A Nigerian Startup: Not thinking mobile? you are so wrong!!!

Any Nigerian startup that wants to get some form of traction and probably produce a mass product but isn’t doing or thinking about doing mobile is so so wrong. And when I say mobile, I am not talking about the approximately 150,000 blackberry users spread across the major GSM networks in the country, I am talking about the baseline population i.e. people with $50 Nokia phones.  Here are some reasons why you should be going down the mobile route.

1. Nigeria has a population of 154.7million people, approximately 80million mobile subscribers and an estimated 10million Internet subscribers. Any startup that goes the mobile route has opened itself to a potential market of 80million people. Even if such a startup decides to go freemium and have a business model based on advertising, its still a huge market to mine from and make profits.

2. With approximately 10 million Internet subscribers, if out of this number, 5 million access the web through their mobile devices, this leaves 75 million mobile subscribers without access to the web. Any startup that decides to target this demographic with mobile services like mobile alerts, sms search, sms coupons etc will be extremely profitable. Taking a site like Nairalist (a site with huge potential, but hasn’t really taken off) as a case study, if the owners of Nairalist could allow me setup mobile alerts via SMS against keywords of stuff I am interested in buying on the site and then alert me when ever posts which match my keywords are posted by advertisers, this would make the site extremely useful to me and weave itself into the fabric of my daily routine. This is a “sticky feature” which will make me want to use the website more and more.

3. Most people lunge around with their phones and other mobile devices wherever the go, hence sending SMS alerts, coupons or other mobile VAS (value added services) from your application or website will definitely be seen by this users and acted upon almost immediately. This can not be said of pure web services like emails and other web alerts which will only be seen by users only if they log onto your website.

4. For startups looking for that killer idea, I can name so many that involve SMS and other mobile features e.g. SMS alerts, SMS search, Traffic Reports, Mobile Coupons (think Groupon via SMS), SMS news service and alerts, the list goes on and on.

Incorporating mobile features into a website or application isn’t difficult and it exposes your startup to a huge untapped market.