NJIHIA: Lessons on creating own luck in a dynamic market

Often success in business for an entrepreneur is about being in the right place at the right time with the right product in a decent enough state. For an investor it is about seeing beyond the obvious and knowing one’s strength.

Why I choose to say “decent enough” is that in technology, a product or service is never quite done and it exists in a constant state of flux.

Notwithstanding, technology entrepreneurs have often borne the brunt of a market onslaught by inferior offerings.

At a time when barriers to entry in disruptive spaces are lower than ever, those interested in technology-differentiated businesses must view opportunities from a different set of strategic lenses to maximise on their return on sweat and capital.

The following three fictitious scenarios drive home the point.

Sendy took a tangent with their boda boda opportunity while the market was excited about Uber and closed on a healthy pot of gold that saw Safaricom participate in the round.

To the keen eye, the interest by the mobile network operator is obvious, Mpesa has reached P2P saturation and the mobile commerce retail play is where the action is. They already have the payments locked down and they can easily increase their revenues by having consumers ditch cash and plastic.

The one thing standing in the way of a holistic solution is logistics, which they now have by way of Sendy. It is only a matter of time before major retailers are onboarded and Safaricom recoups its investment several fold.

BitPesa invested time educating users on a fairly technical piece of technology built off the block chain and are arguably the continental leaders in what is the future of money movement.

Financial infrastructure service provider Interswitch from Nigeria has come calling while BitPesa has taken the flight west. See where this could go?

The Angani duo, coming from the occurrences of the past few weeks, could easily fire off a new outfit that is better in all aspects, with lessons from the trenches well taken and a renewed vigour to take things head on. They seeded the cloud opportunity in a way that most understood it and there is capital and talent waiting at the fringes.

Venture Capital for Africa, self-proclaimed as the largest community of entrepreneurs and money men on the continent, is brimming with potential for those who can build value, marry technology to the marketplace, have a good feel for local dynamics and perhaps most importantly have access to key networks in sectors that matter.

It may be impossible to manifest all these as a person or team so the next best thing is to forge partnerships that deliver the mix and in essence create your own luck.

Mbugua Njihia is CEO of Symbiotic | www.mbuguanjihia.com | @mbuguanjihia