Michael Seibel CEO of Y Combinator visits Nigeria + 5 Tips For Entrepreneurs

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It’s no news that Mark Zuckerberg visited Nigeria and Kenya some weeks ago; and just this week, Nigeria played host to Michael Seibel and Qasar Younis; the CEO and partners of Y Combinator – a California-based startup accelerator that has funded Dropbox, Airbnb, Reddit and over 1,000 other tech startups. Known as the most powerful startup incubator in the world, Y Combinator’s visit to Nigeria further validates the country’s growing tech-startup ecosystem.

The world is evolving and entrepreneurs are becoming innovative in solving social problems using technology. Earlier this week, Y Combinator’s CEO Michael Seibel visited Ventures Platform – an Abuja-based tech hub and here are 5 important tips he shared to entrepreneurs during his visit:

  1. If you’re in the startup game, a lot of people are going to fail – There is a high failure rate of 90% for startups and this can be discouraging for any budding entrepreneur. A report from Fortune states that most of the failure is attributed to entrepreneurs making products that nobody wants. In some cases, the market is simply not ready for the product at the time of launch. As an entrepreneur, it is important to validate your business idea, ensuring that your target market is in need of your product and are prepared to quickly accept it once it becomes available.
  2. Don’t be intimidated by big problems – Running a new venture, particularly in Africa’s tough business terrain comes with many challenges. Don’t let this stop you from persevering. Discover what the problems are, and work consistently towards finding innovative measures to solve them over a period of time.
  3. It doesn’t matter how fancy the product is, as long as you’re solving a real problem – When building a product, it is easy to be carried away by aesthetics, rather than on the core functions of a product. Many entrepreneurs invest time and resources in creating a fancy product, forgetting that if the product doesn’t add value or solve a real problem, it probably won’t last. Focus on building a great product that works, before worrying about the aesthetics. Don’t put the cart before the horse.

  4. You don’t need permission to build a billion dollar company – In today’s digital space, the sky is the limit. Entrepreneurs in Africa’s emerging market may fear that their business idea is not relevant or has already been implemented in a more developed market.  However, this is the beauty of technology. It is always evolving and there are so many opportunities in the continent’s emerging markets. Don’t seat down waiting for a million-dollar funding from an angel investor. Focus on building and perfecting your product, services and brand. Constantly find ways within your means to improve on what you have and with time you will attract the right investors and partners to scale up.

  5. If you’re confused about explaining your product, think about your user experience – In launching a new product, you must test the user experience (UX) from end-to-end. The user experience in a nutshell is your users’ interaction with your product and it forms part of the design process. According to an article on design shack, the UX is the emotional  connection and experience a user feels when using a site or product. In building a product, you must first see yourself as a user because it tests the product’s feasibility.

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