It’s no longer news that the Tech space in Nigeria is buzzing. Many tech entrepreneurs are solving real market problems and getting validation from Global investors. In 2019 alone, about $360 million was invested in Fintech related businesses in Nigeria.
However, with this positive development, we are yet to see many of these companies scale in such a way that their solutions become mainstream and are used on a frequent basis by a significant portion of the population.
Why might this be? First, I think with time, many of these Tech solutions will become more validated by users, and recommendations to other users will invariably help to position the products at scale. But before then, startups must pay attention to ease of use, and customer support as those become even more important.
Recently, I decided to sell my car in the US and was looking for the easiest way that guarantees quick turnaround and convenience. It was clear to me that I couldn’t use the traditional retail channel to sell as it takes time, and is unpredictable. The option of shipping the vehicle to Nigeria to sell was also not really there, no thanks to the hefty importation duties and clearance fees at the port.
With these options out, I decided to visit the nearest offices of CarMax (yes, CarMax has an office close to most Zip codes in the US), to get the car evaluated. The promise of giving you a real offer is real. We waited at an agent’s desk while the car was being evaluated and during our wait, the agent tried to sell us a replacement car, stressing the convenience of drop-off and tax savings. After about 30 minutes, they made an offer that looked decent and was guaranteed for 7 business days. We left, obviously thinking that we would sell the car to CarMax.
A few days later, we saw a Carvana commercial on TV and decided to give it a try – this is where things got really interesting. On the website, I provided some information about the car including the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) and answered a few follow-up questions, Carvana made me an offer which was 12% more than Carmax’s.
I accepted the offer online and was asked to upload my driver’s license and proof of ownership, and a day later, I received an email asking me to choose an appointment for the car to be picked up. From that point on, I received emails and text messages from the agent coordinating the pickup process. A day later, the agent showed up with a pickup truck, gave me my check and rolled the car to the truck! My car was sold!
Back to the lessons for Tech Startups
- Where possible, invest in advertisement and promotion. It doesn’t have to be on TV or other expensive media but be very descriptive about the service you are offering. Carvana TV convinced me about how easy it was to sell my car using the service.
- User experience is everything, online and offline. The magic of an offer in the convenience of my office was great and the interaction with the agent afterward was equally satisfying. Remember, I had to drive for about 60 mins (return trip), waited for another 30 minutes for evaluation before receiving an offer 12% less. You know where I will be returning to, the next time.
- Process compliments technology – there were several steps outside my interaction with the Carvana platform but they made the experience synchronous. I didn’t think I was in a different environment, it was easy and you could tell that it has stood the test of time and they stand by it.
Wole (Tech RoundUp)
Tech Roundup S02E20
Discussion with an entrepreneur who has been using Tech to drive distribution of African Music. Demola Ogundele is the Founder of Notjustok.com
This week, we had a discussion with an entrepreneur, who has been using Tech to drive distribution of African Music.
Demola Ogundele is the Founder of Notjustok.com, a platform he started as a music blog over a decade ago. He has grown the company to be the leading African music repository and has had to change the business model to compete in this Tech age where big Tech firms like Amazon, Google and Apple actively distribute music including African and Nigerian songs.
Watch other episodes of Tech Roundup
During the discussion, we discussed the progress the company has made since inception and how he views the music industry post-covid. This episode is different and we hope you enjoy it.
Facebook takes on Zoom with its new video chat feature
Video-calling services have seen a sharp rise during the coronavirus pandemic with options like Zoom and its daily active users growing to 300 million.
Virtual Meetings have exploded in recent months with the Coronavirus outbreak forcing people to start working and socializing from home. Video-calling services have seen a sharp rise during the coronavirus pandemic with options like Zoom and its daily active users growing to 300 million in April.
Another popular option, the Houseparty, owned by Fortnite-maker Epic Games has been downloaded more than two million times as at the beginning of March and other apps, such as Microsoft Teams, offer premium features for free.
With the current trend and the need to meet the demands of teleconferencing, Facebook is jumping into video chat game with its product feature, Messenger Rooms, a new feature that will allow up to 50 people to take part in a video chat, even if they don’t have Facebook accounts.
Facebook has had a long and notorious history of expanding its features to emulate major competitors, from first launching stories on Instagram in 2016 as a clone of Snapchat. Now Facebook wants more of the video market and is trying to take on the now popular video sharing platform, Zoom (ZM).
Previously, the messenger video calls were limited to eight people but with this new video feature ‘Messenger Rooms,’ users can currently host a meeting with up 50 people at once with no time limit on its messenger app, it will also be added to the company’s other applications- WhatsApp will see that the maximum number of people who can simultaneously join a video call will increase from four to eight.
This new feature will be available on beta versions of WhatsApp for both Android and iOS. For making a video call with up to eight people, your WhatsApp must be running version 2.20.133 on Android and version 18.104.22.168 on iOS. The other condition is, the other participants that you’re looking to video and voice call, must also have the same beta version of WhatsApp running on their devices.
What’s the Catch?
Although these Messenger Rooms won’t be completely private, WhatsApp video and voice calls with up to eight people, will be end-to-end encrypted so no one else can view or listen in on private conversations, not even Facebook. Basically, end-to-end encryption is one of the main Unique Selling Points (USP) of the new video feature. Facebook is working to bring the security protocol to Messenger and Instagram Direct, so users will potentially be able to cross-platform chat across all these services one day, it’s easier said than done.
Like house party, the messenger rooms will let people drop in and out of the group video chats while the “room” is open just the way people have the ability to bump into each other in the physical world. Another catch of the new video feature is that users can create a Messenger Room that will be able to keep their room private, block unwanted participants, and send invitations to people who are not on Facebook.
Facebook is working to prevent the reoccurring issues its competitor’s faced like the “Zoombombing problem,” which let uninvited guests drop into video calls to abuse participants or share pornography. The company is working with cryptographers to make the links for the Messenger Rooms difficult for hackers to guess. Although, publicly discoverable rooms will be listed at the top of the Facebook news feed and chats will not be end-to-end encrypted. Possibly, this would be one of the reasons why Facebook may successfully take on Zoom with its security and end-to-end encrypted tactics.
Other features of the new video feature include:
- The ability to add eight people to a WhatsApp video call – up from four.
- The return of “Live With”, which lets users host Facebook Live streams with another person, to bring guests or performers on to their show.
- The ability to watch Instagram live videos on desktop computers.
- Participants will be able to use augmented reality filters and change their background in real-time.
Tech Roundup S02E19
The Nigeria tech space has seen major validation from global investors over the last few years, and reports
We conclude our Fintech Roundtable series, this time with a discussion on Fintech related investments.
The Nigeria tech space has seen major validation from global investors over the last few years, and reports show that over $400 million went into Fintech startups in 2019, and amid Covid-19, Nigeria based Fintechs have announced new rounds of investment this year but will this trend continue.
To help us unpack this, this panel discussion was led by Deji Sasegbon, Director of Platforms at EchoVC and a returning guest on
We covered several topics but focused on what investors might be doing differently going forward and how Investments in Fintech ideas and businesses across Africa might be impacted going forward.
Hope you find the episode interesting.