Tech Money Africa brings the whole ecosystem of Technology, Innovation and Finance across Africa to understand how technology can change lives on the continent while providing support to tech talent, start-ups and helping them secure investment and get bankable.
The 2019 edition which was officially sponsored by Wakanow also serves as a platform to inspire, educate, connect tech leaders in major public, private organisations on the latest innovation, disruption to support citizen and customer service delivery.
This year, Tech Money Africa was privileged to have the CEO of Wakanow; Obinna Ekezie grace the stage to share his inspirational story of grit, determination and starting up a viable tech business in Africa.
Currently, the biggest and only indigenous Online Travel Company in Africa, Wakanow boasts of the largest share of the highest inbound travel in Africa and a larger share in gross outbound bookings in Africa.
Wakanow, a continental champion with roots in Dubai, Ghana, Kenya, as well as in the United Kingdom remains Africa’s biggest one-stop travel consolidator for amazing flight tickets, hotel booking, visa assistance, transfers, travel tours and much more. Obinna had a lot to say during the talk.
Below is a transcript of some highlighted points during his session.
Asked About How It All Started
“After my first injury during my playing days in the NBA, I began thinking about what happens next when I retire, I needed to do something”.
“One time, I had difficulty booking flights online when I visited Nigeria on holidays”.
“Then I had the idea to set up an indigenous travel company for Africa”.
“I wrote the content on our website myself and my partner Ralph went around Nigeria signing contracts with hotels”
“We earned no salary in our first two years”.
Asked about the first breakthrough for the business
“I walked into a business exhibition in South Africa 🇿🇦 one day and came across my first big deal with FIFA in 2010. Sometimes luck shines, but it shines when opportunity meets preparation”.
“In three years, after running this business I had just N4 in my account the first day the first investor walked into Wakanow”
“I cried for one hour after calling my dad to give him the news of my first breakthrough in business”.
Asked about how friends and family reacted to the dream of building a travel company after retiring from the NBA in 2007.
“A lot of people were so negative towards my Wakanow dream”
“I came back to Nigeria with millions of Naira, but mother wasn’t the biggest believer in my dreams but my dad believed and invested in me. The day I met the first Investor I had only but N4 in my account. I was not going to stop chasing my dreams”
Advise To Upcoming Entrepreneurs
“Nigeria is a phenomenal market! There’s nothing you can’t sell in this country”.
Reporting to investors is one thing I had to learn on the road when I hit my first block. I lost all my first investment as cost rose quicker than our revenue.
“Never compromise on talents. You hire the best talents you’ll get the best ideas”.
“You might not have the money to start up but you can walk up to your network and build an empire; just believe in your dream and have a solid plan”.
“Partnerships are important. Money is not a differentiator of success, your vision is. Money is secondary and should not stop your dream”.