Uber Killing Our Local Startups


Thank you for the insight and reflection. I enjoyed reading your posts and yes you have made alot of points. Still I feel like you are trying to find middle ground, but the truth is there is no middle ground. It is what it is. We are being conquered all over again. Just like how there are many ways to skin a cat, there are many ways to ban a foreigner app/startup from dominating our local apps/startups. Like you said [quote=“OoTheNigerian, post:121, topic:2267”]
FWIW, those in Silicon Valley to not play “fair”. They prefer a certain type. However they will not ban you. They will not fun you but you are welcome to play.
[/quote] Isn’t this indirectly banning competitors? Isn’t banning sort of like the same thing as barriers to entry? They are banning as well, they just do it subtly. Also please understand my definition of foreigner is anything non-African. Im all for Africans apps/startups making money in Nigeria, because it helps Africa go from a dark continent to a light one. It is the so called West who have been oppressing us and abusing us for centuries first physically, then economically and now they wanna oppress us digitally and mentally, that I have a problem with. All of this open source software comes at a cost. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Everything comes at a price. Just because we are using something that is free or open source doesn’t mean that we are not paying something back in return. In case you don’t know this is the 21st century and in the 21st century, DATA IS THE NEW OIL. . People look at Wikipedia for history and Facebook/Twitter for news. Can’t you see that history is being rewritten digitally and if we are not careful, the truth will be hidden? Our culture will be erased. I just don’t see how anybody can support foreigners taking over us.


Good question. I guess I needed to have built apps, and websites and services to make a point, right?I am not here to publish my CV. The gra-gra effect to always want to push things just to say you’ve done stuff.

Well, I won’t say. When you know what I have done/doing, you will know. I’ll rather take my time, build something important than roll out slew of services that don’t matter. Have fun.


Thats why I think we are on a different page. Im posting or making comments through experience. Like I use to think like you but now Ive seen the truth.


Dude you don’t know me and I don’t intend to project any notion. Because I have not listed stuff I have been part of in one capacity or the other, doesn’t mean otherwise. But if it rocks your boat that I have no experience in these things, have fun.


My comment was not an attack on you and neither does it rock my boat that you don’t have experience. I was just trying to let you know why we see things differently. Its not a matter of you are right and Im wrong or vice versa, its a matter of having different perspectives on the same situation.


@davidsmith8900 So he thinks differently because you have some experience trying to duplicate SV success and failed but he’s refraining to respond to your request for his resume? The way you jump into conclusions says a lot about every point you have tried to make on this and many other threads on this forum.

Do you think that maybe it is an inferiority complex thing? Like most Africans (or Nigerians) don’t really believe in their own product?

Yes I see you peddling that all over the place. Like someone said to me offline earlier this afternoon, you make it seem like people open websites, go to the about us page, see a bunch of Nigerian names (or a Nigerian address), and then decide to not use the service.

Anecdotes below (and this isn’t because of some lame resume call out, but to provide counter arguments)

In 2007, a group of friends and I came up with the idea of creating a service to make it easy to buy recharge cards online. I mean, at the time it was rather interesting… plus only two other people provided such a service - rechargenigeria.com and one other whose name eludes me right now. Anyway, we tried to differentiate by offering this wallet of a thing where you could put funds in to buy recharge cards via SMS or by flashing a number because we assumed that more often than not when you run out of credit and need it the most, you probably don’t have internet access. I mean, it was 2007 - most people were connected only while at work. This (reloadng.com) worked out quite well, and in less than 3 months, we already had over 10,000 subscribers that had spent money on the platform with at least 1000 regularly using the flash service. A few months down the line, we were doing over a million in transactions per week. Unfortunately, this took a toll on us. MTN was everyone’s favourite network and they were literally the only ones who didn’t deem it worthy to provide us with their vouchers in softcopy. We had to buy cards in bulk, scratch them, and feed into the database. Profits were meagre even at that scale and didn’t justify the effort being put into keeping the service running. The purse was spurn out into its own payment gateway (softpurse.com) with APIs and all so subscribers could spend their money on other websites that cared to integrate it and the recharge service was shutdown a few months after. Turns out people only funded their accounts primarily to buy recharge cards (obviously) and weren’t really interested in conducting other transactions online. We kept it alive anyway for the next couple of months - till early 2010, I think.

A couple of random enterprise projects for corporate clients after, I decided to take a stab at something public facing again. Armed with lessons learnt from Softpurse, we created a more simplistic payment gateway without a purse but let merchants accept payments from cardholders without having to integrate Interswitch/Etranzact/Unified payments themselves and called it Eyowo. This fared pretty well via word of mouth only and in the time it ran for, I am not sure of the specific numbers right now, it processed over 30m in transactions and was used by sites like Gigalayer, etc. I had a fallout with my partners and quit before joining Jobberman some months after. Eyowo died a natural death, as it was only run by a team of three - @leslie on the frontend and @Tolu on customer success and helping with integrations, both of whom quit shortly after I did with no one else from the company equipped to support or improve the product.

These are my successes and eventual failures. They highlight the fact that we found a need, provided a solution, and milked it because people used our products. Also, the failures had nothing to do with any foreigner playing on our turf. Eyowo could have still been alive today were it not for greed and other random shit I would rather not put out here. Those are totally local factors.

There is a reason why I sometimes come off as harsh when I criticize products that are posted here - differentiation, and execution. It’s cool to want to build the next social network or the next e-commerce website. What isn’t cool is to think your naive approach to the ‘problem’ is going to impress anyone and draw users. A lot of developers I have met have this idea of “if you build it, they will come” and forget about the legwork side of things. Like, oh… let’s build a service that will connect everyday people with artisans. Who signs the artisans up on the site? Who acts as the actual broker between the artisans and their clients? Everybody is a techie and wants to write code at the expense of the real dirty work involved. Some foreign backed company comes along with a real plan and eats your lunch, and then you cry “Uber killed my startup”.

Come on, let’s get real please.

@MistaMajani No. Those “small niche apps” you see on my profile are just random personal projects from back when I created that page - 2008, I think. I am not scavenging for scraps. Some of us just like to hack at stuff and don’t delude ourselves into thinking we have created a product. :blush:

Edit: My longest post on Radar so far and I didn’t use the word “fuck”. Proud of myself maybe. :smiley:
PS: Payments is still a real and interesting problem to solve in Nigeria today and I am definitely interested in getting on board with anyone looking to do so, pro bono. A couple of friends over at Paystack are on to something interesting and are worth keeping an eye out for.

Zoto is the last Nigerian airtime recharge app you will install

Well personally Im impressed with your work and past achievements. I’ve never once thought of your intense ideas and most likely I’ll never will. You are pretty much diligent and patience in your occupation n patience is something I don’t have. LIke other developers, Im looking for a fast way to get out of poverty. Nonetheless I still think that your opinion is wrong about how foreign (non-African) startups dominance over local startups turf is okay (and that might not change), but I respect and admire your past accomplishments. Please keep up the good work and continue to inspire us all with your achievements, accomplishments and goals but not with that ‘LET SILICON VALLEY STARTUPS TAKEOVER AFRICA’ mindset.

Also for the record there is a difference between people SEEING THINGS DIFFERENTLY & THINKING THINGS DIFFERENTLY. When I was replying to akindolu with an open heart and love, I said that WE SEE THINGS DIFFERENTLY, not that WE THINK DIFFERENTLY. N I wasn’t calling him out or anyone else for their resume neither was I in attack mode. I plainly asked if they had created apps/startups, main reason being that I will love to see the magic that they are using to become successful so that I can use it as well. They could let me know what Babalawo they are going to so that I can go to that Babalawo as well but for some reason, everybody is not doing good and yet we have some supporting foreign (non-African) startups over local startups. It’s not adding up to me.


In summary, you want to copy other people’s work with ease


This thread needs to die a natural death right now!

@davidsmith8900 buddy, you’ve got to let it lie. Attaboy!


In-between brilliant run from @xolubi. I think you’ve earned your stripes to a lifetime store of ‘fucks’.

(Either way its interpreted I think that’s a ‘good’ thing, innit? :smiley: )


Last time I checked it was called the world wide web.

You’re not entitled to a particular audience because they come from the same country as you.


…Now the getting you on board part , really interesting…how do we reach out?


Start by sending him a message on radar


Bros, you need to to kill that attitude asap. It’s that kind of mentality that hampers innovation and true problem solving. I dey take God beg you, stop looking for “get rich quick” schemes and try to build something of real value.


don’t kill that attitude. its that kind of mentality that accelerates innovations…

Who told you only developers are trying to make money using their computers… stop the one sided thinking… there are easier ways to earn without learning how to code. Coding just gives you the ability to create a product… Creating products is a very important skill.

Go and read sites about making money… stop wasting your time on radar trying to understand why some people don’t see any value in locally made products…
we all have different opinions whether the opinions favors you does not matter…

You need to accept the fact that there are people who just don’t like anything locally made no matter how good it is…



I feel you fam and I will definitely follow your advice. Happy Friday to you.


This is the saddest thing I have read on Radar. You cannot be world class if you see software development as a “fast way to get out of poverty”. The work is slow, and unfun, and hard, and deliberate. It is not fast but if you keep at it and you are lucky - you will get out of poverty. However it is a consequence - not an aim. Focus first on impact.


I’ll agree with @iaboyeji on this. I’ve read most of this thread with disdain. It may just be a personal opinion, but I think “There is no right way to do things, everything just has it’s own advantages and disadvantages which you must come to terms with”. People tend to cut important corners to make the quick buck. I think our second-hand attitude to business is faulty, even from the grassroot level. I study philosophy because it shows us how things can be, as opposed to how things should be. In the grand scheme of things, I think if you produce something of value, actual value, which has to do with solving a problem, physical, communication, psychological etc, people will subscribe if it solves their problem. Tech is not an end in itself, it’s a means to solving a real-world-end. The problem is in the streets, not in the cloud. If you don’t set out with the intention to solve an actual problem, you’ll end up with yet another mediocre app. Your tech is not about you, It’s about who it’s made for.


I need to frame this comment :relieved:


I am putting my money where my mouth is and moving my site which consumes 2TB bandwidth per month to local hosting. http://angani.co


because uber didnt start the way they are today in quality doesnt mean we should also start bad too:
Why dont u build the 2005 thefacebook and expect people to use it in 2015?
or preferably build the 2010 smartphones and expect to 2015 users to use it. atleast a 2013 model will still make be okay