Y Combinator Partners, Michael Seibel and Qasar Younis, are currently in Lagos as part of YC’s Office Hours in 11 Countries tour where YC Partners will meet with tech entrepreneurs from various parts of the world to learn more about international startup communities.
Nigeria’s the only African country on the list, and the Partners have been in Lagos since Friday, September 23. The tour’s ending on Wednesday, September 28, and so far, Michael and Qasar have been to 7 events since their arrival.
TechCircle organised a fireside chat at Lagos Business School (LBS) on Saturday, September 24, and a ton of people from the Lagos tech ecosystem showed up to network and learn a few things from the speakers (Michael and Qasar included).
OO Nwoye and Bankole were the hosts…
…and there were three panel discussions. The first discussion was on what academic institutions can do to support entrepreneurship in Nigeria. Eugene Ohu (Faculty Member, LBS), Stephen Oluwatobi (Entrepreneurship Director, Covenant University) and Ojoma Ochai (Director, Arts Nigeria at the British Council) were on the panel, and Bankole was the moderator.
Everyone on the panel agreed academic institutions do not do enough to prepare students for their careers, so most of what was said were suggestions on how things could be better. Ojoma said institutions should make their infrastructure available to students who want to build their ideas, Stephen suggested academic institutions build a solid mentorship network that will link students with established entrepreneurs, and Eugene said institutions should help people develop the ability to analyse problems (so they can create solutions that work).
The second panel discussed the opportunities Nigerian technology entrepreneurs are missing. Ijeoma Nwagwu (Manager, LBS Research Centre), Shirley Somuah, (Investment Professional, Cardinal Stone), Sanyade Okoli (CEO, Alpha African Advisory) and Nichole Yembra (Chief Investment Officer, Venture Garden Group).
“How are Nigerian technology incubators preparing startups for the global stage” was the topic of the third panel discussion, and members of the panel were – Olufunbi Falayi (Co-founder, Passion Incubator), Kola Aina (Founder, Ventures Platform), Uneku Atawodi (General Manager, MEST Nigeria) and Afua Osei
The panel discussions were interactive, so of course there were Q&A sessions.
And finally, Michael Seibel (CEO, YC), Qasar Younis (COO, YC), Shola Akinlade (Paystack co-founder and CEO), and Tonje Bakang (co-founder and CEO Afrostream) got on stage to talk about how startups can get into Y Combinator.
Here’s what we got – first things first, get yourself a technical co-founder (this is something Michael is very particular about). Secondly, you should be able to clearly communicate what you’re doing – no ambiguous words, no jargon. And third, describe your business through the user experience. Reading 18 mistakes that kill startups by Paul Graham probably won’t hurt either (Qasar actually recommended it).
People had questions, but of course you saw that coming…
The entire event lasted a few hours, but it was well worth it.
You can view more photos from the event on TC’s Facebook page here.