Validity of an MVP in an African setting: What startups think is the leeway.
I am not against the MVP idea, as a matter of fact, you need it as proof of work, it’s the papers to your Immigration offices, however, is it the logical catfish to funding and investors?
As time went by I believed in the notion of letting me have a product before I approach an interested party, later my views changed to having an Idea and a story, and people love these. Now, this was the catch study Humans, know their patterns, and leverage that loop!
I watched a good story succeed and fail and that is the KUNE Fiasco. Don’t get me wrong I am not against anything neither am I in support of anything but KUNE was a good story, a great listener bookmarks their pages and articles till the right time to ask questions.
After the fall everyone picked their own stories and loops, articles everywhere, this did not last, it was just another facade by authors who seem to have an act on their practition. Now the same waves went to Sendy and Skygarden. But that’s a story for another day.
Viability of the Products
Yes! all these products were viable, they had consumers, served a market received funding, and statistics wise ‘ all was good ‘ but then what went wrong?
Africa is positioned at a disadvantaged position for those who think they know, and it is positioned advantageously to those who strategically move with caution.
Africa doesn’t care about your product as long as it’s an enabler of what they need with genuine but again if it is you create a monopoly of the system like Mpesa for you to win.
Back to what I am about, As a founder/startup we majorly think, I have developers, I saw a need, I fixed a solution to it now Influencer marketing and the billboard will fix this and place us at an advantageous place. Okay well, that has worked for some but then the MVP you produced is another startup’s advantage point of looking for those that take the research route.
However again the longer the research, the longer the production and one thing I have seen in Africa is what we call Trendy startups and hype media. You can really tell this by the time Crypto came about, After the yellow card funding, the number of crypto startups that believed it is the next big financial inclusion came to rise, but sooner or later none came to life.
This is valid proof that MVP is beyond product and hype marketing however, this is not the first time we get to see Viable Products fail within and out of their time.
Vulnerability of the African systems
Whilst big Tech in Africa is being made to conform to what the system wants, take for instance the mobility/hailing industry in Kenya, it bends to what the land is all about, it’s fast how their adaptability is to conforming compared to the locals.
Africa has burdens from Internet penetration to Investor believability, Fintechs are currently including USSD a technology the market viewed as way back, this is because it is fast and accessible remotely, Africans are starting their own Investor pools that are non-white based but still looking for funding from white investors! Africa is chaotic, You need to be a mad Founder to penetrate and win Africa.
Africa is not guided by how good your product is, I have seen great products from MVP really not launch because the sandbox system is crooked, we lack mentorship, we learn the hard way to earn the top ground, and become selfish because of the misery we passed through.
Africans validate African news with western media tools, how well can we believe in what we have created? We have the greatest talent pool of techie yet remote is enhanced because our mentality is bound to I can’t pay this much, They are stealing our talent pool. Remembering the words of Kipkorir Kirui, ” In the next ten years Kenya will Appreciate the entry of such firms ” Why do we have to wait for 10 years?
According to Techcabal ” There are many reasons for these failures. For one, doing business in Africa is difficult. Businesses have to deal with consumers with low spending power, an unstable policy environment, political instability, and inadequate infrastructure.