Thursday, 5 May 2011

G-Nigeria 2011


There are many positive things about technology entrepreneurs that also hold true in Nigeria; talent, creativity, resourcefulness and sheer drive. Many I met at the Google sponsored G-Nigeria 2011 event, hashtag #gNigeria, asked insightful questions that convinced me that the long anticipated ecosystem is beginning to form. What a difference a year makes (article from March 2010)!

Self-organising will further sustain this nascent ecosystem. My hope is that more events like tonight's Tech Open day with Sarah Lacy occur regularly and gain buy-in from local tech entrepreneurs. The main benefit of this is to create a platform for knowledge sharing and partnerships to develop. It also gives local entrepreneurs a voice by showing outsiders a clearer picture of local stakeholders' size and potential relevance.

The talks I delivered were on Scaling For Growth and Gearing Up For Venture Capital. This was a quick run-through investment readiness from the investors' and entrepreneurs' viewpoints. Watch this space for announcements regarding Amoo's October 2011 investment readiness programmes in Lagos and Abuja.

It was a pretty exciting closing panel titled "VC and Entrepreneur Panel: From Product to Users". From view points on the level of structure and corporate governance a start up needs, to setting up teams, to how much equity a founder has to give to early employees and investors, the audience were keen to soak up as much information as possible. A shame we ran out of time just when the questions were becoming juicy. Serah, Tayo, Jason, Tarebi and myself gave commentary as panelists, which our moderator Nick Heller graciously described as 'insightful and truthful'.

And who were the delegates in attendance? Many smart, bright and very keen techies and entrepreneurs! To name but a few, SmartBuy run a nationwide cash-on-delivery online electronics store with a lean inventory that puts Amazon to shame. Encipher Group created Africa's first ever Android-powered tablet computer back in the summer of 2010. Also, the very colourful Iroko Partners ingeniously structured a way for Nigerian movie producers and directors to aggregate and monetize online content. Last but not least, Pagatech, who was seed funded by Tim Draper (DFJ), provide a pioneering mobile money platform that allows you to send money to other mobile phones or pay for goods and services. Amazing stuff.

Well done to Google for organising yet another successful and inspiring event. And to Funmi's very professional event management team. A photo blog of the event is on Picassa. We look forward to G-Nigeria 2012.

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