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#Startupsouth: Startups, The Press, South, East & West


One of the cardinal success factors in Entrepreneurship is promotion.
Promotion for a new startup (pre-money) can mean free press mention. A lot of us fail at Pitching the Press partly because we don’t understand Journalists.

Most times a new startup doesn’t necessarily need an all-out publicity on the onset. At other times strategic press exposure can mean the difference between success and failure.

For Startups operating outside Lagos, this can even get harder. To get positive free press Coverage requires connection to journalists with editorial influence in established media platforms. A lot of Startups founders lack the skills to market their stories to journalists.

To succeed, Startup founders will need to acquire press pitching skills. The most successful founders are those that have mastered the art of Four dimensional Relationship — Press, Clients, Staff and Investors — in no particular order.

In a recent interview with the vanguard, I talked about Investors largely underestimating other tech clusters in Nigeria. It’s not different with media coverage and with the media largely concentrated in Lagos, it’s not difficult to see why.

Living in Lagos doesn’t also automatically confer on an entrepreneur the networking ability required to woo journalists and get favorable/free press coverage. If this is true for Entrepreneurs in Lagos, those outside Lagos would have to do even more work.

There needs to be more effort to cover Startups in other places but the founders have a responsibility to step up, pitch the press and tell their stories.

I have chosen to tell the stories of some of the Startups in the South-south and South-East as my contribution to the emerging eco-system — to the best of my ability and as my time permits. Hopefully my friend Daser David of nHub Jos can talk about the North. South West is already adequately covered. I hope these founders take a cue and tell their stories themselves eventually.

While some of the Startups down South-South (in Port Harcourt precisely) are actually already profitable, others have validated concepts ready to scale.

One of the startups I believe is ready for prime time is PamDrive — an Uber-like cab service which launched barely four months ago with only four cabs. The service currently boast of over fifty cabs covering mainly Port Harcourt and adjoining cities. In context, Uber is presently available only in Lagos and Abuja — two of Nigeria’s major cities but Kano and Port Harcourt are the country’s other major Economic hubs.

PamDrive allows you to hail a cab from your mobile phone using their app (available both on Play and App Stores) or voice call. If done through the app, you can see the cab as it arrives your position within 10–15mins displaying vehicle number and driver’s name. They are currently working to reduce wait time to just 5 minutes.

While there had been similar startups in the past, PamDrive so far has demonstrated a good knowledge of the business terrain and hunger for success — judging by their rapid fleet growth and patronage. They don’t want their figures published, but I can tell they are on course to make a big splash in this space.

There’s also Cinefores who has quietly and systematically dominated the edutech space — providing registration and student management solution to most of the tertiary institutions in the South-South and parts of South-East. They also have some consumer products — brainfield.

One of the components of this year’s #StartupSouth is a discussion on managing Press for Startups. Register at 2.startupsouth.org/register See you at #StartupSouth2.

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