With the support of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) platform in Nigeria, thousands of Nigerian youth with brilliant ideas have taken the arduous road to establish hi-tech start-ups which they believe would accelerate the country’s emergence as a strong force in the digital economy with footprints around the continent and in the world.
Needless to say, led by software and other content developers, these young ones are seeking funding from investors and joint venture capitalists which will help transform their ideas into the next successful companies which create jobs, wealth and rise steadily to establish their corporate digital footprints.
But Mr Nicolas Martin, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Jumia Africa, the largest e-commerce company online, agreed with them that technology has presented immense opportunities to the youths to excel, but they must first make themselves trustworthy and the venture capitalists will come to them with funding.
Martin said the venture capitalists’ first due diligence investigation will not be about how much their brilliant ideas will generate in their start-ups or how successful the venture will be. But the initial investigations will focus on who they are and how trustworthy they are.
Speaking at the TechPlus 2015 Expo and Exhibition at Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island in Lagos, he advised them to get the basics right first before looking for investment funding.
“Think beyond the money,” he advised the young, start-up entrepreneurs. “Think about why they should trust you. Who are you? Why should they trust you with their money? Are you capable of evolving if you fail?” he reeled out the venture capitalists questions. “If you have the most brilliant idea in the world, it is not so easy to implement the good idea as you may think,” he advised.
Moreover, the start-up entrepreneur must be hungry to succeed, be aggressive and fast, aiming for Number One or nothing.
“There is no room for Number Two in tech ventures. So you must know your numbers, use trial and error to find the appropriate success mix, then hard work, hard work, hard work. If you are not the hardest-working among your friends or family members, then tech start-up venture is not for you,” he said.
Martin warned them to know that despite all their efforts, they are likely to fail. He admitted he failed about three times or more. But they must be able to get up, adapt and move on. Don’t search for comfort zone, don’t let your ego get in your way, don’t be afraid to take decisions and don’t despair.
“If you have a brilliant idea and a business model you want to follow, don’t talk about it, don’t dream about it, just shut up and be an entrepreneur. With the enormous opportunities in Nigeria, make sure it is Nigeria all the way. Reach out to the other youth of Nigeria and you are on your way to success.”
Above all, he added, if you get the basics right and go after smart money, the venture capitalists and investors will come to search for you with money.