Chat Fridays featured Nubi Kay a serial tech entrepreneur and currently the user operations specialist at Stripe; He went deep on his thoughts about entrepreneurship in Nigeria.

Awetech: May we meet you briefly?

Nubi Kay: Sure — My name is Nubi Kay. Born in Lagos, Nigeria. From Ogun State. Now lives in Dublin, Ireland with my wife; Christian, Works at Stripe (stripe.com), and passionate about entrepreneurship

Awetech: Great; I’ll like to know what your entrepreneurship background was like; did you start up any project; how did they perform?

Nubi Kay: First legit start was EasyAppetite.com — Nigeria’s first online takeaway site. It was an interesting journey and plenty of lessons. While we had some success, we made plenty of mistakes. Read more

Awetech: What do you think about Nigeria’s tech ecosystem compared to other African countries.

Nubi Kay: Well, I’ve not had the opportunity to explore other ecosystems closely but I can say we’ve come a long way in Nigeria. While some will argue, we don’t yet have a well-rounded ecosystem, I believe we’re getting there with stakeholders such as government, angel investors, international VCs, incubators/accelerators, media, already in on the action. I suppose the major missing player is Academia and we’re getting a flavour of that with folks like Andela. What’s needed is for all stakeholders to step-up some more with more collaborative ventures that’d allow for an enabling environment for entrepreneurs. Our friends in Kenya, Ghana, Egypt, South Africa, Uganda, and so on. are doing good work too and we can learn from them — and they from us as well.

That said, the countries are unique — people, culture, market, and realities and so we have to stay true to that and build ecosystems that matter to the people involved. We should definitely avoid a continent-wide brush stroke method alongside the copy-paste approach.

Awetech: Don’t you think the copy – paste approach is where we have big issues; with blogs spring up every minute, people feel the best way to make quick money is the internet; what do you think?

Nubi Kay: Hmm… I’d never bad mouth anyone’s hustle. If blogging does bring you success (money, fame, purpose) by all means, go for it. I can’t blame anyone really, especially when the alternative is not really available.

Nubi Kay: In fact, there seem to be a quorum on the fact that most Nigerian entrepreneurs default to building e-commerce startups, and they do so for obvious and logical reasons. E-commerce startups make the news rounds, get funded, and fit perfectly with the Nigerian cultural behaviour of trading.

Although the water gets muddy when trying to define what an e-commerce start-up is, I’d stick with this definition — an online platform (1) with listed products and services (2) that customers can acquire via a shopping cart (3) and are offered payment (4) and delivery (5) options. Read more

Nubi Kay: I believe if there are efforts to show other alternatives to e-commerce/blogging as paths to entrepreneurship, people will take it.

Awetech: Don’t you think this has affected quality?

Nubi Kay: I don’t think the quantity affects quality… if you do a good job of offering value, your work will differentiate you

Awetech: Great; on a final note, can you advise entrepreneurs who are struggling on various fronts.

Nubi Kay: Focus on getting 1 customer = user that actually parts with the cash for what you’re offering. Then find another, and another one, and another one. The journey of entrepreneurship all boils down to building a product and team/partners to help cater to the needs of a group of people that see enough value to pay for what’s offered. So, stop trying to build the next Facebook, Konga, or Paystack. Find a need, meet the need, and scale.

A quick addition is to network — find people who’ve done it before and ask questions. Two ways to learn in life — mentors and mistakes, so try to get more from the former and less from the latter.

Awetech: Thank you very much; one more thing. Does this picture ring a bell?

Social Media Week

Nubi Kay: Yeah…. Sure……

Awetech: Can you give us a few words on your humble beginnings using this picture

Nubi Kay: This was at Social Media Week Lagos — I think 2 or 3 years ago when we launched Travelbay — a save-to-travel start-up

Awetech: Amazing; I can see John Obidi and a couple of others

Nubi Kay: yeah that’s Obi Asika and John Obidi, can’t remember the lady’s name

Awetech: Wow it was really humble indeed; thank you for your time.

Nubi Kay: You’re welcome.