2014 was a great year for the Nigerian business world, and most importantly startups. An increasing amount of entrepreneurs in Nigeria turned their attention to building businesses that provided solutions to Nigeria’s problems by providing services that were long overdue. 2014 was a year of innovative, and new business ideas in Nigeria
While a number of small and large-scale businesses emerged last year, and the more established startups flourished to reach their goals and objectives, the performance of entrepreneurial ventures as a whole has been exceptional. A handful of startup companies have successfully grabbed the attention of big investors, which have accelerated their growth. The progress that was made in 2014 has paved the path for some great opportunities in 2015, further placing the spotlight on the Nigerian startup scene, and showing what is possible. It’s safe to say that entrepreneurship in Nigeria is alive and kick.
Here, in no particular order are 10 Nigerian startups that you will be hearing a lot about in 2015:
Part crusade and part business, Andela aims to meet the demand for highly skilled developers. They provide training in Africa, which is considered to be one of the unlikeliest places for such training programs. Experts see a lot of potential in this company. If Andela becomes a success in making their model work, they will change the startup landscape in Africa for years to come.
Worthy winners of the TechCabal Battlefield 2014, PrepClass has definitely left a good impression. The company started off as a small online learning platform. Over the span of only a few months, it took shape and became a tutor marketplace! The founders of the company believe “demand is outstripping supply”, and through this way of thinking, they have rapidly risen and received worldwide recognition. Wezam & Olumide may not be old, but they are definitely wise! They are determined to take their business to newer heights.
Another Nigerian startup that is doing the rounds, Obiwezy is expected to become the next big thing in the African business market. The idea of Obiwezy came from the mind of a graduate of the 440.ng accelerator programme that is held in Lagos. The idea was to professionalize the used gadget market, and also create an online shopping platform that Nigeria can rely on. The business has had a good start, and has gained revenues of US$50,000 per month!
ChopUp Games is definitely one of the worthiest names in this list. The company has attracted angel investment from renowned individuals like Tayo Oviosu. ChopUp designs mobile games for the African market as their slogan says, “GET YOUR GAME ON!!! AFRO STYLE”. They are making their mark in the African gaming market, but can they receive global success? 2015 will be an important year in seeing and realizing their potential.
Award-winning Nigerian mobile games company, Gamsole was founded by Abiola Olaniran, who is Nigeria’s highest paid Windows games developer. The company has always focused on creating high-quality games for mobile and desktop with a distinct African flavor. Gamsole recently ran a competition to attract the best talents in game development and illustration to take the company forward. Expect some big moves from Gamsole in 2015 as they strengthen their team and secure more investment.
African mobile manufacturers are slowly but steadily gaining recognition for their excellence. You have already heard of South African mobile companies Dream Mobile and Zest. In Congo, there is VMK. But as it appears, Nigerian mobile manufacturer, Nerve Mobile, is pacing ahead of their competitions. The mobile company recently grabbed eyeballs at the Diaspora Demo Day and Demo Fall, the two renowned events in the US. The mobile manufacturer shows a lot of potential, and a lot can be expected from them in 2015.
Founded by 37-year-old Nigerian entrepreneur Paul Orajiaka. Auldon Limited is the manufacturer of African-themed toys such as dolls and other toys, which depict, promote and teach Africa’s cultural heritage to children. The company was founded 17 years ago with less than $100, and now has annual revenue of more than $10 million. Auldon’s toys are now wanted in countries like South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, and Western Europe.
A technology development team focused on resolving inventory management problems encountered by bulk storage operators, with a focus on the petroleum market. The company provides tools that let filling station owners and managers monitor and manage their business, thereby increasing profitability by up to 20%. The overall objective of E-Pump solution is to increase operational efficiency, provide superior reporting, better monitoring, improve business intelligence for decision making, and maximize profitability while also ensuring customers get the best value for their money. Hopefully with the success of this app, fuel shortages in Nigeria will become a thing of the past.
Originally launched to allow African merchants to accept multiple payment types whilst eliminating the risk to users, by securing their details. The company has expanded, and is seeing rapid growth for 2015. SimplePay now creates solutions for users, merchants and also cooperate organizations and groups. SimplePay now caters for more individuals and merchants from airline tickets sales, airtime recharge and access to other billing platforms like hotel accommodation and school fees for children.
Green Energy & Biofuels:
Recently named “the best clean energy investment opportunity in West Africa”. They currently lead the way on providing alternative energy for the active working population in Africa, which will eventually reduce kerosene usage. Green Energy & Biofuels produce a cooking gel from ethanol, and manufacture stoves specially designed to use this cooking fuel. I expect to their products to become widely used in most African kitchens in the next couple of years.
Do you agree with this list? Are there any startups that you think we have missed out, and should be on the list?