Startup Journey, Nigerian style
If there is anything that is well known about me, it’s the fact that I have started several startups in my 11-year tech career and about 90% failed.
Why did they fail?
One key thing that is most paramount is the fact that, they were way ahead of their time, products without ready market, it was a very hard sell. From my first startup back in 2004, ogbaonline.com it was a directory for Nigerian businesses and I operated from a cybercafe mostly at night , sharing “office” space with weed-smoking “Yahoo” guys.
In the morning time, I would sell snacks on behalf of my sister then in the afternoon walk the street of Ogba, in Ikeja to source for businesses and their addressed on my “legedis benz” (walking without bike, or car), and writing the business information in a sheet of paper then transmit to the computer at night. Gracefully, I could code PHP, so I’d created forms and a small search engine to make it sync.
There was a business model but the business didn’t scale enough to attain product-market fit. I had hoped to sell advert to the listed business or charge them per listing. It didn’t fly! What happened after was consulting on web development for client, using that as a selling point.
It was risky because, once the cybercafe gets busted everyone would be charge with fraud because the police didn’t know jack about computer and all they knew about internet was that people made money illegitimate on it. So, if you could be found out at night, in cafe amongst weed-smoking young men, then you must be a culprit! Damn, I didn’t give a damn! I just wanted to build Nigerian Yahoo!
Series of things happened after, from one idea to the other, it was a roller-coaster being ahead of your market but not knowing.