#CNNAfrica: How To Take Your Startup To The Next Level

CNN’s African Start-Up hosted a Twitter chat on how to take your startup to the next level on January 14 2015 with Rebecca Enonchong, founder of AppsTech, Juliana Rotich, executive director of Ushahidi Inc and BRCK CEO Erik Hersman for a lively debate.

 
Here’s a recap of what you missed.
 
Q1
What advice would you give to your younger self about launching a tech startup? #CNNAfrica
 
A1
 
Being young and crazy really helps when building your startup. When you’re older you think too much and don’t take risks #cnnafrica
 

— Rebecca Enonchong (@africatechie) 

 

Prototype, prototype, prototype #CNNAfrica

— Juliana Rotich (@afromusing)

 

Remember that building a business is a long-game, it doesn’t happen overnight, so plan to be doing it for a while.

— Erik Hersman (@whiteafrican)

 
Q2
What are the most common errors entrepreneurs make while growing their biz? How can they be avoided?
 
A2
We don’t test (or even ask) our customers what they want enough. Get out and talk to your customers.
— Erik Hersman (@whiteafrican)
 
Doing what they want instead of what the customers want. Understand your customer base. Don’t assume.
— Juliana Rotich (@afromusing)
 
Q3 (Adapted)
What do you look for in potential recruits?
 
A3
I have a “Star Wars Theory” of hiring, I look for people who are gifted, but unknown, and they can make their name with me.
— Erik Hersman (@whiteafrican)
 
Conscientiousness, suitability and yes – a great attitude 🙂 +
— Juliana Rotich (@afromusing)
 
     Q4
How do you get investors interested in your business?
 
A4
Investors want to see a prototype, build something before you ask for money.
— Erik Hersman (@whiteafrican)
 
Tell your story as best & as clearly as possible. Show how you solve a problem & the market you are after
— Juliana Rotich (@afromusing)
 
Topic 5
The discussion then tackled the topic of selling early or holding out for a bigger exit:
 
A5
It really depends. Talk to your team, advisers, investors. I held out and lived to regret it. If the deal is good, go for it
— Rebecca Enonchong (@africatechie) 
 
Look at your projections. If they show you are better off selling, then sell. Hold out if it shows there are better offers.
— Gossy Ukanwoke  (@gossyomega
 
Topic 6
The importance of mentors and the qualities they can bring to a business
 
A6
Having a mentor helps you to see the big picture. Sometimes also provides psychological support. Can’t be underestimated
— Rebecca Enonchong (@africatechie) 
 
A great mentor brings perspective and objectivity to a startup.
— Erik Hersman (@whiteafrican)
 
A good mentor will allow an entrepreneur the space to rationalise their thought processes, encourage them to aim high & think big
— Ronke Lawal (@ronkelawal) 
 
Question 7
What’s the best way to promote your tech startup? And how important is it to attract media attention?
 
A7
The currency that will get your product/service the right side of the media is INTEGRITY
— Ruth (@olurounbi) 
 
I’ve always found that between blogging and twitter, that you don’t need to do traditional PR.
— Erik Hersman (@whiteafrican)
 
Promoting to attract investors/customers is a good idea. But be careful not to get distracted by media attention!
— Rebecca Enonchong (@africatechie) 
 
Topic 8
About joining an incubator/ accelerator?
 
A8
Absolutely!! If you have the opportunity to be incubated please do it! The support you will receive is invaluable!
— Rebecca Enonchong (@africatechie) 
 
(Part 1/2) Tech incubators can be amazing for some startups, and entirely unnecessary for others (or even harmful).
— Erik Hersman (@whiteafrican)
 
Topic 8
About Africa’s Tech Sector?
 
A8
Africa is the last “blue ocean” for tech, the opportunities here are huge. Why would you choose anywhere else?
— Erik Hersman (@whiteafrican)
 
You have a chance to build platforms, ecosystems and products for a unique market. You learn a lot!
— Juliana Rotich (@afromusing)
 
Entrepreneurs are always told to think outside the box. In Africa, we have no box. Leads to ingenuity and creativity.
— Rebecca Enonchong (@africatechie) 
 
The chat ended beautifully, and a few persons had some remarks
 
Startups r key to solving some real problems, finance is still a prob..a grt story + mentor + prototype cn help
— Dieu-Donne Gameli (@donnaeo) 
 
1. U need a mentor. 2. Don’t hesitate 2 sell out if d parameters are right. 3. Own ur technology from d get go
— Ruth (@olurounbi) 

Join the debate on social networks …


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