Lagos is undisputedly the Tech capital of Nigeria and maybe even West Africa. This is a fact known both locally and even internationally and it did not come as a surprise that when Mark ‘Sugarbag’ (you probably know him as Zuckerberg) was to make his first visit to Nigeria, Lagos was his first point of call. In the past, many have questioned why a lot of tech events happen in Lagos and not in some other parts of the country. Many argued that technology should not be limited by location and as such real growth in the Nigerian tech sector would mean tech events and innovations springing forth in places outside Lagos.
And as if someone had sprinkled enough tech water and fertilizer to support growth, many tech events, hubs and start-ups have been sprouting in other parts of the country outside Lagos. This has brought to fore the pool of talents and ideas that might exist outside Lagos that we have been ignoring. This is crucial in breaking the age long myth that you have to make your way to Lagos to be successful in Nigeria especially if you are solving one or two of societal problems with technology.
Allow me therefore to shine the spotlight on 10 of the Nigerian tech companies fostering the culture of technological innovations and spreading the gospel of technology in places outside Lagos.
Abuja might have been known as the go to location for government contracts and expensive real estates, but recently the recent sprout of tech start-ups is giving the city a new outlook. One of this innovative start-ups is MyPadi, which provides critical information about off-campus accommodation to student and corp members with relevant media, pricing and location from verified landlords. The platform which boasts of over 4000 rooms in 62 schools across Nigeria was the 2nd Runner up at the 23rd Nigerian Economic Summit’s (NES23) pitching event.
The oil rich city of Port-Harcourt has not been left out of the Tech revival sweeping across the country with the likes of Uchay Ariolu leading the charge with his tech start-up – Foodstantly. The online marketplace was created to provide solution to the risk and rigor of shopping in dirty open air market. A restaurant-chain owner himself, the innovation was born out of trying to shop for food for his business. With thousands of registered buyers and sellers, the online marketplace offers ready to cook and ready to eat food.
In Abia, Augustine Madumere is solving a critical problem most businesses and project face with his online funding platform. Imeela is a platform to fund and be funded for businesses, creative and charitable projects.
Ibadan is s’owing up on the tech map of Nigeria with innovative start-ups like Comestibles; an online marketplace that connects and delivers food from farmers, restaurants and grocery stores to food consumers. Comestibles have some other integrated innovative products like the ComestiblePay – a Fintech product that allows customers pay without need for cash or debit cards and others like the Intelligent shopping cart and food timetable.
A leading software development company is keeping the tech culture alive in Benin City. Saru tech, managed by Agbonaye Osaru pitches itself as company that delivers quality Website designs, desktop software solutions, mobile applications and Code academy, for individuals, companies, start-ups and government bodies within and outside Nigeria.
Nasir Yammama was listed among the Forbes Africa 30-Under-30 young Africans for his commitment to the improvement of the standard of living in Africa with his start-up – Verdant. Verdant is a digital platform that provides personalised scientific agricultural information and marketing intelligence to crop farmers in Nigeria through apps for urban/peri-urban farmers and USSD for rural farmers.
Up East, Omasirichukwu Udeinya’s Novadge is a start-up based in Enugu specialized in the development of new technology to solve critical societal issues. In the E-health sector, Novadge developed Chart Synergy to facilitate collaboration between the stakeholders in the health sector and provide access to medical information and clinical quality standards. Vault, another innovations of Novadge is a document management tool to control the life cycle of files and documents in organizations.
The city of the brown roofs is also home to Oladipo Olayanju’s Afridext. Afridext started out with an idea to gamify buying and selling of graphics design but realised that as disruptive as the idea might seem, it might not be sustainable. Now, Afridext has a number of registered professional graphics designer who offer their designs to customers who need them at a price. It is an online market place for high quality graphics designs.
Osun state is also catching the tech fever with the likes of Wipixar leading the way with its team of developers that deliver quality and professional web designs, web and mobile applications, animation and other corporate branding services. The team is led by David Oladeji, a serial tech entrepreneur with a number of tech start-ups to his portfolio.
When his parent’s health deteriorated and they felt neglected while he pursued a means of livelihood, Dr. Ebi Ofrey was deeply hurt and this birthed a solution not just for his parents but for many others in the society. This led to the creation of Gerocare, a subscription based online platform out of Port-Harcourt, through which the elderly can get regular home visitations by doctors to ensure their health are monitored regularly and effectively managed.
If there is one thing the uprising of these start-ups highlights, it is that the tech culture is fast spreading across the country. It is only a matter of time before other places outside Lagos catches the fire. And this is not just crucial in placing the country on the world’s tech map but would also serve as a boost for the country’s economic perception and outlook to the world.