimizing until the campaign ends

About the Author: Onyeka Akumah is currently the Vice-President of Marketing at Konga.com - Nigeria’s Onilne Megastore. He is also a top marketing expert in Nigeria who has an in-depth knowledge of executing effective online, mobile and traditional marketing campaigns with a strong flair for operative public relation strategies. He has worked in executive roles at three of the biggest e-commerce start-ups in Nigeria and a first-class graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Information Technology from India.

Nokia And Efiko Reward Secondary School Challenge Winners

Nokia Nigeria, in an hour meeting with the press, rewarded the winners of Efiko’s Secondary School challenge yesterday at the Co-Creation Hub. The challenge ran for a month and 16 students have emerged winners – 6 from Lagos State and 9 from other states of Nigeria.

Efiko app has been helping students with their studies since the launch of the app and according to Fanimehin Tomilola Adenike, a student from Surulere Secondary School, “My friend introduced Efiko to me. I checked it out with the intention of not using it further, but things changed when I scored 70% in my first attempt. I was kept attempting till I got 100%.

Efiko also helped me in preparing for our recently concluded exam as I came across many questions which I had passed on Efiko in my exams.” - Tomilola, one of the student that took part in the challenge, said.

Teemu Kiijarvi, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Nokia West Africa explains partnership with Efiko as a tool to support education system and local developers. Adetunji Eleso, Business Advisory and Research Lead, Co-Creation Hub, also explained the positive impacts Nokia partnership is having on the app.

Adebayo Adebayo, Co-Founder and Team lead for Efiko explained their partnership with education expertise to deliver the quiz platform and they are happy to see students enjoying the platform.

Lagos Winners
  • Yahaya Sordeek, Surulere Secondary School, Lagos
  • Umoh Stephen, Surulere Secondary School, Lagos
  • Yusuph Tunday, Birrel Avenue Senior High School, Lagos
  • Fanimehin Tomilola Adenike, Surulere Secondary School, Lagos
  • Fafunmi John, Birrel Avenue Senior High School, Lagos
  • Adams Hakeem Ojo, Gbaja Boys Senior High School, Lagos
About Efiko

EFIKO is a mobile social quiz platform designed to enhance learning through self-assessment with topical quizzes tied to the National School Curriculum. EFIKO is available on multiple platforms such as Android, Nokia S40 and mobile web for other mobile devices and is available for download from the Samsung Apps and Google Play stores. For more information, visit efiko.com.ng

UNILAG To Host Sir Ken Robinson, Omojuwa, And Deron At TEDxYaba

TEDx, independently organised TED programs where great minds from different industries gather to share ideas, is back in Lagos. There has been TEDxIkoyi, TEDxVictoriaIsland and now, there is TEDxYaba.

TEDxYaba strives to re-create the unique experience found at TED, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers congregate to share what they are most passionate about. The fundamental goal of TED and TEDxYaba is to spread ideas and advance the discourse on innovation and creativity.

They aim to provide a platform where the smartest thinkers, greatest visionaries and most fascinating teachers will not only inspire others, but also be filled with a similar sense of wonder and urgency to shape the future.

The event will have high profile speakers including:

Sir Ken Robinson, a creativity expert who challenges the way we educate children. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence.

Prof. Olumide Olusanya, one of Nigeria’s finest architects and a mass housing evangelist. A lecturer at the University of Lagos, he has spent many years researching and developing mass housing schemes.

Aderemi Adewunmi, aka Deron, is the lead singer in the group, DOS (Definition of Sound). He is also a music producer and has worked with the likes of Sasha P and Black Magic. A graduate of Mass Communication from University of Lagos, he is currently studying Media Management at Lagos Business School.

Japheth Omojuwa is a Nigerian entrepreneur, writer, blogger, and socio-economic and political commentator. He started www.omojuwa.com in February 2009 and it has since grown to be a force in the Nigerian web space

Event details

Date: Sunday, 31st March, 2013
Venue: Afe Babalola Auditorium, University of Lagos, Akoka.

To register, go here.

Botswana: Orange To Bring Opera Mini Experience To Subscribers

Orange in Botswana and Opera Software are set to provide the Opera Mini web browser to Orange’s more than 1 million mobile customers in the country, giving faster and less expensive web access through cellphones and tablets.

Like most African countries, most people in Botswana do not have access to fixed-line internet, so a mobile device will be their first, and often only, way to access the internet. Yet, Botswana love the web and their current favorite mobile sites which are Facebook, Google, YouTube, Yahoo!, Wikipedia, Waptrick, Twitter, Blogger, BBC News, Dictionary.com and Answers.com.

Orange, which is committed to providing web access everywhere in the country, and Opera will provide a co-branded version of Opera Mini. Orange customers will also be able to access a range of Orange portals, with a single click on Opera Mini’s Speed Dial, found on the browser home page.

Opera Mini is one of the browsers made by Norwegian company, Opera Software. Opera Mini works on more than 3,000 devices and compresses data by up to 90% before it reaches consumers, giving users a fast and powerful mobile web experience.

The compression ability offered by Opera Mini means we can make far better use of our existing infrastructure while, at the same time, offering a lower cost and far quicker web access to our mobile subscribers,” says Lebogang Moruti, Offers and Services Manager for Marketing at Orange Botswana. “We anticipate our launch of the co-branded Opera Mini will be met with high demand by our customers.”

“Our offering is strong, particularly on basic phones in Botswana. We have worked hard as a company to provide a very smart mobile web experience even on old handsets,” says Lars Boilesen, CEO of Opera Software. “We have already seen strong growth in Botswana over the years, and this new relationship with Orange will see that develop even further.”

Orange Botswana is the second Orange operation in Africa to have chosen Opera Mini, and follows Orange Ivory Coast.

About Orange Botswana

Orange Botswana is a leading mobile operator and provider of telecommunication services in Botswana serving more than 1 million customers countrywide on a GSM/GPRS/EDGE/3G+ and Wimax network.
For more information visit: orange.co.bw

About Opera Software ASA

The worldwide World Wide Web — any device, any platform, any bandwidth, absolutely anywhere in the world. Opera Software was founded in 1994, based on the idea that access to the web should be a universal right. 300 million people (and counting) use the Opera web browsers for computers, mobile phones, TVs and other connected devices. Learn more about Opera at opera.com

Audax Wants To Teach You The Basics of Linux

Audax, an IT consulting company offering products and services across social, cloud and mobile platforms, will be continuing the Audax Lecture Series (ALS). The Audax Lecture Series are practical IT related events that hold fortnightly and cover a broad range of technology trends and platforms relevant to Nigeria.

As a follow up to Series 01 which was about Drupal platform, Series 02 is a free one day training on Linux OS in conjunction with Linux Professional Institute.

The event will cover introduction to and usage of Linux OS, information on Linux Professional Institute certification, and career path and opportunities available, among other things. There will also be a networking session and towards the end, the next Audax Lecture Series will be introduced.

Organizations across various sectors are encouraged to nominate participants to register and attend this sponsored event.

Time: 9.00am – 3.00pm
Date: Wednesday, 27th of March, 2013
Venue: Audax Solutions, Plot 24, Block 113, Adebisi Ogunniyi Crescent, Ikate (3rd) Roundabout, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos.

For more information on the event and how to register, go here - http://audax-linux.eventbrite.com/

About Linux Professional Institute (LPI)

LPI is recognized worldwide as the premier organization advocating and assisting in the professional use of Linux, Open Source, and Free Software, bringing together an active and committed community of companies, IT professionals, training organizations and volunteers to achieve LPI’s programs. More on LPI.

VC4Africa Celebrates Community Milestones, Launches New Website

Venture Capital for Africa is the continent’s leading founder’s network, the largest and fastest growing community of  entrepreneurs and investors building promising companies in Africa, and has been doing well to build a robust ecosystem and support network for Africa’s most promising entrepreneurs.

A place where people can come together to share ideas and learn from one another’s experiences. A place where we can celebrate our successes and work together to tackle the challenges we face moving forward, VC4Africa has now crossed some milestones worth celebrating:

Some new milestones for our community
  • first 1,000,000 page views served
  • we are now 10,000 members strong and growing
  • 1,000 ventures registered and counting
Here is a brief timeline of events since conception:
  • November 2006 – A conversation at the AVCA meeting in Senegal
  • June 2008 – Opened the African Venture Capital and Private Equity group on Linkedin
  • May 2009 – Launched the Ning platform
  • June 2009 – First meetup was hosted in Kampala, Uganda
  • November 2010 – Soft launched the VC4Africa.biz community platform
  • September 2011 – Said goodbye to VC4Africa.com
  • January 2012 – First deal closed
  • May 2012 – Launched the VC4A Investor Network
  • September 2012 – Launch of the beta mentorship program
  • February 2013 – New homepage and site upgrade

… and there is so much more to come

Join in the celebration of these milestone

VC4Africa is a project that has grown organically over time and because a collection of people wanted to address a real need. The simple idea that by combining our network, knowledge and capital we could do more to support the continent’s most promising entrepreneurs. Building on the idea that we are only as strong as our ability to work together. Leave a comment, and tell us why the community inspires you!

Source: vc4afri.ca