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Ory Okolloh Message To Startup Entrepreneurs: Create Consumer Driven Products

by Milicent Atieno
Ory Okolloh Message To Startup Entrepreneurs: Create Consumer Driven Products

Facebook keeps ranked as the leader as far as social network popularity goes. Taking a look at Facebook versus MySpace, there must be a reason behind MySpace’s collapse, and Facebook growth year in year out. The reason behind Facebook’s success is its ability to understand and anticipate users’ needs.

Last week, the Africa Digital Media Institute (ADMI) held its inaugural Creatives Scaleup Accelerator Boot Camp; a week-long accelerator program that gave participants hands-on skills and insights on scaling their operations.

Also, in attendance was, Ory Okolloh the Director of Investments at Omidyar Network. She urged entrepreneurs to look at learning as a continuous process.

Few startups try to know their customers. I read my customer feedback obsessively. The best person to help you is your customer. The first ten people who download your app are the ones who will help refine your product. Your first 100 customers teach you a lot,” said Okolloh.

A business’s lifeline depends on customers’ needs satisfaction; technology on its own will not matter if the customers’ needs are not met. Entrepreneurs should work on reaching out to customers in the counties and villages; as opposed to just focusing on customers living within the tech hubs.

She called out on entrepreneurs who think reaching out to customers is not the ‘cool’ thing to do, even when their products are not being bought. She further told entrepreneurs to engage the private sector actively and take the leap outside their comfort zones.

Okolloh recalled her days at the Ushahidi, during their early days in operations. She remembered they were struggling to raise money, were working without any business model and had no budget for marketing or PR. Things changed when she began learning the art of storytelling as the Executive Director.

She called upon the participants to learn about the art of storytelling and let their customers tell their stories for them. She said, “Clients are your best sales people. Let your clients spread the word for you.

Comparing Kenya to Nigeria, which has a number of big firms like Konga and Paga that are funding startups, Kenya has a long way to go as far as local investors are concerned. More needs to be done to encourage domestic Kenya investors to give seed rounds to your startups in the country.

She also encouraged startups to believe in their dream and have the confidence to work thing through instead of counting on the White investor co-founded startup companies.

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