What If The Seven TechCabal BattleField Contestants Were On X-Factor?

After attending TechCabal Battlefield, we noticed the hall began to empty out by the second pitch and many folks simply didn’t appreciate what was going on. As a result, we wanted to present a lighthearted reportage for the non-business inclined. We’ll be using auditions from talent shows.

CallBase

Confident, brash, almost inviting the judges to take them down a peg or two. Oo Nwoye is the consummate showman and we loved his pitch. Definitely expected him to make the top 2 so when he missed out on runner up, we were certain he’d won. Epic upset. Saw him closing deals outside the event so we’re certain he’ll do just fine.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWwW_DYmxEw]

Autobox

AutoBox. The surprise package of the event. Awesome presentation by a supremely knowledgeable founder. Word on the street is that they raised over N6m (>$35k) on the night. Now that’s winning! We wrangled an intro. Expect to see them on PushandStart when we launch.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxPZh4AnWyk]

PrepClass

The eventual winners. I suppose it helps to be young and to be focused on a sexy industry like education. They appealed to the emotional side of the judges. Best among equals? Only time will tell.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11oMu365xYU]

Adugbo

To serve or not to serve? The judges liberally applied the “what need are you serving?” question and it proved the Achilles’ heel of Adugbo, the multi-applicable geo-targeted marketing app. The idea (and even their too-numerous monetisation hypotheses) may be sound but their execution and presentation left significant scope for improvement. That said, we think the relevance filter is too harsh and may be unsuitable for many new ideas as no one can reliably predict the usage or utility once it’s released into the wild.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoMVurQLrAo]

Decoded

Sometimes, you get punished when the judges fail to see the potential in your service. A consumer-focused service which solves a real problem for an exploding market but the judges didn’t bite. We would love to help them find investors.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzgM5_tqrsw]

500Shops

First to come on. So many moving parts. On paper it’s a great idea but they got punished for not squaring the circle on order fulfilment. The market is deep and we think they’ll make out OK.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WlI-DaiVvA]

CasaGrupo

A mature team with a bankable idea. 2 thoughts though. What on earth do they want with $20,000? Second, We were slightly concerned that they dropped the ball on regulatory and compliance issues. We see them putting this disappointment behind them and doing well. Full disclosure: We are also working on a crowdfunding project, though a little broader in scope that CasaGrupo’s.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZvJ24d2AGs]

Missed the TechCabal Battlefield event? See all the pitches from the on demand Battlefield Livestream here.

14 Comments

  • @RichardAfolabi says:

    Chukx, you beat me to this article. I just watching the recorded footage now and I’m highly impressed. Two other non-Nigerians watching with me did not see Callbase as a winner, they saw him more of a comedian/showman, though unconventional but also unprofessional. (In their words) Now compare his presentation with that of PrepClass – It’s a sharp contrast my friend.

    Casagroupo has got a lot of polishing to do. The whole thing sounded more like WealthSolution to me. Hell to the No!

    Adugbo, an awesome idea from a talented developer but slightly ahead of its time. If they’ve got a business guy on the team why not let him make the presentation. Presenter was flawed on the business side of things.

    500Shops: Guys need to learn money does not come first. Value and Services do. Provide good services and money will follow. Seems they’re afraid of taking risk but happy to take “Deola’s” money.

    AutoBox: That’s my man. Serious dude with lots of market knowledge. Hopefully automobile policy would not dent a whole into that project.

    Decoded: Nice pitch but who are your target market? Nigerians or Non-nigerians. Cuz I cant see me looking for lyrics to “Oruka” or “Onyinye” when I can understand ’em boys clearly. Me think they should focus on the Artiste branding and merchandising.

    Point is, presenter needs to realize such events are global events and not just events within that tiny little room. I’m sure over time, many of them will improve their presentation skills. A good place to start is TedTalk.

    • The Taichou says:

      Richard, perhaps next time I get an idea, I should reach out to you to co-write because your analysis is dead on for the most part.

      Oo injected humour – which I appreciate – but with it came levity, which was somewhat inappropriate. If you look beyond that, however, his idea had oodles of merit and he did not deserve to finish outside the money.

      You may well be right about CasaGrupo needing polish. I thought they presented well enough. It was the Q&A that tripped them up. Also interesting is your take on Adugbo. They had several monetisation plays and they demonstrated a real commitment to iteration which is something I respect. Unfortunately, they had not distilled their valueprop to one clear concise sentence.

      You had me in stitches at “. . . they’re afraid of taking risk but happy to take “Deola’s” money.” Isn’t that a good thing though? I think that’s called arbitrage by finance types. Autobox is golden, nuff said. Decoded’s target market is folks like me who love Olamide but don’t know WTF he’s saying. Ditto Mafikizolo et Uhuru. And don’t forget the millions of Africans in the diaspora who can’t keep up with the slangs and ‘turn of phrase’ of this new generation.

      By the way, I love TED too but those tend to be more of talks rather than slide-aided presentations. The great thing is that we all now have a first draft. A version 1.0. Editing and improving on that is more straightforward than beginning with a blank canvas.

  • Jimi says:

    The video page doesn’t work guys. Please check.

  • Jimi says:

    I see no reason why the other Startups should be written off just because they didn’t win. If there were three people like me among the Judges, Prepclass wouldn’t have won. Being a Startup doesn’t mean we have to solve a Lagos problem; doesn’t mean we can’t be ahead of our time also. So, why are we writing them off?

    @RichardAfolabi: you’re quite wrong about Decoded. This is Nigeria and there are markets for all those things. The problem with most Lagos entrepreneurs that I’ve met who attended this event is that we tend to think the consumers think like us- that is why there are never breakthrough products from Nigerians. The young man in Kano who listens to Whizkid but doesn’t understand what he;s saying; how would he get the lyrics? As a matter of fact, I’ve searched for Phyno’s lyrics before because I was curious and that was how I discovered Decoded weeks before I heard about Tech Cabal.

    You also talked about 500shops needing to give value first before collecting money. True and that’s why they have that store in place. Konga recently launched an online Mall for retailers, do you know how many people that have signed up already? Do you know how many of these guys publish Facebook pages daily? Don’t ask sir, find out! The figures are alarming and they all need an easy process to setup and sell online. I think they have a higher chance at survival than most.

    We need to start seing the bigger picture here rathan than using the limiting view of believeing that anything that has a slight chance of working in lagos won’t work in Nigeria. Have you heard of Eskimi? It has 10m Nigerian users. Its owned by a Lithuanian entrepreneur. Check out the site and tell me its not crappy? But, does it work? Hell yeah! He even gets cool revenues from it and his numbers would surprise you. How about MoboFree? OLX’s competitor? Another simple cool idea owned by a foreigner since we are too busy seeing why everything won’t work just because the idea doesn’t solve our immediate need.

    My Analysis on the Finalists:

    adugbo – is synoymous with milo.com (ebay bought them for $70m or something) Forget his presentation. That idea is a winner anyday.

    Callbase – I couldn’t get info on what they do on the internet. Is it like a Skype version for businesses that stays on your browser rather than an application on the desktop?

    CasaGroup – is an investment firm just like Angel list. Same thing just that the processes and its presentation is a bit clumsy. Nothing out of the ordinary.

    Decoded – great site for getting music lyrics. Who would they be competiting with if they add music downloads to their product line? Does iroking and spintlet come to mind? Is there still money in that market? ask Jason!

    Gokool – great idea. Almost launched something like this last year. Problem for us then was, how do you offer really cheap parts to rival ladipo? If not, you will only be selling to the lagos middle class because the super rich folks that drive the G550 and Chryslers know where to buy spare parts when they need one.

    Prepclass- our own Udemy. But can a Jambite afford the kind of broadband that would be needed to watch these videos? Notwithstanding, my criticism, they have traction already. You see how Nigeria can amaze one at times 🙂

    • The Taichou says:

      Jimi, not lengthy at all when you consider the amount of goodies you managed to stack in there. I love your analysis.

      Callbase is browser based, bypassing the need for installation. CasaGrupo isn’t quite like Angelist from my limited understanding. Angelist does intros and hands off. CasaGrupo receives funds, project manages, and writes dividend cheques. Still, it’s a sound idea but very close in design to real estate investment trusts (REITS) just like Akin Oyebode observed. Lot size (N100k+) also suggests to me that they are targeting people who may already be in a position to take out mortgages or are at least sophisticated enough to have a have a plethora of alternatives. Autobox (GoKool) says he grew up in the market and spent his holidays working there. His strategy is to earn an income on the spread between cost price and retail price and he even worked us through a typical example.

      You are right about nigeria amazing us. No one has all the answers. If you think you do, “show, don’t tell”.

    • Sola F. says:

      @disqus_8ClMsxxb6J:disqus I think you should watch the Battlefield competition. Its live on the website. You will understand why Prepclass won.

  • Sola F. says:

    My thoughts:

    – 500shops. Good business idea. I think they can attract some customers but competition will be stiff as GTB, Konga and Jumnia (expectedly) will enter this space. These companies are offering a platform for ecommerce. If the continue to iterate I think it will turn out well.

    – Adugbo. Bad idea, bad presentation. IMO. An app that its only purpose is to send you ads. Really?? BUT bad ideas can actually lead to the best business. Imagine if facebook or google pitched on techcabal. I’m sure they would not win.

    – Callbase. Decent idea. But I believe there a lot of competitors in this space outside Nigeria. Within nigeria cost of internet + bad infastructure is scary. It can lead to bad user experience.

    – CasaGroup. Actually like the idea. Crowdfunding their way to realestate investments. But after the QA the founders do not look like they are qualified to run this type of business.

    – Decoded. Idea is okay. The business will probably peak out very quickly. A small business that is very niche. Cannot see this business making a lot of money.

    – GoKool?. Selling auto parts online. Decent idea. Can make a lot of money if implemented well. Definiately has a strong upside.

    – Prepclass. Deserved to win. Didnt see the potential until I watched the video. The idea can make a lot of money. Probably will be the most successful business of the group.

    • The Taichou says:

      Sola F., thanks for leaving a comment. While I may not agree with your analysis, I appreciate the thinking that went into it.

      Adugbo is not entirely focused on pushing targeted ads to users. I think the gentleman had an off day with his presentation unfortunately. Hyperlocal might yet have a bright future in Lagos.

      Your statement about iteration with respect to 500Shops is neither here nor there. Reasonably, if any business on the face of this earth continues to iterate indefinitely, it will turn out well for them also. Reminds me of this very old post, http://techcrunch.com/2011/06/27/startups-don%E2%80%99t-die-they-commit-suicide/. Are you saying their present idea is essentially dead in the water? I don’t think competition alone can destroy a startup. Not with such a deep and durable market.

      Decoded is not niche at all. Unless that niche is all literate people who listen to music. I am really excited about their imminent launch.

      In any event like this, the winner was always bound to polarise opinions. PrepClass has done just that. I will reiterate that the fellow who took questions for the team struck me as an immensely capable and knowledgeable individual.

    • Jimi says:

      Interesting!

Comments are closed.