“The opportunity to engage with innovative startups like Fincra and AltSchool was just one of the many eye opening experiences at Techpoint build this year.”
-Aniagu Donald R
I wrote a really long piece about my experience at Techpoint build this year but I’ve had to cut out quite a lot in order to keep it within readable length. I cannot quite remember when exactly in 2018 I first had contact with Techpoint’s website but I know since then, I have stayed abreast of all the happenings in the areas of technology and business. Techpoint Africa is a top name in the African technology scene. Techpoint Africa has steadily advanced the gospel of tech this side of the globe. The tech media platform also boasts of several other business activities such as data surveys / reports, events, and seminars.
Her flagship event, Techpoint Build, is arguably the top three largest startup and tech events in Africa.
This year, I attended the 2021 edition of Techpoint Build, which was held on the 22nd of January 2022. I garnered several significant lessons from my experience at the full-day event. Below are some of my gleanings:
Techpoint Build is accustomed to having focal goals for each year’s conference. This year’s theme being “The Next Frontier,” expectations for the conference were hinged on a four-point agenda viz: the networking possibilities and benefits, the competition between startups, exhibitions that give startups the opportunity to engage participants and enlighten them about their products, and an award ceremony to celebrate outstanding technology, startups, investors and entrepreneurs in the industry.
It was easy for even non-tech enthusiasts to note upon first entry that Techpoint Build is first a gathering of like minds within the tech industry and a flaming avenue for enthusiasts, admirers, and new entrants to converge at one event and rub minds. It is essentially a room for industry players to ruminate over the industry so far, where it currently is, and ways to move things even further. For me, I did not take it for granted that I was standing right next to some industry greats and wasted no time in networking with some of the recognizable names and other new names I found striking.
Worthy of mention is Tayo Aina, whose works I have religiously followed on YouTube and social media and Fola Olatunji-David a leader in the startup scene. Techpoint is set up such that you just walk up to these people and have a conversation as they’re available and accessible – this gave me the opportunity to share some ideas with some of them and I got meaningful feedback from them right on the spot. It’s a surreal experience.
Having previously tested the waters of running a startup, I was more than keen to watch the competition between startups and absolutely loved the ideas and the insight they shared.
More striking was that the average demographic of individuals involved fell within the young university students all the way to mid mid-career working class age range. In addition, I witnessed practical representation of various technology applications across diverse fields and industries as the competition ram its course.
At the end of the day, the Ghanaian Agro Startup Worldtech Consult clinched the first position and walked home with the grand prize of $10,000 of non-equity funding. World tech focuses on providing low-temperature storage facilities powered by solar energy but for smaller-scale farmers and agropreneurs. Doctor, founded by Ugandan entrepreneurs, won second place for its idea to provide healthcare solutions.
Before the conference, calls were made for nominations of startups into select categories that included edtech, finance, logistics, and payment solutions. In addition, Venture Capitalists were also nominated for their respective categories. Some of the noteworthy winners included GIGL, which won the most outstanding mobility and logistics company award, while uLesson won the award for the most outstanding education company. For the healthtech category, 54gene clinched the most outstanding company. Finally, Releaf rose above many other impressive startups within the Agrotech industry to win the most outstanding Agrotech company award.
One very interesting conference session where I gained valuable insights was the pitch session where various startups got the opportunity to sell their ideas and pitch their businesses to the audience and a panel. One of the startups that impressed me was AltSchool Africa, an edtech startup providing technical skills for individuals willing to gain a career start in software engineering by adopting a non-traditional path.
At the end of the conference, I was left with a huge bubble feeling from amassing so much information, experiences, and new perspectives over such a short period. If there was, however, anything I took home with me, it was that the world was much bigger than my little locality, yet I could make a difference if I stay learning and building.
You have no idea how huge a relief it was to learn that I and my guys do not need to kill ourselves trying to build our fintech idea the same old way. Our dream of owning a fintech, is covered when we plug into Fincra’s payment infrastructure. They actually support some of the biggest names in the tech scene. When I heard the names of businesses they support, my jaw dropped. These businesses have raised millions and scaled immensely without downtime and I didn’t know fincra was behind them. Fincra is more like a fintech product boutique where anything finance/payment-related is built, fixed and grown. Their APIs fit seamlessly into new and existing products to expand that product’s feature to include things like virtual debit cards, addition of payment via currencies such as NGN, GBP & EUROS. The biggest surprise for me is how fincra has an agency-banking-in-a-box product. Literally go to fincra and collect an agency bank (entire tech stack, Licences and all you’ll need to take full control and get it running) put the sticker of your brand on it and go to market. Dassol!
Startups dey this land!
54Gene is another startup really blowing my mind. They solve problems regarding the health of Africans which we don’t even know we have. You can check them out here
I also learned that products can be built much faster and easier when one plugs into existing infrastructure without the regular fear of control over scaling it, customizing it as you have all the controls as the product owner.
I was left with a fresh resolve to focus on finding quality ideas as we are now in the age where product development happens the fastest and the easiest ever! I and my team have spent the past three weeks since the event reworking our product (which we are yet to name) and should ship our agency banking product soon – we are done trying to reinvent the wheel. Africa needs us to push even further with something remarkable enough to solve significant problems in our society.
Please look out for my next article which will be about our seed round as a startup.
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