StartupGuy

I am StartupGuy
I start a fire with ice

Born: 29th July 19XX

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December 23, 2018 StartupGuy0

Having attended the Africa 2018 Forum held in Egypt under the high patronage of HE President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi in early December 2018, I got to have a very lovely startup conversation with Mr Alaa Moustafa, who is a Business Support Manager at Egypt’s Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (TIEC). Alaa was moderating my session during the World Youth Forum under the creativity pillar where I made a talk about the role of Startups in global economic development.

I also got to learn a bit more about TIEC’s exciting initiatives including the the African App Launchpad (AAL) initiative, an Africa-wide platform aiming to build capacity of Egyptian and African youth and foster establishment of sustainable Egyptian and African startups in the area of the advanced ever-changing app and game technologies.

AAL targets building capacity of ten thousand learners and establishing one hundred startups. AAL works by availing a high-quality, technology-learning online platform through crowd-sourcing top online content developed by prestigious universities and leading companies, and delivered through three leading MOOCs; Coursera, edX, and Udacity. This initiative was launched as a culmination of the recommendations made During the World Youth Forum.

In this blog, I am going to share some serious learning about launching your app. I hope you enjoy this article. Please do share your views and comments…

The lean startup methodology is to develop quickly, iterate quicker, and learn at the speed of light. It’s very rare to get things right first time, which is why you need to be quick to change and learn – most importantly don’t make the same mistakes. Some startups don’t have the luxury of continuous development, because of depletion of runway, and so never crack it and fail. So here’s some of my advice, from StartupApp’s developments to make sure you get some key things right first time for your app.

Make the value immediately accessible

We were guilty of making the first version of our product land on a profile page for the user. The thinking was that it immediately personalised the experience. However we soon learnt the hard way, and that is with apps, you have around 10 seconds to convince someone your app is worth keeping. How do you do that? Show them the value immediately. Ideally the value will of been effectively communicated in the marketing, but those who followed through to download need to see and feel the value for themselves. Whatever the value in your service, make it super easy to understand the quickest thing the user accesses.

Don’t assume you’ve got a good Product – Market fit

When in startup mode, it can be easy to become obsessed that what you’re doing is right. I mean, you’ve made all the plans, gone over it all in your head and it sounds exactly like something the world needs? This is a common mistake that, particularly for introverts, is hard to overcome. This is because it involves stepping out of your own mindspace and communicating with others. Of course, when we create, we’re innovating and that has to come from one person or persons, but don’t just assume you’ve cracked it.

Even experts in their field will seek validation for theories or work they put forward, and at the earliest of stages, you’re thinking shouldn’t be any different. What you risk is spending time and effort bringing a product to the market that you find out no one really needs, despite all the evidence you’ve done internally pointing to the contrary. Be prepared to work with your market along your development journey and listen to them to find the solution that they want, not what you think they want. This will increase the likelihood of your final product being relevant and sticky and so able to achieve growth.

Make sharing really easy.

The key to most apps’ success is how quickly you can make it go viral. Now there’s no secret formula for this, and if I’d cracked it, I’d be selling it for billions, not blogging about it. There are some simple things you can do however to aid that process and get a strong viral coefficient. It starts with making any sharing functionality you have very easy to access and accessible when the user would want to share it.

Leveraging any users network is powerful, so integrating with a user’s network on Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp for example are great tools and if placed appropriately will be used. What you’re looking to achieve is hammering home the value of your proposition, for the user to go… wow! I need to show someone this.

It’s at that exact point, your integrations or sharing mechanisms need to be there to help the user quickly and easily share that value. This is the creme de la crem of marketing for your start-up because it’s recommendations from trusted sources. You’ve not sold anything and your value is doing the talking. Get this right and you’re laughing.

Be aware of the unforeseen

So wrapping up this blog is a point that does a circle back to my opening comments. Building lean and validating as you go is key because I can’t stress it enough… there WILL be problems and new pieces of feedback that you wouldn’t of even thought of.

Keeping a lean mentality and process will help you deal with the unexpected, so you’re efficiently positioned to react appropriately.  This is the most proactive you can be in this situation and in all honesty, I wish my team and I had this mentality when we started. But that’s the power of hindsight and fortunately it’s not too late for us, so it’s exactly how we’ve been working for the past year.



February 9, 2018 StartupGuy0

The UNICEF Innovation Fund is looking to back early stage startups developing block chain based solutions with “the potential to benefit humanity”, offering up to US$90,000 in equity-free investment.

UNICEF has called for applications from startups developing software solutions on open block chains, and seeking seed finance of between US$50,000 and US$90,000.

Applicants must have a working, open source prototype – or be willing to make it open-source -, and showing promising results.  Areas of particular interest are smart contracts; analyzing data; tokens; and mining – although the opportunity is not limited to these.

“We are interested in companies that use distributed ledger tech in new, groundbreaking, ways that are scalable, and globally applicable,” UNICEF said.

Solutions must have the potential to positively impact the lives of children.

In addition to seed funding, UNICEF will provide technical assistance from the UNICEF Ventures team, which includes a dedicated blockchain lead and computer science team hosting and sharing data platforms.  Selected startups will also work with expert mentors, and be connected to UNICEF’s network in order to assist in scaling and maximising impact.

Applications are open here, until February 28.

This article was first published onDisrupt Africa



May 6, 2017 StartupGuy0

This month we’re starting our interview series. The fourth week of every month we’ll feature an interview with a different startup founder to give you all a peak into their lives, inspiration, and routines.

Today we’re featuring the one and only, founder of Afrivision, Tapuwa Mataruka. He’s pretty delightful, but don’t take my word for it, check out the interview below!

“With faith comes confidence, everything else meets there”

StartupGuy: Can you kindly give us a brief background of who you are and what your company does…

My name is Tapuwa Leo Mataruka, African born and raised. I was born in 1992, my birthday was actually yesterday (31 March). It’s scary when you stop counting with a youthful bliss. I’m getting older and the responsibilities and expectations mature daily. My company is an online and mobile educational media platform, for the people by the people. My company is called, Afrivision.

StartupGuy: Well happy belated birthday. Where did it all start? What sparked your interest to become an entrepreneur?

It all started when I was in grade two, I teamed up with two girls that used to create paper art, and sell them. Paper mats, paper planes etc. I was the sales man for their product. We made decent profits for our demands at the time. Frozen juice, sweets and chips. I think the interest was sparked by the ability to network and connect with a diverse group of people. If you cant relate, you won’t  sell. Im more driven by the thrill of building a business, from nothing, to an idea, to a service

StartupGuy: Speaking about sales,  how did you make your first sale when it comes to your startup?

First sales are always the hardest, you have no track record and the trust levels from potential customers are low, depending on how they size you based on their individual personal beliefs. There is always a barrier, depending on who you are dealing with it will range  from gender, race to nationality and ethnicity. I made my first sales by offering my service in return for marketing and brand awareness support. The initial focus was not revenue generation but awareness. My first sales were centered in mutually beneficial partnerships.

StartupGuy: How did you get credibility so quickly?

In all honesty credibility has been hard to attain. Building a network from scratch in a familiar place is hard, but in a foreign space you have so many other barriers to confront before you even gain attention from the average person. It always boils down to who you are, where you are, who you know and what they are willing to assist you with. For me gaining credibility has been a patient but hard process. It is through platforms like yours (Startup Mzansi) that small black run businesses like mine can gain traction. I did not want to gain credibility off selling ideas but selling products and thats a longer marathon.

StartupGuy: How did you develop key partnerships?

I started off with networking events, then partnerships with other starts ups. Once I was confident and secure enough to take the risk of sharing my idea on platforms I applied for entrepreneurship programs and competitions.

StartupGuy: I see that you have also been selected as part of the 1000 Africans on the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Development Programme for 2017, congratulations. Tell me, how did you get funded or what creative strategies did you use to execute on minimal cash flow?

I used my allowance money and savings for the first few months. Had to sell some of my musical equipment and games. I literally sold everything I could until it was unsustainable to run my business. I had to start applying to venture capitals who did not have favorable options so I had to just wait it out until random opportunities for partnerships came.

StartupGuy: What are the habits that helped make you successful?

Persistence, faith, ignorance to ignorance, delusions and rebellion. I wish they were all good but when you follow your intuition and your heart there is rarely any room for constant political correctness

StartupGuy: What mindsets helped make your successful?

My high school motto, “With faith comes confidence, everything else meets there.”

StartupGuy: How did you distinguish yourself from your competitors?

I do not believe in competition, its either there is room for a mutually beneficial partnership or we are not running the same race.

StartupGuy: What was your biggest mistake?

Not being able to leave the university of Cape Town with my degree in Computer Science and Business Computing.

StartupGuy: How did you deal with failure?

It was hard in all honesty. It was confusing, on one end I had learnt crucial life lessons. I had come to know who I am, what I want to achieve and had drawn a step closer to my purpose. On the other had I had failed to fulfill personal and societal expectations. It was bitter sweet because I would have never learnt the lessons I did if I did not believe in myself first before the system but believing in the system before yourself also has its perks. I’m still dealing in all honesty, but each day brings a brighter sunrise.

StartupGuy: How did you learn from that failure?

I learned that things are not always as great as they are painted, there is usually a huge double standard between what is taught and what is actually going on. Believe in yourself, you have a purpose, and a passion under everything you have been told you are that does not resonate with your DNA. Nothing worth it comes easy.

StartupGuy: What was unexpected?

Everything, I didnt think a person with ideas to unite and create partnerships would face such resistance. No one cares about you, in all honesty we are all on a journey to fulfillment in a world that has told us we cant do it together. At the end of the day you are all alone, just like how you came to be.

StartupGuy: What would you have done differently?

It’s a hard one because on one side there was so much to learn and gain but on the other there was so much pain and depression. I think when going to varsity I would have focused more on the institution culture than the global rating. Ratings are always endorsed by a certain agenda, if you do not fall within that agenda that rating does not apply to you.

StartupGuy: How did you test your assumptions?

I came to know another word for assumption is ignorance. You do not know until you have walked and lived it, at least ask and research.

StartupGuy: How can you minimize the unknowns?

I cant minimize the unknowns but I can maximize on the knowns, who I am, what I want to achieve.

StartupGuy: Any last words?

Challenges will come and go, the aim… is to stay afloat irregardless of the wave – big or small.

That’s it folks! Thanks for sharing your inspiration with us, Tapuwa. All the best with your startup endeavors. We hope you enjoy your R15K digital marketing spend with Simple Brands.

If you’re running your own startup and would like to be featured on Startup Magazine, please write to us at hello@startupmagazine.co.za.

If you need more information about Startup Mzansi, please visit www.startupmzansi.org.za or write to at hello@startupmzansi.org.za.



December 20, 2016 StartupGuy0

Organized by Bonjour Idée with the support of 50+ partners (international corporations, incubators, chambers of commerce, media, competitive centers, influential blogs), Startup of the Year® is a competition for innovative African startups. While shedding light on disruptive startups, this competition is meant to add value to the partners’ actions at the heart of the entrepreneurial ecosystem of innovation and startups, and put them in contact with innovative startups.

 

Eligibility Criteria

The competition is free and open to all startups meeting the following criteria:

  • Have legal status (a registration number will be required)
  • Headquartered in Africa to be chosen as the “African Startup of the Year” and for “OCP Agritech Special Award”.

No geographical restrictions for the other awards are required.

  • The Startup foundation date has to be from 1 january 2010

The Rewards

The “Startup of the Year/Africa – 2017” Judging Panel’s Awards:

  • 1st Prize: a cheque for €10,000 and a €10,000 communications package (featured on bonjouridee.com, communications campaign in the press and on social media). The winning startup will be networked with all the competition partners
  • The panel’s award for its favourite entry: A €10,000communications package . The winning startup will be networked with all the competition partners

The Public’s Awards

  • 1st Prize as voted by the public (1st position in the #TOP100 after the public vote): a cheque for €2,000, Bonjour Idée communication package and the startup will be put in contact with all the competition partners
  • 2nd – 5th Prizes as voted by the public: Bonjour Idée’ communication package.

The Partners’ Special Awards

In addition to the judging panel and the public awards, our partners will grant Special Awards, each one accompanied by a cheque for up to €5,000, support packages and Bonjour Idée communicationpackage.

  • OCP Agritech Special Award which will be given to an innovative agricultural startup.
  • The SNCF Destination Africa Special Award which will be given to an international startup willing to settle in Africa.
  • The African Diaspora Special Award which will be given to a startup founded by an African diaspora member .

 

The calendar

  • 9 November 2016 from 10am ‘til midday official launch event conference for the Startup of the Year/Africa 2017 competition, held at COP 22 in Marrakech (Morocco)
  • Until 31 December 2016: call for applications and online submissions
  • from 2 ‘til 15 January 2017:Public vote to determine the public’s top 100 startups.
  • 26 January 2017: Conference and awards ceremony in Casablanca, Morocco.

 

The process continues throughout the year, promoting African startups and monitoring actions undertaken by partners as part of open innovation programmes to support entrepreneurship and innovation in Africa.

More Information

Visit the Official Webpage of the African Startup of the year