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Innovation is everywhere - Nigeria startup ecosystem (2014)

Nigeria... Yes, it's big, ugly, dangerous, poor, too big, too hot, too rainy. And it's Africa's biggest country and economy, so the potential for startups and entrepreneurs is huge.

During our trip to Lagos to attend the Mobile West Africa 2014 conference, we listened to the speakers, met the key players of the local tech ecosystem, and were amazed, just like all the other emerging markets we explore, by the creativity, the will, and the startups we saw.

Take the trip with us to dive into Nigeria's startup scene. As usual, we love to look back in time to see what are the milestones explaining why the country is where it is today. Oddly enough, Nigeria has long been a very isolated country, with few exports else than natural resources.

Since Nollywood and the most creative movie industry of the continent, it's changing.

Despite the kilometric list of challenges the country is facing, a lot of spots and startups are to be discussed. Wecyclers, BudgIT are among the secret gems we discovered in Lagos, and for sure, there's more than that.

Innovation is everywhere - Nigeria startup ecosystem (2014)

  1. 1. Nigeria startup ecosystem Following Mobile West Africa conference in Lagos May 2014
  2. 2. Innovation has no place in a global world, it’s everywhere Startup ecosystems can learn from one another Local context matters and should be a source for innovators This is why… We’re on a world tour of startup ecosystems! We believe…
  3. 3. History & context of startups in Nigeria “The India of Africa”
  4. 4. An insulated country until very recently • Until 1994 and the “new nation” in South Africa, all the continent was pretty much totally insulated • Africa growth remained stagnant until 2000, with small figures for intra-Africa trade (only $11m traded between NG and SA in 1997) • Nigeria is no exception: no MNCs had a HQ there, except churches!
  5. 5. Nollywood and South African telcos started it all • 1970-1980s: rise of Nollywood as the African scene for movie production. A Nollywood movie takes 10 days and $50k, 50 are produced every week, 1m people employed • 1994: South African companies “take over” Nigerian economy, with telcos/TV (MTN, DSTV), supermarkets, construction works
  6. 6. Social innovation is the key, more than technology • No patents, broken education system, brain drain: Nigeria won’t generate breakthrough technologies • Lots of issues (law, environment, violence) need local answers with a focus on usage and social innovation: breakthrough usages • Wecyclers = environment + gamification + $$$
  7. 7. Co-creation Hub as the step #1 of the tech scene • 2011: launch of “CC Hub”, to “solve social issues with a business purpose” • Settled in Yaba area, a student district in the center of Lagos • Challenges: don’t ask for money too soon!
  8. 8. Mobile West Africa to gather the tech community • 2011: launch of Mobile West Africa, now the most proeminent tech conference in West Africa, 4th edition in 2014 • A conference + a Focus Day + A 1-day workshop
  9. 9. Heading for half a billion Nigerian in 2050 • Nigeria is now 170m people, will be 440m people by 2050 • How to find 10m new jobs every YEAR • A demographic dividend or a time-bomb?
  10. 10. Solving the kleptocracy issue • Africa’s biggest oil producer… but only about $30bn tax & royalties from oil each year (= size of higher education budget per year in France) • Between 2004 and 2012, poverty rate went 52% to 61% of the population: 140m Nigerians live with less than $2/day
  11. 11. Electricity and internet infrastructure not there yet • Power cuts abound, and electricity is available on average 5h per day. Back-up gas generators can’t cope and pollute a lot • Broadband penetration is 6-8%, with expensive data plans. Successful ventures can’t bet on a data-consuming population
  12. 12. A nascent startup ecosystem for Nigeria • Coworking spaces, investors and events pop-up in Lagos and a few other city (Abuja) • Sub-Saharan Africa tops growth of tourism/travel
  13. 13. Startups from Nigeria • Two different segments for startups: tapping the happy few (Rocket Internet: Jumia, Jovago, Kaymu…), local tech startups (, Konga…), solving social issues (Traffic Butter, Wecyclers, Budgit) • No middle-class yet or expected for a bigger and more stable market Cab finding app Low-cost smartphones Mobile learning Media for the youth Find a medic Community-based traffic E-commerce Online Booking
  14. 14. Nigeria startup scene today Pros & Cons, Top Connectors & local best practices
  15. 15. Pros and cons of Nigeria startup ecosystem • A huge market getting even bigger of 10m new people every single year. Half a billion in 2050. A billion in 2100 • A cultural epicenter for African youth through Nollywood movies and online publications • A young and English-speaking population (at least in urban areas, e.g 1/4th population) which represent a pool of possible talent and market • Safety issues remain a constant issue over the years, overpopulation can’t make them easier • Broken governance, education, tax system, widespread corruption • A country cut in two parts: Lagos/Port- Harcourt (English-speaking, with some wealth) and 140m people with <$2/day • Infrastructure is a variable, with power cuts and small broadband penetration • An oil-rich country not diversified at all: not so many opportunities for startups to disrupt anything PROS CONS
  16. 16. Top connectors in Nigeria Matthew Dawes (LinkedIn), the UK born organizer of Mobile West Africa, Nigeria’s main tech conference on mobile technologies, also organizer of tech events in Africa, part of UKTI Sub-Saharan task force Femu Longe (LinkedIn), cofounder of CC Hub, Lagos’ first tech hub. A diasporan coming back from the UK, strong believer in social business opportunities in Nigeria, tech activist Yomi Adegboye (LinkedIn) aka Mr. Mobility, early founder of a webhosting company in Nigeria, since then top blogger and speaker on mobile in Nigeria Tomi Dee (Twitter), futurist techpreneur based in London and Nigeria, part of the angel investor community in Lagos
  17. 17. Top connectors in Nigeria Tayo Ogundipe (LinkedIn), founder and CEO of Solo Phones, a venture making affordable smartphones for the Nigerian market Yemi Adamolekun (Twitter), executive director at Enough is Enough (EIE Nigeria), an activist group mixing technology & politics Neal Hansh (Twitter), CEO of MEST incubator in nearby Ghana, living both in the corporate and startup world, with connections in Silicon Valley and UK as well Olufunbi Falayi (Twitter), founder of Passion Incubator, an early stage incubator, and a social innovator in the field of education
  18. 18. Best practices of Nigeria tech ecosystem • Mobile West Africa organized as a participatory conference • Tables have limited seating to foster interaction between participants • All conferences and speeches include at least 20 minutes of Q&A + a MC to invite participants to discuss questions together
  19. 19. Best practices of Nigeria tech ecosystem • CC Hub User Experience Lab: The ground floor of the 5-story main tech building is dedicated to showcasing new phones • Anyone can come and try everything to buy with better knowledge of the market • Brands also use the User Experience Lab for feedback sessions with users • It’s a clever and successful meeting point between end users, entrepreneurs and the corporate world
  20. 20. Best practices of Nigeria tech ecosystem • Towards a cashless economy. Nigeria government tries to get everyone to pay online with a series of sub-projects: • The new Nigeria ID Card is also a Mastercard • 10% penalty for merchants bringing back cash to the bank • Banks must deploy over 50k+ payment terminals to make it digital
  21. 21. What’s next for Nigeria? Solve the infrastructure issue: low broadband, power cuts can be constraints which make entrepreneurs creative but it impedes widespread use of technology Increase help & support for social business: More than urban & consumer web startups, Nigeria needs social entrepreneurs who can solve issue in place of a broken government Tap into Nigeria’s strengths: Demographic dividend + strong cultural production and influence should lead to projects and companies within the media field
  22. 22. Mobile West Africa 2014 Key takeaways from the conference
  23. 23. Key stats on mobile in Nigeria & Africa • West Africa has 67% mobile penetration and 25% mobile internet penetration • 115m subscribers in Nigeria, 750m in Africa overall • About 8-10% smartphones in Africa, growing fast • 6-8% broadband penetration in Nigeria
  24. 24. Mobile marketing 101: Objectives & means • Gamification? Go for an app • Online/Offline interaction? Go for QR codes • B2C interactions & push? Go for SMS • Brand awareness? Go for mobile ads • Full control on content & conversions? Go for a mobile website
  25. 25. Mobile marketing 101: Principles & KPIs • Immediacy: always on with us • Mobility: always in our hands • Interactivity: through live data APPS Social currency Functionality Engagement rates ADS Reach CTR CPA SMS Marketing Relationships built Database growth Reply ratio QR Codes Visit duration Conversion Database growth
  26. 26. Mobile marketing case studies from MWA speakers Knorr South Africa (Prizes & Airtime for polls) Carling Black Label (prizes for SMS engagement) OMO South Africa (opt-in SMS for purchase reminders) India: transparency by SMS
  27. 27. 2go, Eskimi: where Nigerians hang out online • 2go: 10m monthly active users in Nigeria • Eskimi: 8.8m monthly active users in Nigeria • Lightweight all-in-one applications (chat, job search, music, news)
  28. 28. Solo Phone, a smartphone by Africans for Africans • Commercial launch in Nov. 2013 with $80 and $150 models • A network of wifi hotspot to avoid expensive data costs for users • Music for free, video on demand as a source of revenue • For $1, one movie, downloaded in 30 seconds
  29. 29. Rocket Internet in Nigeria: a big lead within higher-income population • Nigeria: 170m people, 2.4m mobile phone payments, +9.3% internet payments • Jumia: Amazon-like, 200 vehicles for delivery, 600 employees, 70% market share of e-shopping • Kaymu: eBay-like, new features for fastest mobile upload of products • Jovago: Bookings-like, tapping 12% growth in Sub-Saharan Africa tourism
  30. 30. The future of mobile by Tomi Ahonen • Still a lot of opportunities in mobile: healthcare, education, F&B, banking… • Behavior on mobile and tablet are completely different • Moore law for smartphone prices: they would cost $10 in 2019 • After mobile, augmented reality will be the next big disruptive mass media
  31. 31. The power of voice-based apps in Africa • VOTO Mobile (Ghana): polling and communication with rural population, often illiterate, through voice calls & apps • (pan-African): pre-recorded lessons from teachers and homework by students through voice
  32. 32. Eager to learn about the other innovation ecosystems?
  33. 33. Documenting innovation through key events Hot posts, interviews, live-tweet, Google Hangouts Identifying key connectors on & offline Discovering alternative and emerging innovation ecosystems Beyond the Silicon Valley, local innovation hotbeds Tech, Social impact, Education, Life Sciences… Increasing mobility of innovators and ecosystem enablers Connecting doers and thinkers through monthly Hangouts Offering innovation ecosystem enablers to learn and exchange from peers About our project A world tour of innovation ecosystems
  34. 34. Martin Pasquier Entrepreneur in Singapore (social media agency), long- time traveller Mixes economics, politics and travels to analyze ecosystems, reports on innovation About our team Analysis, community & network Anne Lalou CEO of Innovation Factory & Web School Factory in Paris Transfer knowledge of ecosystems to new generation and to a network of top French companies Nicolas Loubet Serial entrepreneur in Paris with 3 companies, growth hacker Manages and nurtures creative communities on & offline
  35. 35. A world tour of innovation: 2013-2014 SUPPORT US! Travel & time of exploration isn’t free   Custom reports on emerging markets & trends  Workshops, talks on innovation trends  Connection to key local players for VCs, brands, tech communities
  36. 36. • Meet The Entrepreneurs Behind Nigeria's Startup Revolution (Fast CoExist) • Nationwide Cash-less Policy: Is Nigeria Ready? (Ventures Africa) • E-commerce in Nigeria: how Rocket Internet’s Jumia, Kaymu and Jovago are taking over Africa’s biggest market (Innovation is Everywhere) • An investor’s comparison between West & East Africa’s tech startup ecosystems (VC4Africa) • Mobile West Africa 2014: wrap-up of Nigeria’s largest tech conference (Innovation is Everywhere) • PEDAL TO THE METAL – SEVEN TECH STARTUP ACCELERATORS IN NIGERIA (TechCabal) More on Nigeria startup & innovation scenes Resources
  37. 37. Thanks! Martin Pasquier, for Innovation is Everywhere