5 Nigerian startups with seriously disruptive capabilities

via https://pixabay.com/users/chickenonline-616783/

‘Disruptive’ is a powerful word, because it’s not really about a startup that is making money or one that is able to get millions of users. Instead, a disruptive startup is one that is groundbreaking and innovative. Prior to 2015, Nigeria’s startups had largely been founded by developers who had ideas and believed they could make money from such. And so far, several of them have been able to develop tech products that are still profitable – even before the advent of ecommerce.

“Even though many foreigners and local investors think of ecommerce giants Jumia and Konga when they talk about Nigeria’s successful tech startups, quite a number of tech startups had already recorded great results before the advent of ecommerce in Nigeria – companies like Interswitch had been recording phenomenal successes in the financial tech space,” said Ojo Victoria, a Nigerian tech startup founder.

Interswitch and ecommerce powerhouses – Jumia and Konga – charted new courses in the tech space in Nigeria and several years later, they remain formidable tech companies till today. These are the kinds of startups that could be described as disruptive. There are a couple of startups in Nigeria that have disruptive capabilities in 2016. They are in various stages – one is officially launching this, one rolled out last week while the rest are already operational with varying degrees of success.

Sliide Airtime app

Getting a personal introduction to the Sliide Airtime app by Corbyn Munnik, CEO of the company, is probably the best way to understand the market potentials of the app that launches this week officially in Nigeria. Munnik revealed that the app is already in use in England and they’ve identified Nigeria as the next market for the interestingly unique product.
The app displays trending news and gist straight on the smartphone lock screen but that’s not catchy aspect, users get free airtime just for their phones. It isn’t intrusive and the fact that users are getting free credits means that minimal effort would be needed to promote it in Nigeria.

Why is it disruptive? It is one of the few products that give users something in return. The order of the day used to be individuals paying for services but with Sliide Airtime app and a few others, users earn by engaging with the app.


MyAds is another product that offers users something in return and they earn by viewing ads. According to the developers, MyAds is an app that rewards everyone.

“The user gets rewards, and the advertisers reaches its users. With MyAds everyone is a winner,” they stated.

And it’s true. Since the advertiser is sure that with minimum budget, they can directly reach target users.

“With our targeted advertising, advertisers can create and profile ads to meet their chosen demographics: age, gender, location etc. Analytics that allows you monitor your ads impressions and measure conversions,” the company stated.

For app users, they are rewarded when they view ads on their incoming call mobile phone screen shown when they receive calls.
“For every call received and ads shown, users of MyAds will earn points. Points are converted to different rewards, ranging from airtime/talk time to coupons and discount deals. MyAds has an array of reward partners worldwide.”

The interesting thing about the disruptive capability of MyAds is its launch in more countries outside Nigeria, and outside Africa. According to Simeon Ononobi, founder of the company, MyAds is a global company and true to that, the company has already been launched in Nigeria and India with plans underway to launch in more countries outside and across Africa.

Even as Nigerians are warming up to ecommerce, a startup is attempting to introduce another previously strange service into the country – gift cards. The idea for SureGifts was gotten when the co-founders who were previously with ecommerce giant Jumia Nigeria crunched the data of online shoppers and saw that many were buying stuff online as gifts even though not all the gifts would be appropriate and perfect for the recipient.

They decided to introduce to introduce a service that will allow gift recipient to choose what is given as gifts and that was how Suregifts came to life. With numerous corporate clients and individual gift card shoppers actively using the service, the company had already ventured into numerous services and products including SureAid.co and SureRemit.co. It had also expanded beyond Nigeria with the recent announcement of the expansion of SureGifts to Kenya.

It’s not every day that one sees a local company that a tech startup threatens the operations of a globally acclaimed tech company, but that’s what is happening in Nigeria with the fierce competition for the Nigerian taxi hailing app subsector involving the global leader Uber and the local version Afro. It hasn’t an entirely smooth ride for Afro which used to be known as Afrocab when it initially launched but could not pose a significant threat to Uber.

Following its initial loss to Uber, the developers went to re-strategize and the app was rebuilt, the result was a highly locally relevant product that satisfies the yearnings of the local users who desire to pay in cash and want to negotiate the price they desire to pay unlike Uber’s no-negotiations-model. Afro has gotten the market right and Uber knows this so much it had to introduce cash payment in Nigeria.

Lands.ng is appearing on this list because its owners decided to venture into something that many would still believe is impossible to pull off in Nigeria – selling land online – but that’s what Lands.ng is striving to do.

Barring any of the anticipated lawsuits and reluctance among the targeted users to rely on an online platform to make multimillion naira property decisions, the success of Lands.ng could be an eye opener that will make startup founders and developers in Nigeria to become aware of the availability of more spaces other than developing products for online buying and selling of groceries and other stuffs.

The platform is Nigeria’s first platform that is solely devoted to the sale of lands. If they can truly make the purchase of lands to be just a click away, their success could become a revolutionary idea that will shape the future of Nigeria’s startup landscape.

Paul Adepoju


Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest in digital insights. sign up

Welcome to Ventureburn

Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest in digital insights.