It is not every year that one sees a strictly online news platform bring together key stakeholders in a niche industry. To make that happen, that platform would have been identified as a force and a voice for players in that segment of the economy. On Saturday, 27 January, Techpoint.ng, a digital-based technology news media outfit, showed just how far it has impacted the industry since inception.
The company which was established in 2015 pulled one of the largest crowds of tech startup owners, investors, funders, industry watchers, and tech enthusiasts in Nigeria to discuss the major trends, challenges and milestones in the industry.
Techpoint Build highlighted the many achievements of the Nigerian technology scenery and the much potential that are yet to be tapped. It also showcased the passion and commitment of the people behind most of the remarkable innovations and world-acclaimed ideas that the industry projects and why – among many segments of the Nigerian economy – it has become the toast of many foreign investors.
There were various informative sessions and many anecdotes for building successful tech start-ups in Nigeria and raising funds as a business, shared by the different facilitators comprising of tech founders, VCs owners, investors and professionals. We have however, selected three takeaways from the different segments of the events.
Value proposition is critical
The importance of creating value laced many of the messages passed on by some of the founders and investors.
Shola Akinlade, co-founder of Paystack, a fintech company in Nigeria said start-ups that want to succeed should a clear vision of where they are in order to figure out the next step to take.
“Start small, get a great team and make sure that there is a market that is willing to buy your product,” says Onyeka Akumah CEO of agritech firm Farm Crowdy.
Simeone Ononobi, founder of Thank U Rewards and Simple Pay, observed that many startup owners are keen on raising money without outlining ways to give value to investors.
Value also goes beyond the product, it also relates to business partnership decisions.
“Start-ups need to look for partnerships that make sense and will create value for all parties involved. Leverage on your skills, conquer your environment and scale from there,” Ononobi said.
Investors do not invest in ideas
Ideas are important and could get the attention of potential investors, but there was some consensus among many speakers, that good ideas on themselves do not mean a startup is going to succeed.
Martin Karanja, Senior Market Engagement Manager, GSMA, said ideas need to be developed to attract investment.
A combination of factors ensures that investors release their funds. One of them is the ability to interpret data according to Bayo Adekanmbi, Chief Marketing Officer, MTN Nigeria. Startup owners must know their everyday numbers including the clicks and interactions, the fundamental data that apply to their businesses.
At the stage of securing the funding, Akinlade of Paystack said it is important to go for investment with no complexities and are clearly stated for every party.
“If you need a lawyer to understand their proposal, I would ignore,” Akinlade said.
Commitment to business
Akumah of FarmCrowdy recalled that his organisation went through 98 pitching meetings before getting investors to commit their funds.
“You have to do the work,” he said.
When investors say no to a business, it does not necessarily mean they are rejecting the idea behind the business. It is therefore important to find out why a potential investor does not want to invest and use that to develop the business for the next time, he noted.
The Techpoint Build event ended on a high, especially for Placements.ng, a platform that allows job seekers find paid internship opportunities in Nigeria. The start-up emerged the overall winner of the 2018 Techpoint Build Pitch Storm competition. The victory came with a N1 million cash prize and an opportunity to get business exposure and possibly investments too.