Paga’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Tayo Oviosu, has called on his colleagues and competitors in Nigeria’s young tech ecosystem to shun “lies” and quit inflating their performance numbers all in a bid to attract investors.
In a brief but worded tweet, the entrepreneur explained that such level of deception and fraud is invariably harmful to everyone in the ecosystem; including the innocent players. After all, it does not augur well for any tech entrepreneur in Nigeria when investors (both local and foreign) continually get “burned” just because they invested on the basis of false performance indicators.
We should all call out lies in stated numbers in the ecosystem as it hurts everyone. Last thing we want are investors investing on the basis of lies then getting burned.
It's okay to fail, that is the risk we all take in entrepreneurship and is different from lying…
— Tayo Oviosu (@oviosu) October 2, 2019
Why is this happening? Deception is an old tactic many entrepreneurs in Nigeria and elsewhere have often adopted just to appear successful, even when there is no success. Unfortunately, this level of deception is beginning to impact negatively on genuine entrepreneurs because potential investors are becoming more skeptical.
In view of the foregoing, Oviosu advised that it is okay to fail honorably as an entrepreneur. After all, failure is part of the entrepreneurship journey, he explained. It is also far better than deceiving potential investors into believing that everyone is right and rosy when the direct opposite is the case.
Some typical examples: Although Oviosu did not mention anyone by name, there have been reported cases of falsehood in sales reports and overall performance. Jumia, for one, has been accused of falsifying its records to deceive investors. Nairametrics reported in August that the company is facing a class-action lawsuit in the United States of America. The development stemmed from an earlier revelation by US-based Citron Research that the company has been inflating its sales volumes. The alleged fraud reportedly occurred shortly before the company’s listing on the New York Stock Exchange.