For the coming year, here are my predictions it is a combination of positives and negatives. Nothing outlandish as we are predicting only one year out.
Payments solved: Nigerian tech companies will have their payment problems solved (most likely NOT by a Nigerian company). i.e stored card data will enable reoccurring billing which is the lifeblood of software startups. Paypal will arrive. Finally.
Major exit: There will be a massive exit for a Nigerian startup (not Rocket). Massive meaning over $80million. I have no idea of the space.
Major casualty: Likewise, there will be a massive failure of a funded company. A bankrupt startup or a founder kicked out of his/her company. Lots of media startups will close their doors.
Tech will go mainstream: Tech founders will get the recognition that has been missing. Red carpets and magazine covers for our sector will become commonplace.
International companies will come: Facebook, Twitter et al will set up proper shop in Nigeria. Google will go beyond their sales cubicle. Hello Deezer!
Cash will flow in: There will be a lot of inbound money invested in the technology space. $100million at least will come in. The low amount is because of the uncertainty of the Nigerian elections coming up
Rocket will Exit Africa: They are done with here. But they’ll be dusted as they sell off everything they have and move on to other things.
Corporate venturing will take off: MTN has shown the way. We love to copy. Do not shut down that your streaming app just yet, the buyers are looking out.
Incubator time: Many commercial play incubators will begin to sprout. There will be at least one foreign one that will be for Nigerian startups (as against the Rocket model)
Tech + Politics: Technology and social media will dominate the political landscape. This is fairly obvious but it will be on another level far beyond SMS broadcasts
Global Nigerian Startups: We’ll have our Representatives in Y Combinator, TechStars and 500 Startups. Of course we will start appearing on TechCrunch, Pando, Re/Code. #Primetime.
Broadband: Everything will change with the sale of 2.3MHz spectrum.
Live streaming: The plummeting of broadband costs will mean a lot of live casting will take off this year. Video will be big.
Education: This is the next ecommerce for Nigeria. Everyone will do an education startup this year. At least two will have the same name 😉
Swift – Visafone: There will be an acquisition and/or merger involving these two.
Nigerian Sex tapes: They will go mainstream. Tonto Dike mainstream 😉
What are your predictions for the Nigerian tech space in 2014?
PS: Please forgive the typos. I did not predict I wilt be typo free.
In less than 20 hours, I will be back to my dear country Nigeria. It will be one month short of two years since I left home. Well, sort of.. I left from the intern house (the Nigerian version of the Apprentice).
What has really surprised me this period is the response I have got from people when I said I was going home. It was all “.. Finally?” “.. Are you going for good?” with a look of pity on their faces. Well, I am not going finally and it is for good. My dream has always to get the Nigerian startup scene integrated with the global startup ecosystem and being away from Nigeria for 2 years is not the best way to go about it. I am going back home before I loose touch of my roots. I will be home for a while.
I am really looking forward to meeting all the dudes running the start up scene there. Loy, Sherriff, Mayowa, Seyi and co. Looking forward to getting Nigerian Internet Entrepreneurs off the ground. Most of all I am looking forward to having a cold bottle of star this evening with my cousin and mentor Namo.
Being away for so long has made me long for a lot of things. Gala, pure water, Akamu, Fufu, but most of all
Sincerity: People smiling at you only when they mean it.
Community: Knowing the name of your neighbours after 6 months of sharing a corridor.
…But Dear God
Let there be light. Not “I pass my neighbour”, not UPS (The only UPS known here is the United Parcel Service)
Let the Internet be fast. I have not seen “buffering..” in two years. I cannot survive without the internet, period.
I have one fear though
I do not have a Blackberry, will I be allowed to enter the country? Will I be regarded as a true citizen?
For those that do not have the patience to watch the video I took a lot of pains to provide above , (believe me it is a good watch. If you are Nigerian, it is a must watch) here is a one line summary. Welcome to Lagos is an excellent documentary that profiles the lives of people living in a certain slum in Lagos. It was aired at the same time as the first UK prime ministers debate so I did not have the opportunity of watching it live. The initial feedback I got was mixed, on one hand, people were complaining ‘the west’ had done it again always looking for an opportunity to rubbish Nigeria, while another group of people were shouting a certain name “vocal slender”. I decided to watch it for my self and here are my notes.
I have never more proud being a Nigerian than I was immediately after watching the documentary. It showed the side of Nigerians I wish the world defined us by. Hardworking, ingenious, resilient and happy people. I was not offended one hour of primetime was focused on the dirtiest area in my country and the reason is, it was shown in context. It was not a 1minute report on CNN speaking of how dangerous Nigeria is but one hour of the forgotten people telling their side of the story. Most Nigerians would not mind a well rounded story even it is not flattering
Quite a number of people are of the opinion that BBC should have shown the ‘real’ Lagos Shoprite, VGC, Ikoyi, Lekki (without the go slow), basically that BBC should have done a promo for Lagos/Nigeria. Well, if we tell our own stories, we would control how we want it told. Secondly, who are you to say that you bloody Blackberry pinning, Number10 clubbing, VI working, Facebooker represents the ‘true’ Lagos? That said, I would like a documentary on the city life of Lagos.
The documentary profiled a few people but focused on two Eric Obuh and a.k.a Vocal Slender a scavenger and Joseph Orji the scrap dealer. When I heard about the documentary, I though it was all about vocal slender so I was surprised when I saw Joseph the great family man, Mohammed the cattle rarer that came to Lagos without speaking a word of English and has rising to become a cattle dealer that speaks five languages and Gabriel the ingenious dude that turns cow blood into animal feed. I realised why everyone including me had vocal slender on our lips, ambition. Vocal Slender was the only one who showed dissatisfaction with his current state and was working hard to leave that life behind. If you have ambition, people will rally behind you. If you seem satisfied, well, you will be left the way you are not destabilized. “To save a drowning man, he must first give you his hand”. Vocal slender has given his hand, and he will be saved.
The life at the dump seemed chaotic yet there was order. It amazed me the peaceful consistence between the slum dwellers irrespective of their origins and showed no existence of the tribal tension the we see on Sahara Reporters everyday.
My criticisms of the documentary
The Title: ‘Welcome to Lagos’. It could have been less definitive since that is not the only side of Lagos.
The scheduling: It was broadcast at the same time as the Prime Ministers debate, drastically reducing the audience. I believe that documentary deserves a wider audience.
The sequel: Welcome to Lagos 2 is a worse sequel than Speed 2.
I learnt Shaki has got an English name, Tripe.
The Intro score was bad ass, who is responsible for it?
BBC, thank you for telling their story.
What are your own thoughts on the documentary? If you have not watched it, watch it now.
Update: Someone was trolling on my blog insulting me and people commenting. It began to distract from what this blogpost is about therefore, I have had to delete all those comments. I am really sorry for deleting your comments. Thank you for coming to my defence, I really appreciate it. When I find out who the person is (shamefully it a facebook friend of mine who I am certain I know in person) I will hang the person dry :).