“Come to Africa earlier,” Jason Wong, founding partner at Platform88 and CEO of Omni Charge, answered when asked what he would have done differently, at the inaugural TechMoney Africa summit in Lagos.
With Africa becoming a destination for tech investors around the world, the University of Lagos, Akoka hosted the TechMoney Africa summit on June 10th and 11th, 2019, which was organised by the Unicorn Group, a pan-African investment company. The TechMoney Africa summit seeks to unlock the value of technology in Africa by bringing together leaders and investors, both local and international, to engage with the next generation of disruptive technology.
It featured a hackathon, a boot camp for budding entrepreneurs, a quick pitch session, panel sessions, case studies, presentations from stakeholders including representatives of the Nigerian government, as well as the Vice Chancellor of the university, Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe.
Some Takeaways from Conversations at the Summit
- “Do we really understand this market?” The CEO and Founder of Omnicharge Jason Wong, on what teams and CEOs should ask when creating products and business plans.
- “The one thing you never stop doing is hustling- as a startup, you can’t stop or take a break.” Clen Cook, Executive at RIIS, during the Incubation and Acceleration session.
- “To deal with team members, emotional intelligence is important as an entrepreneur.” From the People Session.
- On Building a Strong Brand, Helen Emore, Director at STACO Insurance advised startups and entrepreneurs to consciously build a brand from early on and having a strategy, “What do you want to be?” “Be very clear on positioning.”
- “You cannot create a brand in isolation of your audience,” Lanre Adisa, founder of Noah’s Ark Communications shared, while talking about taking a cue from your customers to build a brand.
- “There is a need to connect emotionally,” on using storytelling to build your brand, by Olatorera Abiola, Chief Program and Business Development Officer at the Unicorn Group.
- “Raising capital is tough, but attracting and keeping talent is even tougher.” – Wole Faroun, founder and CEO of NetPlusDotCom.
- “In the [Silicon] Valley, everyone seems to have a stake in the company, as that’s the only way to compete for talent.” – Mark White, founding partner of White Summers Caffee & James LLP, on equity pool as an incentive for attracting talent.
- “You have to nail down what you’re trying to protect.” Mark White on protecting business ideas. It could be the technology especially with deep tech, customer acquisition model, or the brand.
- “When you’re first shopping for investors, send a pitch deck that describes your business, but don’t include proprietary information.” – Maya Horgan Famodu, Partner Ingressive Capital, on protecting business ideas.
- “Just as prospective investors do a lot of due diligence before they invest, you as a startup should also thoroughly research them”, from the breakout session on Partnerships.
- “Be very mindful of cultural nuances and differences in markets,” on expansion to other markets.
Professor Ogundipe in his speech, “UNILAG’s role as a Catalyst for Innovation in Nigeria”, outlined some of the strategic partnerships and programs of the university, including incubation and funding, towards driving innovation amongst students of the school. He also announced Jason Wong’s intention to partner with the university and train ten engineering students in China, who will return to further foster innovation in the country.
Team Gridzer won the eight-hour hackathon over the course of two days with an energy-focused project that allows users to calculate power usage using their mobile phones. They are entitled to NGN1,500,000, all-expenses-paid trip to Cape Town to exhibit and participate at the South African Innovation Summit, along with other perks. The members of Team Gridzer, include Rotibi Adedeji Ifeoluwa, Chinemezu Joshua, Daniels Oluwaseyi, and Ukauwa David.