Over the last five years, I’ve been fortunate to host an eclectic mix of Nigeria’s most exciting and driven technology entrepreneurs via my TechTurks TV show. I started whilst still at Diamond Bank and really, the format was quite a curve ball for a Nigerian bank MD to talk to tech start-ups; the banking sector had, up until that point, leaned more towards corporate business builders than the early days technology mavericks.
Tech Turks was launched because I saw a new breed of entrepreneur emerging in the country, using technology to tackle real challenges around logistics, food, health, education, finance and more — and these entrepreneurs needed a platform for frank and honest debate and discussion. A safe space to share the highs and lows of scaling a technology company.
The format was, and remains, simple; a conversation. Just a couple of people in business and tech, having a chat. Unpicking the hurdles of building a business; deconstructing the “Nigeria” factor when venture building; celebrating small success; figuring out market product fit; talking about talent acquisition and retention, sourcing investment [whether it was from home or abroad] — all the usual things the tech community still dissects today. It was an early knowledge sharing platform for the Nigerian tech ecosystem.
At the time, no-one was really having these conversations on TV or on-screen; especially with those who I hosted, many of whom at the time were fledgling founders — still green, still in search for Seed investment. And now? One or two now preside over Unicorn-status [$1bn+ valuation} businesses. Conversely — some of those start-ups didn’t make it. Some merged. Some of the entrepreneurs are on their second or maybe even third business now. Such is the nature of an entrepreneur’s life.
50+ interviews have taken place on TechTurks with some of Nigeria’s boldest and brightest entrepreneurs. In many ways, it can be considered an historical record, documenting in detail the rise of Nigeria’s tech leaders. But I also see it as a living collection of stories — which upon reflection — I now know have had a huge impact on my own decision making when building Sparkle. Throughout these past five years, with every single conversation, I’ve been gathering a rich and diverse data set that I believe now underpins the culture and solutions that make up Sparkle…