Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Interesting ideas and the upcoming tech boom

Africa is being touted as the next frontier and word on the ground is that by 2010 they'll be a tech boom in Kenya. All signs seem to point to this happening:
  1. Explosive growth of the mobile industry
  2. Internet penetration in most areas.
  3. Economic growth of at least 5.5% ( hasn't trickled down to the common man "mwananchi" but am told that this takes time..how long?!?!..).
  4. ICT sector becoming a major investment area for locals as well as foreign companies. Dimension Data, one of the largest It companies in Africa recently acquired a major stake in ICL a local IT company owned by the Sameer Group.
  5. The recent visit by some Google directors which highlighted Kenya as a significant partner within the region.

With this in mind I had a very interesting discussion with a colleague (i call him Hoolio) of mine yesterday and what he told me really wet my appetite. We met in Westlands, a leafy suburb in Nairobi, at around 4pm and proceeded to head to K1 (Klubhouse) since Sohos (apparently a classy joint) was closed for the National Holiday (Heroes day).

On the way there we ended up talking about the YouTube/Google acquisition which had escaped me since I hadn't had the chance to access the blogosphere. We then sat down, and over a few drinks, Hoolio proceeded to explain to me what his vision was and where I fit in the whole picture, basically we are supposed to form a team and grow a web based brand from a local name to an international brand complete with TV show and magazine, the exciting thing about the whole venture is that we Will be backed up by one of the largest and most successful companies in the region.

We didn't go into the legalities but our "financial and technical" backers would own 51% of the company brand since they did come up with it. We would be put on a basic salary (I had the figure and believe me you its a basic salary) by the VC firm as we get the business up and running and eventually grow it to the point of self-sustainability, this was a major selling point for me since at the end of the day we all have to pay bills and eat and having an income while working on a dream/vision really eases those worries.

The advantage of having a major company as a partner cannot be overstated, it gives us access to their technical and managerial know how, business contacts necessary to open doors and close deals and the "muscle" to actually get things done. The head of the company is a major IT visionary and has a wealth of experience in pioneering IT projects that have put the company in a league of its own.

The opportunity presented to me enables me to be part of something that grow into a well known brand, you rarely get chances like this presented to you. I would have the opportunity to build an application and in time head my own team, an exciting opportunity whichever way you look at it.

Hoolio is waiting for my feedback today and the next few days will be very crucial...check here for updates...

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

The idea of piggy banking on an established company seems great since big and established companies are able to open doors easily. But word of caution is: tread carefully its easy to lose you goals or vision when overshadowed. It’s prudent to have the relationship mutually beneficial for both parties concerned. I’d say go for it. I think the idea that you have has an explosive potential. Good timing you have my friend.

Africa definitely present an interesting case in the IT since it frog leaped to where it is now. Other economies had to go through the motions. Crawl, take baby steps, and walk. Here in Africa we just had to jump and start running.

Culturally we love to communicate. We love to talk and exchange ideas. This definitely excites IT people especially when it comes to convergence media as many more Africans will want to share what they seen or read with others.

Bizz Bee said...

The idea of piggy banking on an established company seems great since big and established companies are able to open doors easily. But word of caution is: tread carefully its easy to lose you goals or vision when overshadowed. It’s prudent to have the relationship mutually beneficial for both parties concerned. I’d say go for it. I think the idea that you have has an explosive potential. Good timing you have my friend.

Africa definitely present an interesting case in the IT since it frog leaped to where it is now. Other economies had to go through the motions. Crawl, take baby steps, and walk. Here in Africa we just had to jump and start running.

Culturally we love to communicate. We love to talk and exchange ideas. This definitely excites IT people especially when it comes to convergence media as many more Africans will want to share what they seen or read with others.