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Tech, Talk & Happy Hour in Abuja

Updated: Mar 4

One thing about TechCircle is, we dey waka! This time, OO Nwoye entered Abuja and sat with his long time friend Sim Shagaya, founder of Ulesson Group to discuss the past, present and future of the Tech ecosystem in Nigeria. 


Lights, camera, action! The stage was set, the beer was chilled and over 65 founders from across Abuja were in the room playing Founder Bingo. One thing was left, for the stars of the show OO and Sim to get on stage, but no one could pry them away from each other, they had entered a world of their own and had some catching up to do.



Finally, we got them apart and sitted, and the Abuja founder's mixer began. “I have never heard some of the stories Sim is sharing, and I have worked here for years. I like the vibe of this thing” a Ulesson staff whispered to me. This was moments after Sim shared his battle stories building eand rise from an Harvard MBA "entrepreneur" to battle tested founder. Sim narrated his journey building Konga, his tussle with cut-throat Investors, and his early days as a tech founder neophyte.


The room laughed heartily as OO recounted the show of force marketing strategy that Sim applied with the Konga roadshow on the streets of Lagos.



In this conversation, no topic was off the table. The duo reminisced on the first founder’s mixer hosted by OO Nwoye, and Sim thanked Oo for his dedication and working building and connecting the tech community. Sim recounted building E-Motion Advertising, Dealdey and Konga. The battle building Ulesson, an ed-tech product amidst Nigeria's growing telecommunications industry, flailing power Infrastructure and the k-12 education system - key pillars for the success of education tech. If you stood in the room, you could feel the excitement and earnestness, the Nigerian vs. Guinea Bissau match playing later that evening also added to this buzz.


The Present and the Future of the Nigerian Tech Ecosystem


“Know your Cost of Acquiring Customers( CAC) and Lifetime value of Customers (LTV)”, this was Sim’s response to a question about knowing when to give up as a founder building a product. He emphasised the importance of these metrics by stating that at every point, the LTV of users of Ulesson, amongst other factors informed his decision to keep building. Driven by the promising Lifetime Value (LTV) of ULesson users, Sim recognized the need for a continuous learning pipeline beyond K-12 education. This insight, coupled with a desire to provide convenient and high-quality education, fueled the creation of Miva Open University - Ulessons virtual private university established in 2023. . Sim stated that the effort invested in building the university has been worthwhile as it fulfils a crucial educational gap.


There was a mini masterclass as Sim shared his real life expertise in response to questions from the audience about product, building businesses and ed-tech, you can watch the session here.


This conversation segued into the future of tech ecosystems, Oo that Abuja had quite a number of innovative startups and brilliant founders, and expressed worry that there was no strong or visible community. He mentioned that a hidden ecosystem makes it harder for startups to access funding, resources and attract talent. In response to this, Sim opined this was the case because "Abuja does not have the intellectual bastion of tech that Lagos and the South West has through the presence of Bosun Tijani's CcHub, Accelerators like ARM Labs, and the Universities. In response, Oo opposed this, citing The Federal University of Technology Minna, Ventures Platform and The African University of Science and Technology Abuja as presence enough. Oo emphasised that all that was needed was a central platform and driving force to build the community, he asked founders in the room if there was anyone willing to take up the unpaid commitment to build an ecosystem in Abuja. Victor Akpan, the founder of Gifty agreed to take up the role of convenor for the Abuja Tech Community, he mentioned that he had been convening since TechCircle last Abuja Founder's mixer. Other founders in the room pledged to support this endeavour.



Post conversation, founders could be seen huddling around Sim and Oo seeking quick 2- mins, discussing products, sharing metrics and asking for startup advise over drinks and small chops.


In response to Sim's "We should do more of this mixers”, Oo suggested that Sim take up building an "ed-tech ecosystem" for founders, startups and other industry players to learn with each other, exchange ideas, and partner." Communities" he said are the key to building ecosystems - regular meetups, can provide opportunities for startups to connect with each other, exchange ideas, and gain exposure to a wider audience, as well as fuel the ability of ecosystems to innovate and thrive.



A big thank you to the Ulesson Team for making this mixer happen.


If you would like to join the Abuja Tech Community, you can use this link or send an email to hello@techcircle.ng


Wondering where the next TechCircle will meet? Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to stay up to date.







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