After about one year of running OnePage with Joel, I will be leaving to pursue other opportunities. Joel and I came to the conclusion that it would be better for OnePage if only one of us took it forward and I offered to step down. This will come as a surprise to quite a number of people considering the fact that OnePage has started building momentum. But looking at the bigger picture, we believe this is the best decision for us. It was a great one year working with Joel on OnePage and would not trade the experience for anything else.
I will be taking a little break to plan my future and decide on my next steps. My commitment to Internet Entrepreneurship and putting Nigeria on the global start map remains very firm.
I still believe in the vision we had for OnePage and I am very certain Joel is very capable of getting it there. I would like to thank those who have supported me while I was with OnePage, I would be calling on you guys soon. Please keep supporting OnePage as you have always done.
This post was initially titled “Where should the startup hub in UK be? Hint: NOT London!” of which the central theme was; although London is the hub of internet technology in UK, it should not be because of the high cost of living which eliminates startups between idea and Y Combinatior graduation stage (product fitness). I also stated that because of the importance of a living community tied to Universities like that which exists in the Valley (Stanford and Berkley), London is NOT conducive, as the Universities there are deep inside the city. I tried to propose a hub location by comparing Cambridge, Oxford, London, and Warwick (my University). While researching for my write up, I realized that there are greater challenges to the UK start-up scene than having a main hub .
Before going on, it is important to note why I am in a great position to write this post.
I am a foreigner (Yes, I am Nigerian), therefore I have no bias.
I have followed the ‘UK start-up scene’ quite closely for a while (1 year)
I have just begun my startup OnePage so I have firsthand experience of what is like creating a startup in the UK
I will itemize the factors working against the UK startup community thereafter suggest my solutions to the challenges I have listed.
Launching OnePage is much more than launching a Startup to me. It marks the beginning of my dream coming together…
After graduating from university and completing my national youth Service (NYSC), I was supposed to do the normal and get a job in a bank, telecommunication or oil companies but I did not, I wanted to chase the dream. I just believed it was to be Silicon Valley or nothing. While my mates hung out, I stayed indoors watching the live stream of TechCrunch40, reading every post of Mike Arrington, following Scobliezer, reading the Google Story (where I got to know of Marissa Mayer and Amazon.com) wondering when I would have the chance to leave the dream, and get to meet my heroes (I eventually met both Marissa Mayer and Scobleizer in UK).
My mum eventually persuaded me to try the UK and take it as a route to the Valley (thanks Mum). So the SOLE reason for my leaving Nigeria to study in the UK was to try and get nearer to the Silicon Valley environment. While searching for the Start up community in UK, I got to know of Lastfm, Bebo and younger Startups like GroupSpaces, I read about their trip to the Valley. I then decided to see what I could make of UK. Immediately I got my admission to Warwick, the first thing I did was to create a Facebook group called University of Warwick Internet Entrepreneurs. After about a month, the group swelled to a grand total of 2 people (including myself). The other member was Joel Gascoigne with whom I later founded OnePage with.
When my friend Joel, told me about CUTEC TVC (Cambridge University Technology and enterprise Club, Technology Ventures Conference), and wanted us to present OnePage there. I was not sure I was sure I was going to attend then said the magic words “Marissa Mayer will be there”. It was not negotiable I had to be there. In case you do not know Marissa, She is the most beautiful geek in the world! A double B (do not rack your brain, I mean Beauty and Brains!) If you want to know more, Wikipedia it. She is in charge of anything you see on your Google and determines what goes on the home page, big responsibility. My friends know of a Marissa Mayer Laughter on my phone, well, it is her laughter and I have had it for almost two years. Now you know why I had to visit Cambridge. I got to the website of the conference and realized that the sale of ‘early bird’ tickets had ended a day ago which meant I had to pay 15 pounds more, damn!! I tried negotiating with the organizers but got nowhere!
After checking the prices for trains to Cambridge, it turned out that it would be more economical to drive down especially as we were three (Kostas, The Warwick Entrepreneurs president was joining us) so we rented a car and I sealed an agreement with my guy to use his SatNav for the journey. Well, “Monkey go market, monkey no return” i.e. the story got complicated Continue reading →