The technology ecosystem in Nigeria has failed so far to deliver the number of multi-million dollar exits that we have seen in other emerging markets like India and Brazil. Many solutions fail to reach scale.
This is probably due to a whole number of factors. But according to CB Insights, the number one reason why start-ups fail is ‘no market need for the product’. In other words, there was no customer/not enough customers.
This article will be taking a deep dive into the successes and failures of the ecosystem whilst trying to understand the market size/characteristics in Nigeria.
Who is the market?
Lets explore some statistical facts about the local market which may give an indication as to the different characteristics of the markets we need to be innovating for:
1. According to the World Bank there are almost 200m citizens in Nigeria.
This should mean a thriving market for consumer products. However, even established companies like Proctor & Gamble and PZ Cussons with their multi-million dollar market research teams, focus groups & decades global experience, seem to have misunderstood this market as this video explains.
According to the research presented, the number one concern from the average Nigerian consumer is price.
2. According to the NDIC, 98% of Nigerians have less than N500,000 ($1,250) in their accounts. And of course you have to consider the fact that the poorest Nigerians are unbanked.
Anything you are selling to the average Nigerian is competing with food.
On average nearly 60% of a Nigerians income is spent on food. But this average is spread across all segments including the rich. So we can assume that most Nigerians are spending 80%-90% of their income on food.
In the North-East of Nigeria, 121% of income is spent on food.
3. In India, there are almost 60,000 millionaires in Mumbai city alone.
This is important because it gives us an indication of the amount of wealth (and therefore spending power in the high end segment) in each of these cities.
4. Over half of card transactions occur in Lagos State according to Interswitch
5. A total of 15.2 million passengers passed through Nigerian airports in 2018, another pointer to the size of the Nigerian middle class. Compared to the 341 million passengers, that passed through Indian airports during the same period.
6. Size of the economy in Nigeria is about $400bn vs the state of California at $3tr
7. The biggest companies on the American stock exchange are companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon. They sell Internet search services, cloud storage services, e-commerce services. They continue to launch new ventures that specialize in advanced robotics and artificial intelligence.
The biggest company on the Nigerian stock exchange sells salt/sugar/pasta and cement. In the next two years, he will be launching a petrol company. Not artificially intelligent petrol, not 3-d printed petrol. The ordinary type that JD. Rockefeller was selling 100 yrs ago. There seems to be a marked difference in terms of market needs/what people will pay for. Alhaji understands the market and therefore continues to win.
Tech companies that have scaled successfully in Nigeria to $1b include MTN (a cell phone company) and Interswitch (A payments provider).
Notable non-tech companies that have achieved this scale include companies like Dufil foods (Instant noodles) and Chivita (A cheap juice drink aimed at poorer Nigerians).
To scale in Nigeria products need to be affordable, accessible and acceptable as I described in my article, how to make $1bn in Nigeria.
8. Nigeria is one of only 8 ‘World Bank red zones’. These are the only countries on the planet where GDP per capita (an indicator of individual share of wealth) has fallen steadily over the past 20 years.
So how can tech start-ups analyze, understand and categorize the market, so that we don’t make the same mistakes that the blue chips (referenced in the Coronation Research video above) made over the previous decade?
This article from Indian entrepreneur Sajith Pai, provides some insights. He divides in India into four mini India’s; India I, India II and India III.
India I is the upper class earning $9k per annum( N3.5m yearly ).They number about 110m (roughly 25% of airport passengers) and there are many tech start ups designed to cater to them.
They have to be super-targeted. He calls the start ups that cater to the super rich segment of India I , ‘avocado start ups’.
This article from Livemint, tries to analyse why so many Indian start ups are focused on this super rich segment, that is virtually non-existent in Nigeria.
It quotes Satyen Kothari an entrepreneur who started a mass market payment service, which he recently had to spin off into a wealth management tool for the rich, as saying:
“If you look at discretionary income, where people are able to spend beyond basic needs, that is only with 50–100 million customers. The per capita income of the rest of the country is too low to support discretionary spends. If one wants to build a business in India that makes sense and has hopes of being profitable you need to have customers who pay for convenience”
He goes on to say something very instructive for Nigerian tech innovators and investors:
“You may want to build mass market businesses,but pretty soon you realize that the unit economics become prohibitive. India doesn’t have the spending power or infrastructure or ecosystem yet to support profitable businesses on the internet for the masses”
However, these start-ups often find themselves looking for growth beyond this segment and that’s where it gets tricky.
India II is the regular working class Indian. The equivalent of the middle class Nigerian.They have jobs. A proportion own smart phones. They number about, 104m in India.
Few start-ups in India have been able to move from serving India I clients to India II clients as India II clients are significantly poorer. In Nigeria, tech companies like whataspp and facebook have been able to service them; however, I am not sure whether they have been able to profit from them.
India III are what we call in Nigeria ‘the masses’ . The bulk of the Nigerian population is poor, semi-literate, analogue & can only afford very basic needs.
The Addressable Market
Uday Marepalli shares some useful market insights that we should all consider when trying to figure out what the addressable market is for a particular product.
The most interesting statement that he makes that that:
There is a massive difference between people coming online and transacting online
He also goes on to point out that of the India’s top 41 private consumer Internet companies, only one generated a profit in the fiscal year ended March 2016.
In 2016, 60 million people shopped online in India; 14% of the total internet user base.
Nigeria also has the additional problem of data costs. The cost of 1GB in Nigeria is roughly $2.78, compared to $0.26/GB India. So internet is over five times as expensive in Nigeria compared to India which makes a huge difference for poorer customers.
Vikram’s tweet looks at various data points to try to establish a rough idea of the addressable market for a B2C business in India, which he estimates as circa 50m.
India is not our mate in terms of market size, in any of the three customer segments
To make things more difficult.
India has FAR more rich people. But Nigeria has more extremely poor people.
It is estimated that there are about 110m Indians (India I) with income above $9000 per year. This demographic makes up the bulk of the market for Indian tech products, its responsible for the large exits and the rapidly scaling products.
However, according to Mckinsey & Co, only 2m people in Nigeria have purchasing power and annual incomes over $10,000.
This means the size of Nigeria I is 2m compared to India I’s 110m!!!
Products aimed solely at Nigeria I ,would almost certainly fail to scale, unless they are super-targeted.
So we are left with Nigeria II & Nigeria III.
Nigeria II probably number about 80–92m. The start-ups of the mobility mafia; uber, bolt, gokada; to some extent, Jumia, Konga primarily target the bottom half of Nigeria I and the top half of the Nigeria II market in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities (Warri/Ibadan/Kano/Calabar/Abeokuta).Many struggle as this segment is large, but more fragmented that I.
Also Nigeria I&II, sometimes want different things, so its very difficult to serve them simultaneously.
A Nigeria I client would complain about the type of cars used on Uber for example. But obviously there are not enough people in Nigeria I to justify an Uber black service. However, Uber even at its low price point and with the ‘low’ standard of cars used, still remains a luxury for people in Nigeria II.
My Igbo brother and blueberry shopping partner Emeka Okoye said this in an article for Quartz ‘E-commerce did not come up in Nigeria because there was an opportunity, it came up became it was hot globally”
According to the World Poverty Clock there are over 90m people living in extreme poverty, they live on less than $2 per day and make up the bulk of Nigeria III. They can’t afford food, have limited access to clean water and education and don’t own smart phones.
There are services like GTB *737 that serve all segments to some extent. E-banking income at GTB, according the the last report was up N9.59bn in 2018.
However, surprisingly First Bank still takes more total deposits than GTB on a yearly basis. Nigerian banks function by taking as many deposits as possible them investing them in risk free assets like government treasuries.
The physical infrastructure; bank branches that First Bank has in the most remote parts of Nigeria are still providing the bank with an massive advantage. This is despite the fact that GTB’s product offers more of an advantage in terms of speed and convenience.
So what can innovators, dreamers and investors glean from these insights?
6 things to think about when innovating for scale in the Nigerian market
A lot of Nigerian techies complain that the quality of advice local investors/mentors give is terrible. They prefer the often unrealistic advice that the Silicon Valley investors who have never stepped foot in Africa give them.
The truth is most silicon valley investors have never invested in businesses outside the state of California. Many of them are deceiving you, not out of malice, but because they don’t realise the huge leg up a mature democracy with lots of cash to spend on research (Oga Donald Trump just invested $1.5bn in Quantum Computing), strong institutions, great infrastructure, security, freedom and the largest consumer class on the planet give them.
JP Morgan, an American bank holds more in assets than the entire GDP of Africa. The state of California itself with just about 30m citizens has a larger economy, than all 54 countries in Africa with their different languages, cultures, currencies, trade barriers and security issues, combined.
That means a tech company that scales in California is operating in a larger economy than a tech company that has scaled to every single country in Africa.
We cannot compare ourselves to America in terms of the size of the economy they have to work with or the exact way their tech ecosystem runs. In fact as you have seen from this article, even Indians (yes the place you have been calling ‘ordinary’ India) are NOT our mates. They have a much larger consumer class, better infrastructure and are way ahead in terms of skills/talent.
This tech ecosystem in Africa will develop, with some learning from India, maybe even some from America,but largely due to to our own home grown skills, our big dreamers, our entrepreneurial ingenuity and most importantly DEEP understanding of our market.
That’s all I have for you today. Remain blessed. Selah.
Is been a while since we released any of our Tips and Tricks Article. But recently, we have been receiving lot sof complaints regarding mobile phone batteries so we decided to publish this article.
Many phone users tend to complain that their device’s batteries discharge quickly. They also typically blame the product manufacturer for this issue; however, the manufacturer isn’t always at fault. Here are some five mistakes that users typically make when charging their phones.
Waiting for the Battery to reach low levels before charging
Avoid waiting for your battery to reach a critically low level before charging. The effect of this on your phone battery is not immediate, but over time it begins to manifest and it eventually stresses out your phone battery (yes, batteries get stressed too) and shortens the battery life. Think of your battery as a human body, you really don’t need to wait until you’re about to die before you rest and eat to recharge yourself.
Keeping your phone case on while charging
Your phone typically emits heat when charging. To avoid exposing your device to ambient temperatures, it’s advisable to remove the phone case while charging your phone so that the heat emitted from your phone while charging can escape. This way you can prevent your device from becoming hotter and potentially overheating when charging. Charging your battery at uncomfortable temperatures can permanently damage battery capacity.
Charging your phone in the wrong places
You should mind where you charge your phone, because not doing so can negatively affect your battery capacity. Phones have a temperature range they can function normally and charging your phone in a hot area can raise the temperature and stress the battery out. Also, charging your phone in especially low temperature areas, like in front of an air conditioner, can also cause problems for your battery that will eventually affect its optimum performance.
Charging your phone overnight
The least you’ll sleep throughout the night is most likely going to be between 5 to 8 hours, your smartphone battery typically only needs 2 to 3 hours to fully charge. Charging your phone overnight, constantly stresses your phone battery each night. Sooner than later, your phone is likely to have battery problems. In addition, the temperature rises when the battery is overcharged, so apart from shortening battery life, it can also threaten user’s safety in the event it quickly heats up and explodes. It’s better to charge your phone before you sleep and switch it off while sleeping to preserve the battery till the next day.
Plugging whatever charger fits
This especially applies to smartphones. Most smartphones use a micro USB for its chargers and for this reasons most people tend to switch and swap chargers since it fits into and works on their phones. However, this is not appropriate and in the long run it can negatively affect your phone battery. The fact that most smartphones have the same micro USB doesn’t mean all chargers and phones are compatible. Some chargers function differently and that difference can be detrimental to your device if care is not taken.
Using cheap chargers
You can find a number of manufacturers offering top-grade chargers. No wonder these chargers are cheaper than the original ones. However, there are some that don’t include any safety mechanism against overcharging and continuous fluctuations. Unfortunately, if there is an adapter failure, it can damage the battery as well as a phone. So, act smart and stick to the original charger.
Link Building for Beginners: How to Get Started
Want to build a strong foundation in link building and get the basics right? This guide will help set you up for link building success.
Optimize your overall link structure.
Increase the number of backlinks.
Remove duplicate content.
Fix broken links.
Update your sitemap regularly.
6. Crawl the Website to Identify & Fix Link Issues
You can use tools such as Screaming Frog, SEMrush, Ahrefs, and DeepCrawl to identify and fix a variety of HTTP error issues including:
3XX redirection errors.
4XX Client errors.
5XX server errors.
You can also identify duplicate or missing page titles, image alt text, H1 tags, or meta descriptions using this crawl.
7. Optimize UX for the Mobile-First Index
The UX in the age of the mobile-first index is a critical SEO factor. Make sure your website has a user-friendly UX that will allow visitors to find products and make online transactions easily.
You must include appropriate graphics, images, animations, and call-to-actions wherever necessary.
Ask your developer to design the site based on the mobile-first index as it will make the mobile version the primary one for indexing. This is important considering 52.2% of all website traffic worldwide came through mobile in 2018.
8. Optimize Images with Alt Text
Images are a critical element in an ecommerce site. All images must have an alt text that provides a clear description.
For example, a blue colored maternity yoga pants image should have the alt text, “blue maternity yoga pant by [brand name].”
Always use descriptive alt text. Customers, not just bots, will read the same information in case the image fails to load.
Screen readers will use this info to tell visually impaired shoppers about the image.
9. Redirect Out-of-Stock Product Pages
Most online stores have a few pages with out-of-stock products.
Although taking such pages down is the usual norm, doing so can lead to a 404 error, which in turn, can negatively affect your search results. Besides, most visitors find the 404 error annoying.
Instead, you can redirect the URL to the next most relevant page. If the product is gone for good, use the 301 (permanent) redirect. If not, you can use the 302 redirect, allowing Google to continue indexing the URL.
10. Create Unique Product Page Content
Apart from creating duplicate content issues, using a slam-dunk copy of the manufacturer’s product description will also affect the overall user experience.
While keeping it unique, try to use a more conversational and enticing tone throughout the content.
You should also avoid creating duplicate content by mistake. Use canonicalization to avoid such issues.
If you have a large number of product pages, focus on creating unique content for the ones that generate a lot of traffic. However, remember to use the “noindex” tag for pages without unique content.
11. Optimize New Product Pages
You will need to add new product pages frequently. When doing so, make sure to adhere to your optimization practices.
Add appropriate long-tail keywords in the titles, meta descriptions, H1, alt text, URL structure, and the content, among other things.
Try to include unique content to avoid duplication issues. Be sure the new page has the same level of optimization as the rest of your site.
12. Use the Latest Technology
Always use the latest technology to protect your online store from potential crashes or cyber hacks. It will also help improve your site indexing and search results.
For example, Magento 2 has a better source code than Magento 1, making it easier to index a Magento 2-based website.
In addition to this, make sure to update every single plugin, add on, shopping cart, and security patch regularly.
Ecommerce sites need to consider several aspects of technical SEO.
The key here is to identify and resolve the SEO-related issues right there and then to avoid disastrous consequences in the long run.
Hopefully, the 12 essentials mentioned in this checklist will prove to be great starting points to get your technical ecommerce SEO in order.
Give them a try and see if your website will drive more sales conversions.
It’s no secret that cybercrime and data breaches are on the rise. As technology continues to evolve and more and more people plug into the digital world, the number of cyber attacks is increasing, and the need for antivirus software is greater than ever. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, “cyber intrusions are becoming more commonplace, more dangerous, and more sophisticated” on both private and public networks. In 2017, Pennsylvania ranked fifth in the number of cyber victims reported in the United States and had a total loss of $36,319,408 due to attacks.
As a small business owner, you may be thinking, “My company is small – why would we waste the money on antivirus software if we won’t be targeted?” Unfortunately, you will be targeted. In 2018, the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report noted that 58 percent of security incident victims were small businesses. While that number is a bit scary, there are steps you can take to help protect your small business from cyber threats. We’ll walk you through a rundown of what antivirus software is, why you need it, and what will work best for your business.
WHAT IS ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE?
The first big question you may be asking yourself is, “What is antivirus software?”
To put it simply, it’s software that is designed to detect, prevent, and remove viruses and malware from your computer or computer network. Nowadays, antivirus technology also will proactively protect you from a wide variety of malicious software intended to harm your computer systems. Any time you download something from the internet, open an email attachment, or even visit a website, your computer is vulnerable to becoming infected with malware. Antivirus software is designed as a layer of defense to help catch these security risks or find ones you did not know existed.
Unfortunately, having antivirus software installed does not mean you are completely safe. Think of cybersecurity in terms of playing defense on a football team—you don’t just have one line of defense (or in this case, security) on your team. You also have other people, like the linebacker or tackle positions, to keep the ball (or virus) from reaching the goal.
Since antivirus software only protects against known or predictable threats, it cannot always protect from human error. It’s important that you, as a user or small business owner, take the active steps in educating yourself and your team on safe internet and computer security practices.
WHY IS ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE NECESSARY?
As we already mentioned, viruses are not the only threat when it comes to cybersecurity. From Trojans to keyloggers, malicious software is lurking around every corner of the internet. It’s one of the reasons that exercising caution is always the best method of defense and will help you to avoid malware that even your antivirus software may not pick up.
A common misconception is that PC users are the only people that need antivirus software. While Mac and Android devices do not see as many attacks, if your small business only uses Mac computers, you still need to practice good cybersecurity. On the positive side, as technology has improved, so has PC security—Windows 10 now comes with Windows Firewall and Windows Defender as basic security measures to protect your computer.
So is antivirus necessary to prevent against all of these threats? Some may argue “no,” but antivirus software is a necessary player on your security defense team. It’s not going to solve all of your problems, and threats can still get through, but it’s a step in the right direction. If your small business doesn’t have the budget for a big IT department, antivirus software will at least help to protect you from the most common threats to your business.
WHAT IS THE BEST BUSINESS ANTIVIRUS?
Now that you understand the importance of having antivirus software, you’re probably wondering which one to choose. There are many options out there, both free and paid, but we’ll walk you through some of the best antivirus software for small businesses and which one may be right for you.
Free vs. Paid Antivirus Software
Finding the best antivirus software for your business can be daunting, and this raises many questions. Is free software good enough to protect your business? What’s the best business antivirus software for your company? Will paying money for software help better protect your business? These are all valid questions, but there is no straightforward answer—it all comes down to what kind of protection your company needs.
For example, if you own a small business and only have one or two computers with sensitive content on them, utilizing free software and educating staff on smart security procedures may be the answer for you. Programs such as Windows Defender, Avast!, AVG, or Malwarebytes, are good examples of free software that can be used for small businesses or your personal computer. Just be aware that some of the free programs are only licensed for personal use.
On the other hand, if you work with dozens of clients and multiple computers with highly sensitive or financial information, you will want to consider paying for the extra features that come with certain antivirus programs. Having things like spam filters, advanced firewalls, and more detailed scanning may help keep your business more secure. Most of these programs also have free trials so you can always test out which ones you prefer before making a purchase. A few popular choices include, McAfee, BitDefender, Norton, or Symantec and are some of the best PC antivirus programs out there.
The main difference in free versus paid software is that you’re going to get different types of features and security depending on the program that you go with. Do research on each one and see what will work best for you. Just remember that no matter what you choose, any software is better than none.
ARE YOU READY FOR IMPROVED INTERNET SECURITY?
At the end of the day, the best antivirus for your business is the one you don’t have to worry about. If you’re still not sure what to do about antivirus software and internet security, consider working with an IT service provider like Webcare Global Solution.
By now, you have likely heard of the Dark Web. Linked to an ever-expanding list of high profile data breaches, identity theft, and other criminal activity, it’s a trending topic on news reports and technical blogs.
But what is the Dark Web, really? And is it different from the so-called Deep Web?
Are these shadowy corners of the internet something to actually worry about, or is the media making a big deal over nothing?
Because the Dark Web is so misunderstood by average technology users and remains a haven for cybercriminals looking to make a buck off of illegal goods like lists of stolen credit card numbers, it is critical that small business owners and managers understand the threats these criminals pose.
Here are some basics on what you absolutely need to know about the Dark Web and how you can keep your business safe.
YOU CAN’T SEARCH THE DARK WEB
One answer to the question, “what is the Dark Web?” is that it’s a collection of websites not “crawled” or indexed by traditional search engines like Google and Bing. That means you can’t search it or even locate it without a bit of effort and technical know-how.
The Dark Web exists beyond the edges of the traditional internet, and you can only access it with specialized browser software designed to encrypt and obscure user activity.
Because of its anonymous nature, the Dark Web makes it easy for criminals to hide and transact illegal business with much less risk of getting caught by law enforcement or government authorities. Tracking individual users is challenging at best, and the Dark Web itself morphs and changes as different marketplaces get taken down – sometimes in highly publicized FBI raids – and others crop up to take their places.
THE DEEP WEB VS. THE DARK WEB
If anonymity and encryption online cause all these problems, why not just eliminate them? The problem is that we need them to transact real (non-criminal) business like banking and online shopping.
That’s where the Deep Web comes in. Also not indexed by search engines, the Deep Web or “invisible web,” is mostly used for harmless, everyday work and commerce. It actually makes up about 90% of the internet. Everything from test websites used by web designers to your bank accounts to your business’s cloud storage solutions makes up the Deep Web.
Confusingly, the Dark Web is also part of the Deep Web, and this leads people to sometimes use the names interchangeably. As we’ve shown, they are not the same thing.
THE INTERNET IS LIKE A CITY…
One way to better understand how these two areas of the web relate to one another is to imagine a real city. There are public spaces that anyone can visit like stores and museums – that’s similar to the traditional “visible” internet. Search engines are like a map to these places.
Next, there are the office buildings and private homes that make up most of the city environment. You can’t go to these places unless you have some authorization (you live there, work there, are a member of a club, are visiting friends, etc.), and you likely need a key or permission from the building’s owner or manager to get access. That’s the Deep Web – mostly accessible with passwords and other login credentials.
The Dark Web is like those hidden spaces that exist in real-life cities where people go to do illegal activities like selling drugs and trading stolen goods. As an average, law-abiding citizen, you probably realize these places are nearby, but you likely don’t know how to access them (nor would you want to). These dark nooks and crannies are a small percentage of the space in most cities, just as the Dark Web does not occupy all that much of the Deep Web or the wider internet itself.
WHY IS THE DARK WEB SO DANGEROUS
The main problem with the Dark Web is that the criminals who hang out there don’t just stay there. Like thieves in the physical world, hackers and cybercriminals prey on innocent victims throughout the larger “city” of the internet.
However, because the Dark Web is anonymous, in operation 24/7, and technically connected to everything on the internet, it represents a much bigger threat than real life criminals, who are limited by physical world barriers like surveillance systems, transportation challenges, the presence of police, and time.
Those barriers – including the amount of time it takes to launch large numbers of attacks simultaneously – don’t limit cybercriminals. And unfortunately, small businesses are the easiest, most profitable targets.
I’M NOT A CRIMINAL, WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT THE DARK WEB?
According to survey data from Travelers, a major provider of cyber insurance, 1 in 5 businesses experienced a data breach or other cyberattack last year, the rate of which had doubled since 2015. Cybercrime is on the rise, and it’s almost certain that your business will experience a breach in the not-distant future. In fact, in that same survey, 52% of business leaders indicated that they believed their business would be victimized by cybercriminals, yet they hadn’t yet taken productive steps to mitigate their risk – that’s scary!
Small businesses are at particular risk because hackers know that these organizations are less likely to have invested in cybersecurity resources and training for their employees. Both time and budgets are often spread too thin, which means there are simply fewer people with the capability to prevent a cyberattack in these organizations, making your company’s data an easy target.
HOW CAN I PROTECT MY BUSINESS?
Luckily, there is much you can do to defend your business from inevitable cyberattacks. Investing in ongoing cybersecurity testing and training for your employees is a great first step, as we mentioned.
This includes teaching your team to use strong passwords and good password hygiene, among other technical skills, and assuring that everyone knows how to spot phishing attempts and malicious emails.
Dark Web monitoring is a newer tool that scans the Dark Web for your information and alerts you to potential breaches or stolen information without you having to venture into that shadowy world yourself. The best way to get access to Dark Web monitoring and other proactive cybersecurity measures for your smaller business is to contract with an MSP, or managed IT service provider, in your local area.
Here in Nigeria, Webcare Global Solution is ready to help you keep your business safe from Dark Web threats and other cybercrime. Give us a call today to receive a friendly quote and learn how we can help you protect your data, your employees, and your business.
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