technology

Y Naija’s Nigeria’s 100 Most Inspiring Women – #YWomen10

LittleIMG_0028Little old me Made the list alongside some super duper faint if i was in the same room as them awesome women, check out here. Here is what they said.

Oyindamola Honey Ogundeyi: Driven by the desire to impact lives, she is the founder of e-commerce platform, Fashpa. She’s all about building a sustainable online retail businesses and is also convinced women are essential to the “Africa Rising” narrative.

 

Thank you Ynaija!

 

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Fund Raising for your Startup in Nigeria ( Part1)

Raising Funding

Shout out s’awon goons
awon eruku mi
awon loni kin ma para toni keeping cool mi

~ Olamide, Awon Goons Mi~

So you have built an amazing startup, you have survived on garri and epa or cereal  or indomie ( insert austerity food of choice here) , you have a small team, you have brought a new meaning to the word bootstrapped, BUT you are seeing growth, you are earning revenues, you have customers who love your product, if you are super ambitious you have built a brand and are killing things online in your sector in Nigeria. But now you need to grow, you need money, so you create a killer investment pack, and off you go to the jungle that is “Nigerian FundRaising Scene”!

So whats it like trying to raise as a Nigerian Startup in 2015?!

First of all, things have changed since 2008-2010 which when I hear of the deals then, essentially there was a lot of “shafting”going on. However maybe “shafting” is not fair term. Some people made money, some people gave up significant percentage of their company for what some may consider little amounts. However there were winners and losers, such is life!

In 2010, something great happened though, Tiger Global ( Huge VC based in NY) and invested some of the very early startups, great news they essentially created the very first solidly financed tech companies in Nigeria.

Then they LEFT.

They have not been back since.

Apparently everyone is too small.

Class of 2012: Made notably included Konga and Jumia those guys are different from class of 2010 because they raised before they even started , funded by Rocket, Kinnevik. They started with a pile of cash. Do not compare yourself to those guys if like class of 2010 you are bootstrapped.

 

Then theres class of 2013 and 2014. well theres a lot of us in the class, but then there are  guys who are the top of that class. How can you spot a class leader?. They are probably allready category leaders, so Fashpa today is a leader in Online Fashion category, they are are past idea stage, they have a concept that works, traction, growth stage ventures, they probably have a CV which looks investible, probably littered with Google, McKinsey, HBS, Jumia,  Konga, JP Morgan and in some cases all 5!, they are probably bootstrapped and focusing on growth and building a team, can be found at tech cabal round table and maybe bottles on wednesday  (am joking oh) ( disclaimer startup maybe top of class without this attributes also)

Ok, so you get the picture, everyone thinks its easy for those guys to raise.. WRONG! its bloody difficult for everyone to raise ,for the following reasons!

1) There is a lot of focus on very early early stage funding:  Companies who need between 10k-50k. idea exploration. There was a flurry of accelerators and now also Tony Elumelu fund promising 10k. They will all say they have space room for growth stage startups but they are really not structured in that way. But they are great for the ecosystem they create a great pipeline and their valuations are getting there, better than class of 2010 for sure. So Today, if you have an idea, you should be able to get enough funding to get you to concept stage this is is progress!

2) There is no”angel scene” in Nigeria : Well again there are various makings of one, but not quite there, I have met a few members of the Lagos Angel Network but I dont know of anyone who has raised through them I could be wrong. There are lots of HNIs for sure but most people do not get tech or internet companies YET.. they will be soon but for now most HNIS prefer to put money in property or private jets, where they are guaranteed returns or enjoyment at least!

3) International VCS are not interested in “small deals”: Most startups at this stage are typically trying to raise between 250k and 1million and unfortunately this is too small for most global billion dollar funds. They are watching though and may or not be back when it times for your series A. I have generally been surprised with the quality of  high profile VCs who have reached out to me re:fashpa, so some myths are true, if you are doing something good, you will be found!

 

Its not all doom and gloom.  it is still possible to raise in Nigeria, start small, be creative, start within your network, reach out to family and friends,  again start small and you be surprised to see the puddles create an ocean, have a playlist that helps you through those long nights ( I recommend Olamide- I imagine its just me with my goons and we will make it much to everyones surprise) and be prepared to hear your fair share of NOs!

Some crazy guys I know ( am so happy to be your classmate), one startup I know raised $2 million from Nigerian “Angels” in Nigeria and another two have raised north of $1 million too for their growth stage startups, so it is possible, its just difficult, time consuming and heart breaking.

 

But hey nobody promised that it would be easy!

 

P.ssssss

There is so much to say on this topic, I didnt even touch on valuations- Nigerian style or Chasing Investors, look out for for future posts.

 

 

 

 

 

LOOKU LOOKU.. Fashpa.com and Startups to Watch

DISCLAIMER

Here is what I think of lists, if am not on them, then I think they are just lists and the market decides, but If I or my company is on one, then I think they are just awesome!

—————

Seriously it was great to make the list of 8 startups to watch in Nigeria by the leading tech blog in Nigeria ..TechCabal alongside some pretty great startups as well.

Fashpa.com is seriously killing the game in fashion online retail, first movers in the space and no one does it quite like we do! so hell ya, we need to be watched!Congratulations to the whole team at Fashpa.com we have worked so hard this year and really proud of recognition that is now coming our way, the road is still long and paved with lots of kuru kuru but we are just the team to win. We really exist to please the customer, the day their fashion needs are solved, then we will go away.

If your looking to Invest in tech in Nigeria…it would do you good to check out these 8..Thank me later!

 

1. Fashpa

screenshot fashpa

In the age of a billion e-commerce websites, Fashpa stands out for its commitment to becoming Africa’s primary online fashion lifestyle brand. Where many sites tend to focus on the nuts and bolts of e-commerce, Fashpa is trying to create excitement and loyalty around their brand. It will be a challenging journey but we think ex-Googler Honey Ogundeyi can deliver the goods.

www.fashpa.com

 

2. Delivery Science

screenshot delivery science

Easily the most impressive new startup in Nigeria today, Delivery Science is everything we look forward to in a company – an experienced and competent team solving a real problem with real customers and local context. DS is bringing much-needed big data to the business of e-commerce logistics, serving the fastest-growing sub sector of the consumer tech industry. We’re expecting great things from them.

www.deliveryscience.co

 

3. Printivo

screenshot printivo

Printivo was started by the young yet experienced advertising entrepreneur Oluyomi Ojo and has quickly become the leading online print shop in Nigeria. Printivo’s dedication to customer service have endeared them to their customers and with the right support, it’s easy to see them becoming Nigeria’s default printer. What’s next?  Launching a new version of their web application and a designers’ marketplace to create opportunities for creatives to make money from the platform.

www.printivo.com

 

4. Hotels.ng

screenshot hotels

Hotels.ng is not a new startup per se, but they’ve defied gravity to maintain a solid position in the hotel booking space. Founder and CEO Mark Essien has continued to show incredible tenacity and leadership in spite of a robust challenge from Rocket-backed Jovago, ensuring that his company will continue to serve his market for the foreseeable future. We think the only place for this startup to go is up.

www.hotels.ng

 

5. Prepclass

screenshot prepclass

Winners of TechCabal Battlefield 2014 have continued to impress. After pivoting from an online learning platform to a tutor marketplace, PrepClass have continued to grow, telling TechCabal that ‘demand is outstripping supply’ and trying to scale to keep up with the market. Wezam & Olumide may be young, but they are fiercely determined to make that business work and are succeeding.

www.prepclass.com.ng

 

6. Andela

screenshot andela

Part-business, part-crusade, Andela aims to fill the world’s needs for developers by training them in the most ‘unlikely’ of places – Africa. Andela trains developers for free and then offers them as contract workers to companies from around the world. If they can make the model work, it will probably transform the startup landscape in the next 4-5 years. Fingers crossed.

www.andela.co

 

7. Truppr

screenshot truppr

Bosun Tijani, co-founder of the Co-Creation Hub started this project to find people to play sports with but it has quickly taken on a life of its own. What makes Truppr special is the community of fitness enthusiasts that has developed around it and the events it holds, making it a real phenomenon and actually touching people’s lives. We’re very excited to see what they’ll do next.

www.truppr.com

 

8. ChopUp

screenshot chopup

A late addition to the list, ChopUp Games have interestingly attracted angel investing from individuals such as Tayo Oviosu. ChopUp makes mobile games for Africa, most recently releasing Sambisa Assault. It will be interesting to see if they can unlock the mystery of gaming in Africa.

www.chopup.me

 

Photo Credit: Walt Stoneburner

 

First appeared on Tech Cabal, story by @seyitaylor

Startup Life is Hard .. BRUH

 

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My last day at Google, I was very excited..startup life here I come!

Startups are hard, everyone says this, I remember before starting Fashpa, reading this post by the Igwe of Nigerian Startup scene and thinking Bwah just how hard can it be, isn’t everything in life hard anyway. I mean I didn’t expect it to be super easy walk in the park, but I just thought everyone overused the whole “hard life” startup thing. Maybe its was a really good shield to try and prevent other eager beavers like myself from quitting our comfy jobs and diving in. I have a good product, i have relevant experience, heck, I even worked in a few startups, I understand my consumers, there is clearly a large market, I have a team in place, I mean just how hard can hard be?

1 year later, am like scratch that, this thing is difficult bruh.

I dont think tech founders, especially Nigerian founders talk about in real tangible terms what hard means, and am not sure I will do it justice myself in this blog. But the closest thing I can describe it is like a big roller coaster ride. You experience high highs and low lows sometimes in one day, sometimes in 5 minutes. The bad part, it only seems to get harder.

If you are a solo founder then its even more difficult because you are carrying all this alone, (memo to anyone reading this find a cofounder if you can) especially if you have long used up your talking about your startup credits with friends and your partner ( I have exhausted mine, need new friends) so sometimes it is a hard and lonely journey
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Reality Bites: Fashpa HQ, some ungodly hour, everyones left, in the kitchen crunching numbers

Another thing that makes it harder, is everyone is constantly asking you, how is it going? and rather than saying “bruh, this thing no easy oh” you probably find yourself saying some version of its going great, swell, fantastic, all our metrics are up, VCs are banging on my door, customers dont stop talking about us, all of which maybe true, but all those things could also be the reason why you have not slept properly in months! You ever ever heard of mo’money mo’problems?

Next the famous question work/life balance… you have a startup? you probably dont have one.. your life is just work and the occasional time you spend with other people trying not to think about work. In a place like Nigeria, as a solo female founder people will also make judgements on what that working hard should mean for you, sometimes this people will include members of your own family who will say “dont work to hard on this thing oh” as if  one is expected to treat this as a side hobby and quit and become a housewife at the first sign of difficulty and other statements that are just specially created to make your startup life even harder .

Finally startups are hard because they are violent places, not ray rice violent, however building a team under the auspices of hyper growth, bootstrapping, below market conditions pay and promise of a brighter tomorrow, means you will lose some people along the way. Sometimes this will be good people. I was on linkedin yesterday and the amount of people Konga has lost to Jumia and the other way round is just as I said, violent.

Perhaps all this happens to really test your mettle to really make sure you are ready for success when it comes knocking or maybe they are just hard because they are hard things.. I dont know, sway I dont have the answers…

 

 

ROUGH ROADS…

ROUGH ROADS

By Tai Solarin, Jan. 1, 1964

I am not cursing you; I am wishing you what I wish myself every year. I therefore repeat, may you have a hard time this year, may there be plenty of troubles for you this year! If you are not so sure what you should say back, why not just say, ‘Same to you’? I ask for no more.

Our successes are conditioned by the amount of risk we are ready to take. Earlier on today I visited a local farmer about three miles from where I live. He could not have been more than fifty-five, but he said he was already too old to farm vigorously. He still suffered, he said, from the physical energy he displayed as a farmer in his younger days. Around his hut were two pepper bushes. There were kokoyams growing round him. There were snail shells which had given him meat. There must have been more around the banana trees I saw. He hardly ever went to town to buy things. He was self-sufficient. The car or the bus, the television or the telephone, the newspaper, Vietnam or Red China were nothing to him. He had no ambitions whatsoever, he told me. I am not sure if you are already envious of him, but were we all to revert to such a life, we would be practically driven back to cave dwelling. On the other hand, try to put yourself into the position of the Russian or the America astronaut. Any moment now the count, 3, 2, 1, is going to go, and you are going to be shot into the atmosphere and soon you will be whirling round our earth at the speed of six miles per second. If you get so fired into the atmosphere and you forget what to do to ensure return to earth, one of the things that might happen to you is that you could become forever satellite, going round the earth until you die of starvation and even then your body would continue the gyration!

When, therefore, you are being dressed up and padded to be shot into the sky, you know only too well that you are going on the roughest road man had ever trodden. The Americans and Russians who have gone were armed with the great belief that they would come back. But I cannot believe that they did not have some slight foreboding on the contingency of their non-return. It is their courage for going in spite of these apprehensions that makes the world hail them so loudly today.

The big fish is never caught in shallow waters. You have to go into the open sea for it. The biggest businessmen make decisions with lighting speed and carry them out with equal celerity. They do not dare delay or dally. Time would pass them by if they did. The biggest successes are preceded by the greatest of heart-burnings. You should read the stories of the bomber pilots of World War II. The Russian pilot, the German pilot, the American or the British pilot suffered exactly the same physical and mental tension the night before a raid on enemy territory. There were no alternative routes for those who most genuinely believed in victory for their side.

You cannot make omelettes without breaking eggs, throughout the world, there is no paean without pain. Jawaharlal Nehru has put it so well. I am paraphrasing him. He wants to meet his troubles in a frontal attack. He wants to see himself tossed into the aperture between the two horns of the bull. Being there, he determines he is going to win and, therefore, such a fight requires all his faculties.

When my sisters and I were young and we slept on our small mats round our mother, she always woke up at 6a.m. for morning prayers. She always said prayers on our behalf but always ended with something like this: ‘May we not enter into any dangers or get into any difficulties this day.’ It took me almost thirty years to dislodge the canker-worm in our mother’s sentiments. I found, by hard experience, that all that is noble and laudable was to be achieved only through difficulties and trials and tears and dangers. There are no other roads.

If I was born into a royal family and should one day become a constitutional king, I am inclined to think I should go crazy. How could I, from day to day, go on smiling and nodding approval at somebody else’s successes for an entire lifetime? When Edward the Eighth (now Duke of Windsor) was a young, sprightly Prince of Wales, he went to Canada and shook so many hands that his right arm nearly got pulled out of its socket. It went into a sling and he shook hands thenceforth with his left hand. It would appear he was trying his utmost to make a serious job out of downright sinecurism.

Life, if it is going to be abundant, must have plenty of hills and vales. It must have plenty of sunshine and rough weather. It must be rich in obfuscation and perspicacity. It must be packed with days of danger and of apprehension.

When I walk into the dry but certainly cool morning air of every January 1st, I wish myself plenty of tears and of laughter, plenty of happiness and unhappiness, plenty of failures and successes. Plenty of abuse and praise. It is impossible to win ultimately without a rich measure of intermixture in such a menu. Life would be worthless without the lot. We do not achieve much in this country because we are all so scared of taking risks. We all want the smooth and well-paved roads. While the reason the Americans and others succeeded so well is that they took such great risks.

 

Tai Solarin (1922-1994) was one of Nigeria’s foremost social activists his legacy includes the famous Mayflower School, Ikenne and Mollusi College Ijebu-Ode. This article was published in Daily Times Newspaper of January 1st, 1964.