I scoff each time I hear people criticizing or condemning Africa startups as a bunch of copy cat. This isn't because I'm trying to join the league of so called disruptive entrepreneurs in Africa. But, like Bankole Oluwafemi, founder of Big Cabal Media- stated during MTN Business Half hour on classic fm that if Jack Ma, Alibaba founder had felt starting China's Amazon(Alibaba) is so imitating and doesn't come from the real needs of China. He wouldn't have been a man who is and had been re-writing the history of China. One might actually need to rethink his/her views looking at the rate Alibaba has grown over the years and even surpassing early companies in e-Commerce sector.
There is no gain saying that replicating foreign startups into the Africa continent is such not a good thing to do. Seemingly, it's pertinent for Africa startup founders to know when building/replicating a foreign startup. They must be cognizant of the fact that no problem is peculiar to Africa continent.
Now, it seems Uber has competitor wherever it turns. Uber this-Uber that has been the most song have heard in Nigeria/Africa tech ecosystem this year. You hear things like, Uber for education, Uber for food, Uber for clothing, Uber for travels, Uber for healthcare, etc. This might probably be a good way to connote your startups to your workers, people, and potential investors but it's vacuous. It's downheartning when Africa founders are being blind folded in wrestling with the enormous problems facing the Africa continent. Very few Africa startup founders built their company in addressing a global issue. It's high time Africa founders began to build/provide solutions to universal/global issues and also see themselves/startups has one trying to create a better universe than beating the drum of the next wave in Africa.
Having read an article by Victor Asemota titled "Is There a Market for Homegrown Technology in Nigeria?" I was compel to believe scalability should be a watchword of African founders than funding. He noted that "I think we miss the point of sudden investor interest in Nigeria. It is all about the market. We should be selling demand and showing market potential, instead of making the conversations all about money and location of start-up offices". This further attest to Femi Longe, CcHub co founder statement during #Winsiders4good fellowship program press briefing by Microsoft.
It's arguably right that starting a business in Nigeria is like a camel trying to pass through a needle eye but if one can appease the gods of (Yaba) the land and learn the Yaba way, one might actually be doing his/her self some good. Asemota thinks "the real market for Nigerian technology is not just Nigeria; it is Global". I believe until Africa startup founders realize no problem is peculiar to Africa continent, they won't join the league of champions.
Big ups to Andela, IrokoTv, and Afrostream and the likes who have over the years taken it upon themselves not just to be Africa giant(startups).