Over 100 tech startup founders had the rare privilege of learning potential pitfalls to avoid in their entrepreneurship journey from a panel of successful tech startup founders at the Greenhouse Lab Startup Ecosystem Exchange 2019. The event held on Friday, 22 November 2019, featuring some of Africa’s top founders: Temitope Omotolani of Crowdyvest, Josh Sandler of Lori Systems, Tayo Bamiduro of MAX, Ejimonye Ofodum of Fichaya and Francis Osifo of 54Gene. 

Speaking on the reason for hosting the event, Founding Partner at GreenHouse Capital, Bunmi Akinyemiju, said the Ecosystem Exchange was designed to help finalists for its immersive female-focused Tech Accelerator program – GreenHouse Lab -to access first-hand advice from established tech startups and meet other founders in the African tech ecosystem. 

“The Ecosystem Exchange is one of the core events we held as part of GreenHouse Lab, our acceleration program that develops the capacity of 10 hand-selected founding teams to run successful ventures and position them to attract quality investments globally. We are delighted that these successful co-founders took out time to share their experiences and most especially their mistakes on their road to success. We are convinced that insights shared at the Ecosystem Exchange have provided learnings that will better position the GreenHouse Lab cohort for success,” explained Akinyemiju. 

At the Ecosystem Exchange, the founders shared insights on how they’ve overcome hurdles in their businesses. One theme that all founders agreed as critical to avoiding fuckups was investing in their teams. According to Francis Osifo, “You can make the mistakes 10,000 times; it’s about how quickly you can bounce back. You can make mistakes anywhere but don’t make mistakes in your people”; and Ejimonye Ofodum said, “I quickly realized that I’m not in a tech business. I’m in a people business. I had to re-orient my people’s mindset”. 

The founders were also unanimous on the need to change mindsets in order to achieve success with Temitope Omotolani commenting: Ideas are beautiful. The market is different. Prepare for disappointment because you are dealing with mindsets.  It’s difficult to change a mind that is set; and Tayo Bamiduro emphasized, “Changing a mindset is possible but it’s hard work. You must be creative around how you use incentives. Understand your users in detail.”

The second part of the event saw the panellists’ field questions from the audience and Josh Sandler revealed he would like to see the system work more efficiently when asked what he would be most excited for moving forward.

Following the panel session, the founders in the room had the chance to have one-on-one interactions with the panellists. Tochi Adesanya, Founder at Liveizy- a startup that helps reduce the cost of living for Nigerians through tech solutions -said attending the event was time well spent stating that, “Most people focus on the glitzy part of startups’ journeys to success and rarely talk about the challenges they had to surmount to get there. I am happy GreenHouse Capital extended the invite to the event to other startups outside of its Tech Accelerator program and I look forward to implementing lessons from today’s event at Liveizy”. 

The final event of GreenHouse Lab will be a Demo Day on Thursday, 5 December 2019 where the cohort will present their businesses to an audience of global investors, entrepreneurs, corporates and media. 

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