When Survey54 chief executive Stephan Eyeson first contemplated whether to quit his high-flying job with Uber, he could not foresee the incredible growth his Ghana-based consumer intelligence platform would taste just three years later.
Recently, Survey54 won the prestigious best seed start-up award at AfricArena’s West Africa summit held in Dakar, Senegal. Soon, he’ll join a host of fine African start-ups who will gather at Station F, the world’s largest start-up incubator, to pitch to European investors.
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Eyeson believes that Africa represents a veritable gold mine for companies looking to expand their markets, but that this market remains largely untapped because companies rely on traditional methods to gather essential and valuable consumer insights, market research and data. However, his brainchild, Survey54, uses crowdsourced data to help companies understand the African consumer across Africa.
Ventureburn chats to Stephan Eyeson, chief executive of Survey54.
Ivor Price: You’re stuck in a lift with a potential investor who can help you to scale your business. How would you market your start-up to them? Bear in mind that you’re only allowed the use of one paragraph.
Stephan Eyeson: Every consumer-facing company needs to conduct market research and understand consumers more. We aim to be the leading company on the continent as companies need to make better data-driven decisions.
We have an audience base of over 100 000 people ready to take surveys and do tasks across the continent. Survey54 is a platform that allows companies to create surveys, pick their audience and launch surveys and get results in real-time. Our trackers also enable companies to track shopper and consumer data over a period of time
It is no secret that technology has the potential to help solve many of the problems Africa is facing. What is the problem you are addressing through your start-up? And how do you measure its success?
We are addressing the data collection issue on the continent. Large companies are still using diaries and foot methods to collect data on the continent, which could be costly. We are using technology to solve this problem but technology suited to the mainland using USSD, SMS and financial partners to collect this consumer spending data.
What is the biggest personal challenge you have had to overcome to be in the right frame of mind to launch your business?
Thinking am I the right person to solve this problem and gaining confidence to execute. Also, wondering whether I should leave my previous comfortable job at Uber to solve this problem after almost three years of being with the company.
Thus far, what has been the biggest learning curve as an entrepreneur?
Navigating large companies and how they buy and how to collect payment etc.
What does success mean to you?
Being globally top of mind when people think about research in Africa.
Lastly, what was the biggest lesson learnt at the recent AfricArena experience in Dakar? Next month, AfricArena will also turn the France-based Station F into the stage of African techpreneurs such as yourself. What are you hoping to achieve in Paris?
There is a more significant need for my product than I thought, and also, yes, I would aim to bring awareness of the product amongst start-ups and investors.