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Sam Gichuru @SamGichuru
, 11 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
Is it harder today than 5 yrs ago for startups in Nairobi?

Then you could walk into ihub or Nailab with only an idea, you didn't have to pay for a hot desk, it resulted in companies like Wezatele, sematime, eneza, etc.

Not to mention, you found a ready willing mentor.
Every other weekend there was a Hackathon.

Hackathons help your idea grow & get validated, learn to pitch, meet other engineers, get feedback & if lucky you get some $ for OPEX.

Then some smart-a** KOTs attacked Hackathons & funders (NGO’s) got shy & stopped funding them
So corporate's stepped-in to fund that gap that NGOs left, but as usual they had self interest as businesses.

1. To protect their downside, they didn't want a 20 yr old Uni-kid surprising them & disrupting their entire business.

2. Acquire new young customers i.e banking etc
But even worse was disrupting innovators with corporate sponsored events.

Corporate's LOVE events, for product launches, for brands to remain relevant, build communities around their products. etc

Nothing to do with innovations or the startups.
Those startups who are still trying to strike a deal with Safaricom/Bank or some big corporate.. Stop

You cannot date the same companies you are trying to disrupt.
Uber did not go looking for yellow cabs,
Airbnb did not go signing contracts with hotels, etc etc
The temptation here is they will share their distribution networks & you will scale rapidly. They won't, you will just caution them if you're a real threat.

If they decide to partner, it will take a year plus and it won't be what you imagined when you started negotiations
Unfortunately, nobody is going to tell you this during a hackathon sponsored by the same corporates :)

Secondly, the mentors will be their available midlevel managers who have never built a startup.

But here is a link that will save your idea/startup -
Just 5 years ago, Kenya was on everybody's lips as a tech hub, the last 2 years Nigeria has taken over & is producing better well funded indigenous startups @theflutterwave, @paylaterNG , @paystack

I just come from Uganda recently and they are on fire!
So now,
- Many events, but few honest conversations
- Not enough hackathons/ideation platforms
- Key opinion leaders in tech are not entrepreneurs, haven't built anything
- Hubs & labs, are more of co-working spaces not startup accelerators
- No angel investors

should I go on?
The good news is there are groups of people doing everything possible to ensure the survival/thriving ecosystem by setting standardization, collaborating etc, I believe the next wave of co-working spaces, accelerators & other ecosystem enables will launch from a better platform.
Very open to hear what you think could have been done better and should be done better in the next coming 5 years, What better support mechanism should be put in place, what platforms, what kind of environment etc
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