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 firstname.lastname@example.org