Are you an #Afripreneur looking to raise funds? (Part 4)

Are you an #Afripreneur looking to raise funds? (Part 4)

__”The 10 Questions I Didn’t Expect to be Asked by Investors”

“If you’re raising money for your company and you want to pitch to angel investors or venture capitalists, then there are a few important things to know that savvy investors care about…” Today I am going to share parts of a long article written by an angel investor/entrepreneur who gave me permission to share with you here. The title is “The 10 Questions I didn’t expect to be asked by investors.” I know most of you will find it very interesting, and the #SeniorClass will say “Wow!”

After you read it, let’s talk. Here goes:

“I’ve raised close to $1 million for my previous startups and the following questions were not what I had expected to hear from the investors I was pitching to. I was expecting to be asked about my team, market segments, financial projections, go-to market strategy, exit strategy, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I was asked these questions—many of them—but it was the questions below that I wasn’t expecting.

It’s also important to note that the investors who asked the following questions are the ones that I ended up having the best relationships with.

You may never get asked these questions, or maybe not as directly as they are asked below, but you should be prepared and have answers to these questions as well as questions like these:

#1: Who believes in you and how can I get in touch with them?

What the investor are looking for here is who are your mentors and advisers. They like to know that there are people who believe in you, your ideas, your potential, and abilities.

#2: What entrepreneurs do you admire and why?

This is a fun question. Even if you’re not asked this question, work it into your pitch because you can tell a lot about people by who they admire.

#3: How do you track trends in your market?

Investors want to know that you are aware of your industry, as well as where you go to find data to stay on top of industry trends. Things change very quickly today, particularly if you’re in the technology business, so be prepared to share how you find data about your customers and industry, as well as how you apply those findings to your business.

#4: Can you tell me a story about a customer using your product?

This should automatically be included in your pitch presentation anyway. The best pitches are the ones that open with a story about how your product or service is helping your customer. . .

#5: How do you know how much money you need and could you scale your business with less?

All investors, of course, want to know how much money you need to scale your business, but you had better know: (a) what you’re going to spend it on (also called “use of funds”) and (b) whether you could scale your business with less money. . .

#6: How can I connect with 5 customers who have used your product or service?

If investors find your pitch interesting, they will want to begin what’s called the due diligence process. During due diligence they will ask a lot about your customers: who they are, how you know who they are, how you find them, what they think of your product, how they are using it, whether that matches your usage intentions, how you interact with them, etc. . .

#7: What will your market look like in five years as a result of using your product or service?

This is another opportunity to tell the growth of your company through sharing a compelling story. Paint the picture of your customers’ future as a result of using your product or service for five years. . .

#8: What mistakes have you made thus far in this business and what have you learned?

I’ve also been asked, “tell me about your biggest failure and what did you learn from it.” Either way, the investors expect business leaders to experience failure. Failure is part of the equation of growth and it’s where all of the great learnings come from. I’ve had two startups—one failed and one I sold. I learned far more from the one that failed—and I was able to take those learnings into my second venture. . .

#9: What if three or five years down the road we think you’re not the right person to continue running this company—how will you address that?

Often times—particularly with high-growth startups—the founding CEO does not remain the CEO who scales the company beyond the startup phase and investors ask this question to make sure you don’t have “founderitis.” Founderitis is when a founder’s ego gets in the way of the company’s growth and the founder refuses to (or makes it hard to) step down/step out of the position they hold. . .

#10: Have you ever been fired from a job? Tell us about it.

This is probably my favorite question—so much so that I now ask this to people I’m interviewing. It’s one of those questions that makes people feel uncomfortable, but that’s not the intention of asking it. Rather, it’s to see how you respond to a challenging question, as well as learn more about some challenges you’ve experienced in previous jobs and how you communicate those challenges.

I had one investor tell me that he only invests in CEOs who have been fired from previous jobs. . .At the end of the day, investors want to invest in leaders who are movers, shakers, creators, and have the ability to inspire others. . .”

Let’s talk!

Here’s a link to Caroline Cummings full article:


Author:Strive Masiyiwa

Strive Masiyiwa is the founder and Executive Chairman of the Econet Group. He serves on several international boards including Unilever, and the Global Advisory boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and Stanford University. A board member of the Rockefeller Foundation for 15 years, he also serves as Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He is a co-founder of the Carbon War Room, Pathways for Prosperity, and the Global Business Coalition on Education. He and his wife, Tsitsi, co-founded the Higherlife Foundation and are signators of the Giving Pledge.

28 Replies to “Are you an #Afripreneur looking to raise funds? (Part 4)”

  1. Afterthought 2.

    “Knowing these categories gives you a vocabulary to discuss your strengths and your limitations.It’s important to have people on your team with a combination of the following strengths and abilities. It’s also equally important for you to know where you fit into the mix, know what you don’t know, and be prepared to exit gracefully when the time comes—because it inevitably will.

    # The Idea Generator (You are the visionary, you come up with the great next big idea, your thoughts are not limited by what you hear from your peers, the media, the market, etc.)

    # The Innovator (You can write code, build things, sew things, invent things, and create something for others to sell. Innovators are typically not the same people who sell what they create.)

    # The Starter (You are great at creating a team from nothing and launching a new product or service. You know what it takes to write a solid business plan, implement and track that plan, research and respond to market trends, and surround yourself with people who are smarter than you.)

    # The Changer (You are not only great at being a change agent, but you thrive from doing it. These people make the best “turn-around CEOs” – those who enter an existing company, access the situation, recruit change ambassadors, create a new bold plan, make tough decisions [close a business, fire people, hire people, discontinue a product, etc.], and re-position a company for optimal growth – and even sometimes dissolution.)

    # The Grower (You are what I like to refer to as someone who loves “a diamond in the rough.” You see the potential in people, products and markets, and know whether they are worth investing time, money, and energy into improving. You typically don’t like starting new things; you prefer to take something good that someone else has started and turn it into something great. A talent desperately needed in most companies. This person can take a company from surviving to thriving.)

    # The Exiter (You are someone who knows what it takes to position a company or person for exit. That exit is usually merging with another company, acquiring other companies, or taking a company public. This is a rare skill-set and these people are typically not the starters.)”

    Excerpt from Caroline Cummings article.What do you think? Which are you?

  2. #ShoutOut to social entrepreneur John Rice, founder of #Management Leadership For Tomorrow (MLT)

    When I was at Yale last month, I ran into my good friend, John Rice who kindly invited me to take part in the 15th Anniversary Gala in New York City of an organization he first envisioned as a student at Harvard Business School! Sadly my schedule made it impossible but I wanted to be sure to give him a #ShoutOut today for his big event tonight. (Forbes magazine named John one of the world’s top social entrepreneurs!) #DeepRespect

    Take a look at their model to transform lives and livelihoods. Any fast followers out there?

  3. #The passing of Bobby Collymore, CEO of Safaricom:

    This morning I woke up to the sad news that Bobby Collymore, the CEO of Safaricom Kenya died this morning, after a long battle with cancer.

    I had known Bobby for more than 10 years. We became friends through the deep respect you develop for someone for the shear competence they possess, even when they might be a fierce competitor, or rival.

    Whenever I was in Kenya, after he left Vodacom SA, I would try and drop bye to see him “for coffee and to exchange notes on what was happening in our industry”.

    If I needed to launch something which needed a big industry player to back me, I would just call my friend Bobby:
    Ebola, entrepreneurship mentorship schemes~he backed me, and often dropped me notes to express appreciation.

    Bobby was not an African from the motherland, he came from the diaspora nation of Guyana in South America, where many Africans were taken during slavery 400 years ago. He loved Africa, and she received him back as she does all her diaspora children.

    Bobby’s contribution to African development was immense, and he will always be remembered for building up M-PESA to make Safaricom one of the most valuable African brands.


  4. #Pause:


    One of the most immature, and dangerous things you can do as an entrepreneur is to see your business competitors, or rivals as ‘enemies’!

    It is extremely important in any industry to have healthy competition and also to collaborate with your competitors, and to share ideas for the development of the entire industry. This is why every industry has associations and industry meetings.

    Make it your mission to develop a healthy relationship with competitors, and those who work there.

    If you find yourself hating someone who is a competitor [even if they are hateful towards you] then you will always be “small, small” [ an expression I heard in an African country to describe an unreasonable person]!

    In developing healthy relationships with competitors, don’t collude to set prices, because that is illegal. Otherwise be good friends, like I was with people like the late Bobby Collymore of Safaricom who died Sunday morning.

    Incidentally, don’t pray for your competitors to fall into misfortune or to fail. It’s ungodly!


    There is more to it, than meets the eye!

    Now that you have decided to start a business or have already started; what are going to call it, and why?

    The name of your business, which will become your brand, really, really matters!

    I want you to be very conscious of the name you give to your business.
    Always try for something that is clean, easy to remember, and above all unique.
    Check the name to ensure no one has it already. This is easy to do on the Internet.
    Register a domain name and give it a “proper address”!

    Do your research and if you know someone in the marketing advertising industry have a chat with them.
    Ask around. Use the Internet as much as possible. Test the name on others.
    I once lost a huge deal because the customer was offended by the name of the company I had registered!

    I have been doing it for so long, that it is generally an easy process. But it was not always like that!
    ECONET was actually Enhanced Communications Network, which was a real tongue twister and a terrible name!

    After we choose the brand name, we develop the logo. Again there is no hard and fast rule, but it’s good to use the internet to study what others have done, because most likely it is the work of experts.
    The choice of colors is critically important.

    Finally, have a look @Clean City in the picture above:
    As you can see the name is simple, and conveys the objective. Logo is also simple and designed to convey a message.
    Finally you have a “pay off line”:


    CLEAN CITY AFRICA, is the full name of the company. Next we will launch national operating companies ie Clean City Nigeria.
    Then comes the launch of the website.

    We are beginning what the marketing guys call “going above the line”: we want the name to be known, and the brand to emerge.

    #It must be a “brand with a purpose”.

    It must be global, from day one!

  6. #Pause:
    We must change the narrative about how wealth is created.

    When most of the first generation of African politicians came to office, they did not really know about the role of entrepreneurs in creating wealth and jobs.
    This was totally understandable given that most of them had never really encountered the type of entrepreneurs that invent and innovate products, and services, which they turn into successful businesses. They could not imagine their own people setting up such ventures. We had no Aliko Dangote’s as examples.

    At best they saw business as something which made people rich, but they did not see that those same business people were actually creating employment, and generating national prosperity.

    As a young man of only 29 years old, I co-authored a letter to the President of the country with two other young people [one a macro economist, and the other a banker]:
    In it we pointed out that the challenge of employment creation and prosperity could only be tackled by supporting small entrepreneurs [like myself at the time].
    The President responded by inviting me and my colleagues to a private meeting, which lasted more than 6 hours over two separate days!
    As the spokesman for the group I led the discussion.

    For the next three years I travelled up and down the countryside pushing for a change in the way people viewed the role of business in society.

    Fast Forward:
    Going around Africa today, and meeting many leaders, I’m amazed how far we have come in most countries, where I probably would have been shot on sight for what I was saying in those days!
    There are still a lot of “hold out” [strongholds] where the progress is clearly not encouraging.

    Your generation needs to continue this fight, because we have not yet won the battle I started back then, and that is why we have such high levels of unemployment and poverty.

  7. #Reflection:

    It matters to try and understand economics—particularly in Africa!

    In my #Pause on this post entitled “We must change the narrative about how wealth is created,” I revealed that when I was only 29 years old I co-authored a “letter” to the President on how to create jobs and prosperity. Well, it was not really a “letter,” it was an “economics paper” of almost 100 pages! It was full of economic statistics, and references. There was no Internet at the time so we had to spend a lot of time in the library.
    It was audacious because our country was supposed to be “Socialist” and believed in a “Command Economy”.
    We could easily have gone straight to prison for challenging the system.

    We designed our paper to be a “Constructive Proposal”. It was incredibly polite, but I made sure the President understood there was another way to look at the problem without an ideological debate.

    The Minister of Finance invited me to his home when he heard what happened:
    “I hear you wrote this?” he began.
    “Yes sir, I worked with some friends.”
    “Let me shake your hand.”
    Then he added, “They told me you are an engineer, but clearly you missed your calling as an economist.”
    “No sir. Economics is every day life,” I replied.
    “Clearly you studied economics?” he insisted.
    I nodded:
    “A bit.”

    Then he asked:
    “What do you think of our economic policies?”
    I did not answer.
    “Your face says everything, and I agree with you.”
    After that we became good friends.
    His name was Dr Bernard Chidzero. A few years later he ran unsuccessfully for UN Secretary General.

  8. Peter K Njeru writes,

    Beloveds, another opportunity for Kenyan youths:

    My reply,
    This is great, and there is more coming to Kenya!

    It is a fact that MOST major initiatives by global donors and philanthropy planning to do things in Africa, usually involves Kenya. This is because Kenya tries very hard as a country to open up to entrepreneurship and innovation.

    Now global companies like Microsoft, Alibaba, GE have set up huge operations there…and more are coming!

    90% of global philanthropists that are talking or doing something in Africa usually mention four countries:
    And now these days, they are beginning to add:

    Every week I get calls from donors and philanthropists to discuss or seek advice on what they are doing, and I can tell you that they usually mention a desire to start in one of those four countries.
    I don’t begrudge them for it, but instead rejoice with those who benefit, knowing that the success of donors and investors there may open doors to try places they consider more ‘risky’.

    I urge the young entrepreneurs in those countries to seize these opportunities and make us proud.

    The most fierce competition between nations today is for investment. Even America wants investment and they are the biggest richest nation on earth. China wants investment. India wants investment.
    The countries that get investment understand the game and how it is played. We will get there!

  9. #High Speed Broadband for South Sudan:

    Today a senior executive team from Liquid Telecom will attend a special ceremony with the President of South Sudan to mark the beginning of construction of a Fibre Optic Cable fo connect Juba [The capital] to Mombasa and the rest of the world.
    We plan to finish this work before the end of November.
    It will make it possible for South Sudan to begin enjoying High Speed Broadband services. It will also speed up the Mobile Networks, and allow them to offer more services.
    Schools and colleges will also be connected.
    It has not been easy because the first time we looked at South Sudan, our teams had to flee the country, after war broke out!

  10. #Reflection:

    Never allow xenophobia to take root in our minds.

    It never ceases to surprise me, how many people have the habit of developing strong opinions and views [usually very negative] about other African countries they have never actually visited!

    It is the height of ignorance!

    I have never visited a single African country, where I was not pleasantly surprised by what I found going on there. And I have visited most countries now.

    I remember a member of my staff who travelled with a briefcase full of food when I asked him to visit a certain country [which shall remain nameless]. On the first night we were invited by our hosts to a restaurant, it was just amazing and better than anything I had seen in Africa, at the time!

    As Africans it is very easy for us to fall into an attitude in which we begin to despise and look down on fellow African countries, even more than some outsiders.
    This is wrong.
    There is no African country that is better than any other when it comes to development:
    We are the same…

    Let’s compare when we have addressed all the problems we currently face, because I see them in every country.

    Poverty, unemployment~ which country does not have them?
    Shall we now say “my poverty is better than yours”!
    That is silly!

    To participate in Africa’s development, you have to have a deep love for ALL Africa, and everything African, including your neighbors!

  11. #BIG,BIG DEAL!



    Reuters – West African nations have adopted a flexible currency regime after making considerable progress on plans for a single currency but the bloc would first need to set up a monetary union as it strives for regional integration. Heads of State of the 15-member West African Community of African States (ECOWAS) met on Saturday in the Nigerian capital Abuja to review progress on integration, the body said. The body said in a statement the bloc had made considerable progress on the single currency and has adopted “ECO” as the currency’s name. A Nigerian official at the meeting said the body aimed to launch the “ECO” next year.

    This is one of them!


    I WOULD RATHER TRADE IN “ECOs” than “NAIRAs or CEDIs” ~ so would any investor!

  12. Oguagua Ejaeta writes,

    I hope you come accross my comment sir Strive Masiyiwa. Clean City Nigeria, enough of us hardly benefits from some of the opportunity because you focus on major cities. Partner with us who picks waste in Ughelli Delta state Nigeria. Ughelli is a big town that generate tones of waste every week. With you as our partner, it will make the work easy as there will be enough truck to do work. Ughelli is a huge market for Clean City Nigeria, if you partner with us. Thanks sir

    My reply,
    We do not yet have a Clean City Nigeria, but when we come to Nigeria, I’m sure that your beautiful city Ughelli will be amongst the many places to expand its service.
    And you are so passionate. I love that!

  13. Busingye Gerald writes,

    Busingye Gerald writes,


    The name you use is CLEAN CITY but was actually registered as CLEAN CITY AFRICA, you use ECONET yet you registered ECONET WIRELESS.

    I thought you use exactly what what you registered because there could be other registered business with what you decide to use rather than what you registered, aren’t there penalties for that?

    My reply,
    As an entrepreneur you can register as many businesses as you like. It’s up to you and there is no law against it.
    Study any large company and you will see that they have a parent (holding company), like we have Econet. Then you have subsidiary companies that do different things, and have different names.
    If you want to understand more about this you should register for a formal business course. You can do this on line.

    My reply,
    As an entrepreneur you are allowed to register as many companies as you like. Each is a legal entity in its own right.
    There are no laws or penalties for it.

    Suppose I am in telecoms but I decide one day to start a biscuit making business, I would not give it a name such as “Econet Wireless”, because that is a telecoms business name!

    Sometimes you start businesses with other partners, and you give it a name which is not the same as that which you use with other partners,

    Gerald, if I might suggest:
    You need to undertake some formal training in business.

  14. #Pause:

    The hard laws of entrepreneurship!

    There is an old military adage that goes something like this:

    “A battle plan is only as good as your first contact with the enemy”.

    Years ago, I used it to create my own adage:

    “A business plan is only as good as your first contact with the customer”.

    I used to call it one of “The Masiyiwa Laws of entrepreneurship”!

    It was to remind me that sometimes you can develop an amazing product or service, and yet when you take it to the customer, they are either underwhelmed, or are simply not prepared to pay for it. Sometimes the customer will see something completely different from what you intended. Sometimes they will tell you, they love the product, but only if it is free.

    I think Clean City is a great idea, with a real need, but what if the customers do NOT want to pay to have their garbage removed?
    ~What if they are not prepared to pay us what the business plan requires?
    ~What if I never recover my investment?

    I meet so many young entrepreneurs who have poured themselves into building a product or service, then you ask them “how much money have you made? Are the customers actually paying you?”
    Silence follows, and sometimes even tears!
    “I cannot give up my baby!”

    My silence:
    Then I tell them:

    “The baby is already dead. Now you must bury it, and move on..”

    After they had worked on the Clean City Business plan, and all its preparations; I told the leadership team:
    “I will support you to a point, but if you don’t get traction by creating P&L, we will have to shut it down. I’m not afraid to shut down a business that is not performing, that is why I’m still here after 33 years.”

    Life for any business comes only from the customer. If the customer does not want the product, the entrepreneur has to move on.

  15. Eddie Makopa writes,

    If an idea fails that doesn’t mean you have failed as an entrepreneur. In this journey, we don’t fail we learn. Failure of an idea is equal to a great lesson of success to us. Dr. Strive Masiyiwa has always taught us to separate your life from the life of the business. If you don’t do that then it means when the business dies you die too which is something that must not happen. “I’m not afraid to shut down a Business that is not performing…”

    My reply,
    You have spoken well, even better than me.

    This too is one of my MLEs, and I taught it very early in the life of this platform:

    I developed this particular law after seeing many friends commit suicide because a failed business led them to lose homes, and property.

    Suicide amongst African entrepreneurs is extremely high. This is why many people are afraid to start a business.

  16. Ramse Habiib writes,

    Dr. Strive,after 33years, making hard calls like shutting down a venture becomes a walkover. The question however is how much time should a business be allowed to gain traction and get to a break even point?.

    It could be urged that the Business plan should provide for this, but there could be a standard rule.
    Secondly if a business is operating just at Break Even point, without significant markup margins for reinvestment, would you recommend a shut down? From your experience sir.

    My replies,

    #1. It never becomes easy, because so many other people are affected when a business fails.

    #2. A business plan can never cover for the realities of the real world. Imagine waking up and the currency has changed, or interests rates are hiked to 50%?
    It could be because of a deep economic crisis which leaves consumers with no money.

    #3. It could be because not enough people buy leaving you with increasing and unsustainable costs.

    I will answer your other question separately because it is important.

  17. Joseph Okopi Onyilokwu writes,

    Halo Mr Strive, you do more with your posts than you may ever know. I’ve been following for a while now and the impact has been tremendous, especially in terms of helping me reposition after a major set back.
    This will be my first ever response. “Life for any business comes from the customer,” you said. “You can develop an amazing product but when you take it to the customers, they’re either Underwhelmed or simply not wiling to pay for it.”
    These two statements from your post aptly captures my experience from almost four years ago.
    I learnt valid lessons from my setback, lessons I’m poised to implement as I get ready to stage a come back in this season.
    If I may ask, however, in order to keep from overwhelming your customers with your “amazing product”, is there any specific thing you must do, in a broad sense, to make your product still amazing but not underwhelming , such that your customers will be willing to pay?
    I run skill acquisition/media training programs.

    My reply,
    Thank you for this comment, which very much contributes to the understanding.
    I hope your next venture will be a roaring success given the “degree” you got from your previous studies!

    # As I pointed out before, the most important thing is not just to have a good product [or service] but one for which other people are willing to pay for, on a consistent basis, and at a price that allows you to re-invest, and therefore expand, whilst leaving some profit for you and your shareholders.

    #If customers don’t think the product is good enough, they vote with their money.

  18. Blessing Machiya Shumbakadzi writes,

    It’s not easy to give up a business idea but sometimes it makes sense to do so! I never looked at Vaya Clean City from that angle of getting businesses who pay to get their trash removed. I actually saw it making money in another way!

    My reply,
    If there is another way to get paid for this service, I would dearly love to know it.
    You are now a seasoned entrepreneur. Consider for a moment:
    #1. We have to pay every single truck owner for each bin bag collected.
    #2. We have to pay every single franchisee for every bin bag collected.
    #3. We have to pay separately every single one of the street cleaners.

    We are not a municipal authority that can levy rates for the service.

    The business model requires people to pay for collection from their homes, and businesses.
    Thousands of people already pay for private contractors to collect from them, and also buy water, even though these are supposed to be municipal services. The Clean City App just enables everyone to get the services from private contractors in a reliable and efficient way.

  19. Ramse Habiib writes [ edited]

    Secondly if a business is operating just at Break Even point, without significant markup margins for reinvestment, would you recommend a shut down? From your experience sir.

    My reply,
    I would need to first understand at what stage in the business cycle you are.
    Then I would want to know why you are not able to improve the margin.
    Ask some hard questions, often with help from someone who is dispassionate, and separated.
    If you have been going for a long while, and you are not able to lift those margins, then you consider two options:
    #1. Sell the business to someone else.
    Or [if you cannot find a buyer]
    #2. Shut it down.

    Take time off, recharge your emotional batteries completely and come back after a few years even.

  20. Abel Moyo writes,

    Its difficult to shut a business down especially if you optimistic. But i guess its part of the entrepreneurship to move on and keep innovating until you stumble on a gem. My question is how long should you wait to see this is not going to work in the next 3 to 5years. What are the performance indicators you look for?

    My reply,
    A great question which cannot be answered in a few short lines. This requires even a tutorial but the best way for you to proceed is to look for books and articles on this subject.

  21. #Pause:
    A business associate who was struggling with his business approached me approached me for help.
    Before giving him money, I asked him to explain what was happening in his business. After listening to him, I came to the conclusion that he had to shut it down quickly. So I told him.
    What do you think happened next?
    He became so angry and bitter, first accusing me for jealousy and eventually even threatened to kill me!

    To this very day, 20 years later that brother [and he was a brother] still hates me.

    People get so emotional when a business is failing and are desperate to find someone else to blame.
    It is wise to be circumspect when dealing with people in this situation.
    This is hard, hard, hard!
    Be careful to whom and how you give advice. This is an area where even your own sibling or partner will be unforgiving. Don’t just rush in to give advice for people to consider shutting down.

  22. Tinashe Chimuriwo writes,

    Strive Masiyiwa I have not yet made deep comparison but I believe Sir there is more money in the recycling part. Instead of collecting and disposing the waste, collecting and recycling I believe will make more especially that you can afford big machinery and through your App you can have many contractors. All those contractors and individuals can collect for you. Sweden actually imports waste for recycling. On my small part I’m experimenting on hand made toys, I’m artistic and creative but no equipment for now to do large scale recycling.

    My reply,
    I understand the model you are presenting because it was discussed. We discounted it after looking at the complexity, because it was completely outside our own “skill set”. We run a digital App for Logistics [Vaya Logistics]. We don’t want to step outside our area of competence.
    From outside it looks like we can do anything, but it is not that simple. What I would like to see is the emergence of large Waste Management companies scaled through our platform, and it is these companies that will then do what you are suggesting. It is already happening!

    This means that if our own model fails, the service would have to shut down.

  23. Nyiel A. Gordon writes,

    I am from South Sudan and the news of Liquid Telecom coming into our country got me extremely excited, it’s even all over every single national newspaper.
    I’m glad the company got the contract because internet connectivity will finally be a reality in our country.
    South Sudan has countless of opportunities and installation of fibre optics will make everything much easier for entrepreneurs and investors.
    We thank God for this development.
    South Sudan is officially opened for business!!!

    My reply,
    Thank you for these kind remarks.

    As a business we take a lot of risk:
    #1. We are going to spend millions up front building this cable.
    The government does not contribute anything towards this cost.
    We will create more than 5000 jobs just building the network to get to the capital.
    Then we will have to build around the towns and cities, and to people’s homes and businesses.
    #2. Hopefully customers will buy the services.

    If anything goes wrong, like another conflict, we will be forced to leave everything behind, and our investment will be lost.

    We have faith in you…

  24. Joel Nmalagu writes,

    Strive Masiyiwa Sir, I want to assume that the end results of these waste collected are to be recycled hence private contractors make their income via that means ; something to be considered is what will attract people to use The Clean City App which will in turn attract private contractors to leverage on The Clean City App.

    #1. I will suggest that more awareness either in form of advertising should go into this to make people aware of the efficient ways to dispose their watse.

    I will give an example ; in my area where I live in Lagos many times the trash bin gets so filled up that it litters the surroundings this is as a result on failure in the part of private contractors failing to come pick up the trash bin. But this can be solved with The Clean City App ; people can use the app to search for PRIVATE CONTRACTORS NEAR YOU and in minutes the trash bin can be picked up.

    And rather than make it a monthly subscription to pay for the service it can be PAY – As-You – Go.

    I expect that when I click on the app to connect with a private contractor near me it should state different sizes in weight this will determine how much each waste pick up should cost… Maybe 2kg this amount, 10kg that amount or 50kg so so amount.

    Then these contractors will pay for “CONNECT” service rendered by The CLEAN CITY APP just like the Uber model.

    This may not make sense but it’s just my thoughts.

    The Clean City App can also be used as an advertising platform to earn passive incomes when it has gained alot subscribers.

    My reply,
    I suggest that you download the App even from Nigeria, to see how it actually works.

    #1. Clean City is a franchisor. There are specialist Waste Management companies that are franchised on the platform. They have a zone to operate in:
    They have to collect waste on a schedule every day. The App allows us to see where every truck is and when it has collected a bin bag, we know automatically. There is a system for this!
    If someone’s bin has not been collected, they just advise the administrator and a separate vehicle will come to collect.
    The bags are taken to sorting centers where recyclables are separated by specialist companies.

    The customer knows exactly when a truck arrives at their gate. If there is no collection they can even send a photo!

    It is managed by Vaya [our own competitor to Uber]

  25. Ronald Nhambura Sithole writes,

    I remember one time when Dr Strive Masiyiwa availed loans for youths based in rural areas.As youths in urban areas we felt left out,but this one now comes with its opportunities to the urban populace especially the youth yet majority may not even consider it due to the nature of the work.
    As for me I am ready to extract money from those garbages

    My reply,
    When I was a child my mother used to buy second hand clothes at auctions and sell them from the boot of her car at townships in Zambia.
    Her friends who were educated women like her thought she was crazy. She would always say to me:
    “My son, you have to stoop to conquer”.
    Most people never reach their full potential because they are too proud, and turn their noses at jobs they see as beneath them.
    In a tough job market, take what ever job enables you to put food on the table and sends kids to school. Next try to find ways to make some savings here and there.

    One reason I hate hyper inflation is that it destroys the savings of small business people.

  26. Kenyan Mathenge Simon writes,

    I am in that stage right now. I’ve created an App for some players in the insurance industry. Having launched it and have some 46 people already using it for free, my worry is whether once I have enough clients in my platform they will be ready to pay after the free trial period is over.
    If it never happens I will just fold it up and live to fight another day no matter how good and brilliant I think the idea is. However I hope it doesn’t come to that.

    My reply,
    This is such an important comment.
    Every entrepreneur who develops a business must face this situation:
    “Will the customer be willing to pay for this service?”
    Apps in particular are really hard to turn into a revenue generating model. In Africa there are no “Ad [-vertizing] revenues”~don’t let anyone fool you to think that you can offer a service for free and make money from advertising [very difficult in Africa at this time]:

    Turning the App into a revenue model is generally very tough.
    So you have to be very astute when time comes to make money on this.

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