Paul Eze is a young entrepreneur in Nigeria, he has identified these niches as the most promising areas to launch a technology business in Africa. He believes these niches will further push the limits of tech based business in Nigeria and Africa. This article was originally publishedby Paul Eze on Business Day Nigeria.
1. Educational Technologies: Startups are springing up pretty quickly across Nigeria and Africa trying to solve myriads of problems from communication to agriculture, payment/commerce and so on yet there is a sector in the continent which is in dire need of the tech revolution; the educational sector. 2013 will be a nice time to see real tech ideas meant to make education a far easier, enjoyable and fruitful process. Real startups that will aim at providing quick, real time solutions to educational challenges in the continent will attract attention primarily because it will be doing something different and revolutionary. The startups to watch that may be already attempting to do something in that sector are few and far between.
2. Digital Content Sharing Platforms: Quite a couple of years back Africans and Nigerians had to buy CDs to watch movies and listen to their favourite music. Sharing videos was limited to YouTube. Now sharing digital content is becoming easier and what’s more, ground breaking digital content sharing is coming to Nigeria. IrokoTV is gradually changing the way we watch movies and listen to music. In 2013 music distribution in Nigeria and Africa will go more digital. Book publishing and distribution is still very much traditional and some of that will change. The fact that books (such as Steve Jobs’ biography by Walter Isaacson) was being sold in electronic formats and watched in digital devices like the Kindle shows that content is going digital (written, audio, video, graphic). 2013 will certainly usher in a few more startups that distribute the music content of Nigerian musicians on smart devices which people pay to download.
3. Collaborative Commerce: In today’s fast moving world it is either you get alliances or risk being ridden over. Commerce is becoming more collaborative and will even escalate in 2013. Merchants and Product sellers will have to get used to price comparison mechanisms and applications where people can quickly compare prices with their mobile device before buying. Deals sites are looking to get merchants and sellers to offer specific number of deals to get more exposure and more things sold. Commerce has certainly undergone some changes in 2012 with the coming of ecommerce outfits like Sabunta, Jumia etc. Commerce and merchandise firms will collaborate more. Technology will affect shopping more than it has ever done.
4. Ecommerce/Payment Solutions: This has all the while appeared as another huge potential sector in Nigeria especially and the rest of Africa. If the mobile money experiments go on smoothly, the way payments and purchases of items and services are made will change. Nigeria still faces some challenges of payment when it comes to doing business with the western world and creative solutions to this will attract significant benefits to the initiators.
5. Investing: We will rather have written angel investing but it may not serve our purpose. As the world’s investors in tech and related business startups turn their attention on Africa and Nigeria, a lot of investment decisions will be taken next year. Already this year has seen a new media company like Iroko Partners land an $8 million investment led by Tiger Global, a US based venture fund. The investment climate will get more business-like with angel investors becoming more organised. Already a few venture funds are coming together from within the country. And with this venture firms different in model and operation from traditional business funding organisations like banks, it is going to be exciting watching as Nigeria’s Technology and Business Startup space gets more competitive.
6. TV and Movie Production: Nollywood has stayed stagnant for some years and refused to grow to meet up with standards in Hollywood or even Bollywood but that is gradually changing as younger, smarter, marketing oriented and tech savvy producers and directors get into the business. Once Nigeria’s piracy and distribution issues are tackled at least with some seriousness, this industry is set to grow in leaps and bounds. Looking at the new entrants into movie distribution such as IrokoTV and Nollywood Love it is clear that there is huge opportunity for Nollywood and indeed Nigeria’s entire film and music industry to generate billions of naira in annual revenue.
7. Energy: There has never been a more significant time in the Nigeria’s energy sector than now with the privatization efforts. While we are not going into stating arguments for and against, I believe that 2013 may mark a great economic and business shift in the energy sector of Nigeria. With deregulation there will be more competition and opportunity for companies to come in with alternative energy offerings.