Find out about the startup that's working to close Africa's tech information gap
How iAfrikan is working to educate and engage with African innovators
"Technology stories and knowledge from Africa are best narrated by those in the trenches, working daily in the technology industry on the continent," this is how digital content company, iAfrikan describes their mission - to produce technology content for Africans by Africans.
The startup which is primarily located in South Africa with a community spread across continent, works to fill the gap in Africa-specific technology content. They generate content ranging from news, opinion and analysis and research. They also organise tech-focused workshops and conferences.
iAfrikan started as a passion project in early 2014. The company is a result of founders and software engineers, Peter Peele (30) and Tefo Mohapi's (35) shared interest in all things tech. It was in the beginning of 2015 that the company was incorporated and they started treating it as a business.
The pair was also part of the team responsible for bringing the Lean Startup workshop series to Johannesburg in 2014.
Many startup founders would have heard of the startup from the series of talks and networking events they host in Johannesburg and Lagos. They have hosted the likes of Jovago.com's Marek Zmyslowski and Quirk Africa's Justin Spratt.
SME South Africa speaks to the founders about their product offering, and navigating Africa's entrepreneurship space.
Peter Peele (left) and Tefo Mohapi.
On the need for iAfrikan
As software engineers we weren't finding the type of content we'd like to read and share and if we did it was either focused on Silicon Valley, Europe or Asia.
We attract our customers by strictly focusing on technology in Africa and nothing outside of that. Our blog posts are mainly well researched articles providing opinion and analysis of technology in Africa, whereas most publications in our space are doing incident reporting and press release rephrasing.
In our podcasts, we only cover the top news per week that are of relevance to the entire continent. We also explore stimulating debates which we can confidently say nobody else covers in the continent.
For our workshops or public events, we host deep-dive and intensive sessions that focus more on the educational experience than focusing on filling up a venue as most organisations in that space do.
The vision for the company in the next 2 years is to see at least 10 succeeding startups that were born or kick-started from attending our workshops and to be the most insightful digital media platform for technology in Africa
Finding customers is never easy. It is related to solving a problem that a customer has and validating that they do see it as a pain and would pay to solve it. Every founder goes through this process and it is what keeps us up early hours of every day.
Finding the right people who share your vision and can adapt to your ways of working is tough.
The biggest surprise about being a startup founder is it's not as fun as it's hyped out to be. Many startups fail and dealing with emotions and problems during tough times can be very challenging. Not many people write or speak about this. We're mostly told of fast growth and cars.
On Africa's entrepreneurship space
Working in the entrepreneurship space been insightful. Especially in South Africa and the continent at large, what is being reported versus what is actually happening on the ground are almost complete opposites. We find that at best most founders go with what they assume will work and have no framework of minimising their risk or testing if their business idea is what the market needs.
Entrepreneurial IQ is still very low throughout the country. There are few entrepreneurs who try to have indepth knowledge of entrepreneurship or read outside their areas of expertise. With improved entrepreneurial IQ will come higher growth startups and quality products.
We are bootstrapping iAfrikan from our own savings and funds.
On doing what it takes
I wish I had known when we first got started the importance of using every little value that you create to accelerate success/growth. Celebrate and use your little successes to move to the next step.
We attribute our success to hard work and Super Saiyan focus.
Take the leap of faith now. There's no perfect time to start. Discuss your idea with people and be prepared to adapt based on feedback.
Everybody has ideas but using validated learning to build products people want will give you the edge