I was recently approached by a Kenyan journalist who was bemoaning the fact there was so much activity in the local tech scene, but that so many weren’t making a lot of money on their startups yet.
It was an interesting moment for me, as I looked at last year’s iHub Research study showing 48 new companies out in the past 2 years (I’ll need an update for 2012 numbers). I look at the numbers of say 30-40 new tech startups in Kenya each year and I think, that’s not enough. We know only 10-20% will make it. Personally, I’m not happy with 3-6 companies each year getting through, we need more. I’ll be a lot happier when we see 100+ new startups, working out of all the new incubators and getting the investment and users/clients they need to grow.
In short, we need more, not fewer startups in Kenya.
It might be uncomfortable for some of us, as we’ve seen the increasing amount of activity and we’re not used to it. However, a growth in this space is exactly what we need if we are to fulfill our own potential for being Africa’s tech innovation hotbed.
It’s also a bit hard to see so many companies fail. This is normal though, it’s what we should expect. As long as the entrepreneurs are learning from what went wrong, then it can serve as a good lesson that makes them more investible in the future. It’ll help us get used to a much more rapid ideation >> creation >> failure/success model.
Here’s the full infographic from the iHub, updated for 2012 (click for full size):
November 27, 2012 at 2:18 am
That image is too big, wish I was on a touch display device.
November 28, 2012 at 5:38 am
Great stuff. One question. Which software do you use to produce your graphics and presentations? I think they are amazing.
November 29, 2012 at 2:17 pm
In theory I agree, but our society does not see failure positively. Once you fail, your career can crash and burn there and then, even getting a bank loan could be a challenge. Then what?
December 4, 2012 at 9:39 am
You really should add a share button to your blogposts 🙂
December 12, 2012 at 3:55 am
May I ask how you created the amazing graphics / charts?
January 27, 2013 at 9:09 am
Great stuff. We have started a similar initiative in KNUST called the Tech Hub. Very good prospect, keep it up. Think we should find a way to harmonize all these initiatives across Africa.