Mark Essien is the founder and CEO of Hotels.ng, an online hotel booking platform in Nigeria. With over 8000 hotels on the platform, Hotels.ng is one of the largest online aggregators in Sub-Saharan Africa. He has raised over $2m from the likes of Spark, EchoVC, and Omidyar Network.

Mark is one of the most impressive founders I know. When I was planning to come to Nigeria in 2015 to get involved in the tech ecosystem, Mark dominated a lot of my research as someone I should meet. Since then, we’ve met several times, and he was a speaker at the High Growth Africa Summit 2016 that I hosted in Lagos.

There are so many gems in this episode for anyone trying to build a company, or currently runs one in an emerging market.

The first part of this podcast is like a lesson in how to start a startup in  difficult places. We talked about he validated his idea, the grunt work done to gain traction in the early days. How he ran out of money, and was still able to pull a winner.

We discussed how to raise money and why founders should not take money from everyone.

This podcast was originally posted on Starta.

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