I am looking for a Business & Venture Associate

This application is closed closes at Midnight on 21st May 2021. It may close earlier if a suitable candidate is found on time. It will not close earlier than 21st. Please, take your time and write your cover letter.

Location: Remote. Nigeria (With a bias for Lagos residents)
Remuneration: ~N200k/month (Gross)
Level: Entry
Commitment Expected: Full-time ~ 40hrs /week

I am looking to recruit an associate that will work with me to execute my businesses. 

First, let me describe what I do. (I could have used we, but in reality, I be one man MOPOL. I need you to get the true picture of things and understand that you’d be working with me directly)

  1. I organise events and programs that target technology founders. These events are either by TechCircle (PITCH2WIN, OyaMakeWeGroove) or executed in a consulting capacity for other organisations. I have executed programs for Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Y Combinator, UK-Nigeria Tech Hub and others.
  2. I run an advisory operation that works with technology founders who are very early in their businesses. I help them refine their products, get customers, and most importantly raise capital from the right sources.

Until recently, I have run both operations mostly on an adhoc basis and without a proper structure. This has capped output, efficiency, and effectiveness. Consequently, more demand for my services has resulted in more stress and less reward. 

I am recruiting for this position to help fix this.

Target Candidate.

I am looking for someone with a passion for the tech startup space, whether it is on the investment or building side. It is important that the candidate has a bit of practical experience running something. Be it a startup or an association in or outside the University. Since this role is a mix of an Executive Assistant and a Venture Associate, this role is targeted at recent graduates, youth corp members, and first job seekers. It is NOT for people with a lot of experience.

If you are still a fit, please carry on.

[If you feel you are overqualified, but you still think the role and salary are right for you, I suggest you apply. For those that opt-in, I will be sharing their application to companies seeking to employ for a similar position. So this one application can create more opportunities.]

What you’ll be doing.

Your primary responsibility will be to help me be more effective by assisting with research, documentation, and operational activities. This sounds vague so I’ll give some examples. 

For the program and event aspect of the business.

Later this year, I plan to organise another edition of PITCH2WIN. There are some aspects you’d be involved in: 

  1. Planning: You will work with me to plan and design the program. Should we include a hackathon to this year’s event? If yes, should it be built around a startup’s API or allow multiple? Should it be one sector focused or multi sector? Should we hold it in June or July? Offline, online or hybrid?
  2. Documenting: You will qualify and reach out to sponsors and participants and manage the event ticketing system. Who are the people that should be invited? Do we have proper representation? Those are some of the questions you’d have to answer.
  3. Organizing: You will supervise the event planner and have oversight on their engagement with the vendors.

For the Advisory part of the business.

Over the course of the year, I work with a number of founders in the areas of fundraising, business development, recruiting etc. However, for every founder I engage with, there are 20 or more that only need my advice on a one off basis. Here are a few areas I will need your assistance in:

  1. Managing the pipeline: I receive a lot of requests for advice from twitter, whatsapp, cold emails, and random introductions. No matter the channel, I try to send this to my email so I maintain a thread. But at the end of the year, I do not have a clear idea of when, what, who etc. I’d like to use a type of CRM to manage these engagements so follow up can be done better.
  2. Managing engagement: When I first meet a founder, there are some things I need to know. Have they launched? Do they have users? What’s the cap table like? Etc. This is supposed to be consistent but I apply it randomly.  I would prefer to have  a template that is used for diagnosis.
  3. Meetings and Follow up: It is hard to keep a trail of meetings, action items, and follow up for 5 entities,not to talk of 40. I would need to devise a system that keeps track of what we discuss at meetings, agreed action items etc. So when that founder returns 3 months later randomly to “pick brain”, I can go straight to where we left off “guy, how far the 1, 2 and 3 things we agreed you’d work on?”
  4. Research: Rather than work with only startups that reach out to me, I would like to reach out to startups working in spaces that are interesting to me. For instance, I am actively looking for Wave and TalkDesk for Africa / Emerging markets. Can you help me find that team of 4 in Kenya, Pakistan or Nigeria that have a working prototype, 10 customers but would do with $200k? Who are the most active Nigerian angel investors that are not Kola, Maya, Iyin and Olumide?
  5. Partnership and Portfolio Support: I have a number of startups in my advisory portfolio. They need help with recruitment, investor updates, business development etc. I want to take advantage of my network to help make success easier for them. I may need to engage with various entities on their behalf
  6. Project Management: We need a proper website that would articulate what we do and what we’ve done. I need help in creating the content for the website, sourcing and working with the web Developer.
  7. Writing & Presentations. I have 3 presentations I like giving on product analytics, startup tools and early stage venture fund-raising. At the moment, I just do them on the fly. I want to build standard decks and improve them over time. In addition, I hope to begin blogging more often. I will need some help with the research and in writing some of these thought pieces. It will also help to have someone that I can discuss ideas with and get feedback from. 

What you have and will be bringing.

All of the above may sound overwhelming but no, I assure you it isn’t. You will be given as much direction as you need. So long as you are smart and diligent, you will have no problems. Below are some skills I think you need in to succeed  in this role: 

  • You are operationally focused and simply get things done. Putting systems and processes to work should be something that comes naturally to you.
  • Your LOVE for and competence in writing and documentation. There will be a lot of writing to be done and this writing will need to be organized be it meetings or research.
  • You love to read, research and be willing to follow the internet rabbit hole in the name of research. The first thing that came to your mind when you read this wasn’t “TL;DR” but “I like the detail”.
  • Willingness to learn and eagerness to research internet persons and businesses. You know about Hacker News, Product Hunt, You read TechCabal, The Information and Listen to Masters of Scale. You follow Asemota, Odun Eweniyi and Kola Aina on Twitter. You’ve studied Andreessen Horowitz’ Model, you are aware that Musk isn’t the real founder of Tesla because you don’t depend on headlines to know the true stories. Of course you have read a number of my blog posts. I am not being very specific, but you get the point. I am being specific about my blog sha because it reveals how I think. Here are two blog posts I like. One on my personal blog, the other on Medium. Feel free to go down the rabbit holes.
  • You will have a clear understanding of tools that allow for remote working: Google, Slack, etc.
  • You need to be really operationally organized;that includes prioritization et al.

What you’ll be getting.

  • Money. The gross budget for this role is 200k/month. Like I mentioned earlier, this role is targeted at folks just about to begin NYSC or on their first jobs. I believe this amount is competitive for such entry role. However, money alone is not going to be the reason you take this job. I want this to be a clear stepping stone to the future you see for yourself.
  • My knowledge: I will be teaching you everything I have learned in over a decade. It is actually a lot but you will have the luxury of the knowledge without the mistakes. You will get an accelerated hands-on learning about everything involved in launching and funding early stage tech businesses.
  • My Network: In the course of your duties, you will be getting to meet and interact with who is who in African tech (all my guys and gals are ballers). Hopefully, you will have use for all the relationships you create along the way.
  • My support: I LOVE helping people achieve their goals and you can be sure if you deliver in your role, I will be more than happy to deploy my resources towards your success. I expect and even encourage you to have non distracting side projects.
  • Your growth: The perfect entry for African tech venture capital or business development in a startup. Don’t worry, I don’t expect you to build a career in my small organization. Please in 12-18 months, outgrow what you are doing and you will see how much I’ll do to lift you to whatever you do next. 

Why you may not want to work with me.

Based on what some of my friends write about me on Twitter, even me dey wan meet me sometimes. But the reality is not so rosy. I can be slightly demanding to work with. Here are a few of my quirks.

  1. I am a very direct person. I optimise for being consistent and honest vs being liked. This does not work well for everyone. If you are someone that values directness, you’d love working for me.
  2. I sometimes expect you to know stuff I may not have explained well and can become frustrated when you don’t. As I am very happy talking, I am more than happy to answer all questions you need in seeking clarity.
  3. It may be overwhelming for you to try and balance my opinionated self with my demand that you take initiative in getting things done; but I assure you, an efficient outcome is my goal. A motto of mine is “make new mistakes”. So do not worry about failing as long as it is from trying new stuff and you are learning from it.
  4. I supported, campaigned for and voted Buhari in 2015 and worse still, considering the circumstances then, I do not regret my actions. However, I think he failed himself and his supporters. By 2017, I withdrew my support and I vehemently oppose him today. I have good friends in his government and in different political structures. There are those I support, ambivalent to, and those I vehemently oppose. It works for me because I separate my politics from my business and I hope you do so too. I don’t mind you even saying Ghana jollof is better than Naija Jollof but I draw the line with you thinking Harp is better than STAR.

References.

A few people have worked for me and you are more than welcome to reach out to them to find out what it is like working for me. Some of them are:

  1. Adeboro Odunlami worked with me while an undergrad and proceeded to work with the HiiL Hague, Paradigm Initiative and now is a Policy Analyst with Advocacy for Policy Innovation.
  2. Zimuzo Ezeozue worked with me from his undergrad days until the end of his NYSC. He proceeded to Google UK where he is a Senior Software Engineer.
  3. Kelvin Umechukwu worked with me on many projects and proceeded to lead incubation at CcHub. He is co-founder at a digital commerce company, Bumpa.

Process:

Stage 1: Application + Cover Letter

  1. Fill an application.
  2. Submit a cover letter – this is quite important.
  3. From application and cover letter submissions, I’ll shortlist those that I think are a good fit and reach out to inform you of your advancement into the next round. 

Round 2: Writing and Research 

  1. Writing exercise; those that scale through will be given a simple task that will involve a bit of research and writing.

Round 3: Interviews 

  1. Those whose writing submission proves to be impressive will be invited for an interview with me.
  2. Those that pass my interview will be invited to speak to one or two people for second opinions. 

Everything should take less than 2 weeks to be concluded.

Post interviews, I’ll make my decision. Any decision I make has no bearing on those that don’t get chosen. Because even if Jeff Bezos, Sheryl Sandberg and Tim Cook apply, I will have to say no to 2 of them.

If you’d like to proceed, please fill this form and let’s get the process started.

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