In the second Quarter of 2018, Nigerian startups collectively raised $168 Million in 118 disclosed deals just halfway through the year, surpassing last year’s total of $167.7 Million. Nigeria and Kenya are leading the pack with most of the tech investments going to startups from those countries, it gives an edge to know most investors are looking at certain countries when thinking of investments. It fosters more growth in the tech ecosystem cause more start-ups see a reason to dream, knowing they can get investment to help scale their idea’s business progression.
Technology is now a very important part of the human economy, we’re in an internet age which means technology is at the forefront of every development and financial opportunity. It’s an important time for African developers and internet companies to rise and reach for the stars.
In recent years we’ve begun to see a younger demographic take charge of the tech scene, this isn’t new to the Western world but in Africa where everything is run by a much older generation technology and the internet is a plain space that gives everyone an opportunity to inspire change, build an idea and create a global company.
The founders of TaxiTV, Akinbola Asalu, and Dami Osiyale are part of this young demographic of tech startups trying new ideas in an unprogressive nation. Their idea was to create an Ad-tech called ‘TaxiTV‘, a startup that provides advertising channels for corporate brands and SME’s through screens in ride-hailing services like Uber and Taxify. The advertorial video contents are displayed to passengers during a ride, and the content played in-between is gotten from content providers and not limited to any specific genre.
We had seen those screens in yellow cabs in New York, and we imagined it was a concept we could recreate in Lagos and in Nigeria in general. We immediately set out to seek market validation, our CEO posted a thread on TechCabal, asking for feedback from users. We had a few hundred responses and from our analysis, we felt comfortable pursuing our unimaginable plan, according to their Medium post.
The first car with a TaxiTV screen was on the road by the end of November 2017 and the company was fully operational in January 2018 after going through a series of test runs to prove their idea was plausible. They focused on growing three aspects of their startup (drivers, content providers, and advertisers). This paid off, In six months of full operations, they grew from one content provider to over 8, driver sign-ups increased from Ten in December 2017 to a stellar figure which the company didn’t disclose and they also reported a rise in advertisers. TaxiTV didn’t come without any hassle, the young company encountered problems with drivers reluctant to buy tabs for the platform. The solution came as a strategic partnership with FINT, a peer-to-peer loan marketplace startup which provided financing for driver partners, thus enabling them fast-track their growth.
“We are looking to expand operations to other states in Nigeria, i.e. Abuja, Port-Harcourt. We are also expanding our workforce (Sales/Business development as well as the Technology). Our plan is to become the house for content providers and advertisers to reach their riders in transit. Ads don’t have to be basic. We want to make it fun for everyone. What we are working on is really awesome. We want advertisers to interact with consumers as much as content providers do on our platform. We are also focused on helping SMEs reach their target market. They can’t afford the kind of awareness bluechip companies can and then they have to be very patient to make their sales curve go up through social and email. Our platform puts them on the same level as the big spenders and we help them as much as we can with as much data as we can provide”, Akin Asalu told us about TaxiTv’s plans for the future.
In March TaxiTV began talks with Beta.Ventures and in July secured a seed round funding estimated to be around $50,000, which includes other backers Collins Onuegbu of Sasware, Sam Senbanjo of Neon Ventures and several prominent individual investors. The founders intend to use the investment to scale their product development and to improve sales execution as well.
Fast execution and being ahead of the pack is really key in our business and this investment would make building things happen as quickly as possible.
Akin Asalu, who’s founded two previous start-ups with his partner Dami Osiyale before TaxiTV, finally got funded after two years of digging through the tech ecosystem and proving their ideas will have a place, “We have been in touch with the lead investors in our round for about 1.5 years now and they have been with us since Unigram up till now. It’s all about finding the right market fit for them as an entrepreneur. How you can wriggle yourself out of a tough situation and make things click. I guess we showed that and they just cut us a cheque lol. We also listened to a lot of advice we got from them, it’s really important to do that. We are really young and they have a lot of business and product development experience“.
The company claims to have more than 300 cars running in Lagos, with content from providers like Kraks TV, Thrive Media, Accelerate TV, and others. They’ve also done campaigns for big brands in Nigeria including Rexona, Konga, Axe. In the coming weeks, they plan on launching a self-serve that will allow SMEs advertise on their platform for as low as 25,000 naira, and plan on expanding to cabs in Abuja by August 2018.