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All posts by Paul Adepoju

Paul Adepoju
Paul Adepoju is a media entrepreneur, published author and award-winning Nigeria-based freelance journalist. He speaks regularly at major African technology events including NigeriaCom and Nigeria eHealth Forum.
  • ‘Facebook $20k grants via NG_Hub to tackle Nigeria’s innovation gap’ [Q&A]

    A lack of financial instruments is holding back innovation in Nigeria, and Facebook aims to address this by providing $20 000 grants to applicants to its new accelerator, a top Facebook official says. Speaking to Ventureburn following the launch last week of Facebook's NG_Hub, Emeka Afigbo, the social network's head of developer programmes, says while Nigeria has no shortage of "smart people", entrepreneurs, students and innovators battle to get funding to allow then to carry out innovative projects. "That is why we are providing equity-free grants as part of the accelerator programme, to actually free people of the burden of having to rush to build things that they...

  • Nigerian startups sceptical of state’s sudden interest in ecosystem [Opinion]

    The Nigerian government may have moved to get stakeholders in the country’s tech ecosystem on its side, but those in the ecosystem remain sceptical. It follows a tour last month by the vice president Yemi Osinbajo of Lagos's tech ecosystem, which was described by several experts in the sector as geared towards garnering the support of the sector for President Muhammadu Buhari, who is seeking re-election next year. Just months after it secured its latest funding of $325 000 investment from the GSMA, Farmcrowdy, Nigeria’s digital agricultural platform, was among the Nigerian tech startups that the vice president visited while in Lagos. He also visited Paystack, Andela,...

  • Officials at Nigeria’s company registration office milking it with ‘consultation fees’

    The Nigerian government may claim to be cutting the cost and time it takes to register a business in the West African country. But officials at Nigeria's company registration office are milking entrepreneurs by getting them to pay fees for "business registration services", while it still takes months -- rather than a few days -- to register a business. In April last year Nigeria's Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) told the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council that the agency can now complete company registrations within 48 hours instead of the previous 10 days (compared to the 19 days that the World Bank says it takes to register a business). Then in September, the agency...

  • Nigerian tech startup sector still up against challenges, say commentators

    A few years ago, when startup founders and tech stakeholders were asked what was still missing in Nigeria’s tech ecosystem, they often began by detailing the lack of funds and government support. But as direct and indirect foreign investments have rolled in and business competitions have become available in addition to numerous accelerator programmes, attention has shifted away from the difficulties of securing funding. Like this it has become difficult to get a consensus on what the tech industry still needs. Over the years players in the ecosystem have also begun to envision a tech sector that is not dictated, directed nor championed by the government. Instead, they’ve...

  • Nigerian ecommerce: Is the end near for payment on delivery?

    Nigeria ecommerce retailers are increasingly viewing payment on delivery as a problem. While some etailers believe it's an effective way to get around the millions of Nigerian who don't have access to digital payment, others are not so convinced. For one online seller, Azolibe Malachi, payment on delivery is the way to go. To demonstrate this he recently set up a $20 Facebook ad campaign to sell a wrist watch and sent visitors to his Konga Store that offers payment on delivery option. He got a total of 15 orders. After 10 days, nine items were delivered while six was returned. He then set...

  • Despite slow growth of tech ecosystem, those in Gambia remain optimistic

    Touching down at the Banjul International Airport, a first-time visitor would be impressed with the petit nature of the continent’s fifteenth least populated country. At the arrival lobby where the ATM machines are, several banners of telecoms companies encourage travellers to choose their network as preferred roaming service. Getting an active line is free at the airport and its activation takes few minutes of registration and Banjul’s streets and main roads are lined with billboards advertising various offerings by telecoms providers and internet service providers. With several operators and operational ISPs, one would expect basic tech devices such as the PoS machine...

  • Still stuck in school — NITDA’s awkward romance with Nigerian startups [opinion]

    When many Nigerian founders of startups are asked to list their major challenges, they often mention the lack of support from the Nigerian government. While this is a widely accepted position in the country’s startup ecosystem, government officials and politicians at all levels believe the industry is getting more than enough support from the government -- which set up the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA). The agency has been tasked with developing the country’s ICT industry. How it perhaps started So how did it come about? The theory is that some years ago some international tech experts visited Nigeria's then president Olusegun Obasanjo at the...

  • Online betting may be on rise in Nigeria but startups still put off by challenges

    The English Premier League enjoys a religious following in Nigeria, likewise the Spanish La Liga. But for some fans, watching the game is not enough -- they must also put money on it. This has given rise to a burgeoning betting sector in the West African country. From just one betting company 10 years ago the betting sector in Nigeria has grown to over 20, according to one online list. One of these is NairaSpin an online betting platform, founded by Balogun Danjuma. Recently several industry players were shocked when Danjuma announced on Facebook that he would be shutting down his startup 9jabookings.com and...

  • Q&A: Taxify reveals plans to take on Uber in Nigeria by being more ‘driver friendly’

    The ride-hailing sector may remain attractive in Lagos, with 15 ride-hailing apps competing for a portion of Nigeria's biggest city's vast taxi market, but until now only Uber seems to have achieved some success. Estonian ride-hailing app Taxify, which arrived in the city in November, aims to change this. Uchenna Chukwuebuka Okafor, Taxify’s Operation Manager in Lagos told Ventureburn how the app has its eye focused on being a more driver-friendly app. Ventureburn: What is different about Taxify in comparison to similar services? Uchenna Chukwuebuka Okafor: We treat driver-partners better so that they can offer high quality service to customers. Our commission (that the company...

  • Game-changing lessons African startups can learn from Snapchat’s IPO

    On March 2, Snap Inc, the company that owns messaging app Snapchat, was officially listed on the US stock market for US$17 per share – a feat that was described as the biggest since Facebook went public. With the initial public offering (IPO), the company was valued at US$24-billion while founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy became multi-billionaires. Not many knew one tiny but crucial piece of information about the achievement: the company has yet to make profit. It also had an arguably bigger problem in that its young users are unhappy and are switching to other apps, such as...