Nigeria’s technology start-ups are expanding aggressively to position themselves for stronger global market share, BusinessDay findings show.
irokotv and ibakaTV are two web platforms that provide paid-for Nigerian films on-demand. iBakaTV started in 2011 with N1 million and a few subscribers but has attracted investors who pumped millions of dollars into the business. The platform sells online Nollywood movies to Africans in the Diaspora who pay in dollars and it now boasts of one billion views on both YouTube and its own platform.
“What we did was to enter into agreements in terms of acquisition and licensing of films. We buy most movies from them on individual basis, depending on the quality of the movie and how trending it is,” Blessed Ilukor Idornigie, chief executive officer of IbakaTV, told BusinessDay.
“But what will make the Nigerian market more reliable is data. Data is still expensive and unreliable. We are coming up with a strategy which is offline streaming,” Idornigie said.
Gamsole, a mobile gaming company, started operations in 2012. Within six months of existence, it attracted three million admirers. Today, it has a venture backing from 88mph, which is a Kenyan seed fund, and has ten million downloads both locally and internationally, on the Windows Phone store.
“At Gamsole , we create interesting games for smartphones and make them available to users worldwide. Our goal is to make games that are fun to play, plain and simple. Each game offers a wildly imaginative and irresistibly fun game-play experience that gamers of all age groups find appealing, “Abiola Olaniran, CEO of the online gaming company, told BusinessDay in an interview.
Tech start-ups are redefining Nigeria’s education system, moving learning from analogue to digital. The number of subscribers are rapidly expanding, on the back of a huge population of under-25 year old Nigerians, which make up half of the country’s 183 million people.
Tuteria, EduRecords, Prepclass and Tutor.ng are some of the newly established platforms that connect teachers to students and track performances of students.
Slatecube, founded by the 23-year-old Chris Kwokwe, who turned down Microsoft job for his start-up, helps job seekers develop industry-relevant skills, gain work experience, and land well-paying jobs via online.
Slatecube runs a three-tiered programme in which users complete courses in their selected disciplines, after which they are assigned virtual internships, which allow them to work remotely for big tech companies. If the big firms are satisfied with the users, they employ them. Records show 80 per cent success in achieving people’s employment dream, including global jobs.
Yudala, managed by the 24-year-old Nnamdi Ekeh, son of Zinox Technologies chief Leo Stan Ekeh, rode on the experiences of Jumia and Konga, Nigeria’s online shops. Founded in 2015, Yudala today makes N200 million worth of sales every day.
Femi Kuti, a doctor and an investment banker, launched Kangpe in July 2015 to connect patients with verified doctors through SMS, mobile app and web. Two years after, the start-up has extended from Nigeria to Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda and is on the verge of hitting French-speaking African countries.
“With the right policy environment and provision of the need infrastructure, Nigerian entrepreneurs are quite resourceful and diligent to fully contribute to the recovery and growth of the economy,” Nike Akande, president of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said on the World MSME Day held in Lagos on Wednesday.
Analysts say Nigerian start-ups need a stable policy environment, easy access to cheap funds, proper bankable business plans, competitive marketing strategy and standard accounting system to compete favourably in the global market.
“When will the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) begin to give loans? When are we going to start applying for loans? Nobody seems to be saying anything. I understand that the government has appointed a managing director but nobody is talking,” Segun Kuti-George, chairman, Nigerian Association of Small-Scale Industrialists (NASSI), Lagos State Chapter.
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