Op-Pieces, Startups

5 startup lessons from an African entrepreneur’s interview

For Context: TechCabal had an interview with Kola Oyeneyin, founder of Autogenius — a startup looking to disrupt the insurance industry in Nigeria. Having read the interview I culled up 5 valuable lessons for entrepreneurs who aspire to launch game-changing startups. The original interview of Autogenius is here.

1. Good idea that sounds like a bad idea

Peter Thiel was in Dublin recently for the Web Summit and after seeing him talk (along side 3 teen entrepreneurs from his foundation) I started to get a better grasp at his rant on ‘good ideas that sound like bad ideas’ and how these are ideas that eventually disrupt or carry attributes of true innovation. Ben Horowitz jumped on the bandwagon and this video of his does shed good light on the topic.

I realized that Insurance worked. I had tasted the value of insurance and I loved it.

I’d like to think Autogenius is one of such type of ideas especially since you can draw a parallels with the beginning of Airbnb as both Founders have secrets, in this case it is Kola Oyeneyin’s personal experience with insurance.

2. Leave room to pivot and scale

If there is anything I took away from winning the Accenture Leaders of Tomorrow entrepreneurial award it is that successful entrepreneurs are those that go all in into their ventures with leeway to learn on the journey, inevitably pivot, and eventually scale.

So it was good to read Autogenius’ founder say –

Even though our “Genius” brand will be extended to other insurance products later, for now, the genius is working for Nigerians in the auto insurance space.

This happens to be the exactly the same sheet out of Rap Genius (now Genius) playbook. Coincidence these two share similar brand names? Now that’s one question I expected TechCabal to ask.

3. Edify. You are strong as your team

This is one thing Kola Oyeneyin did not hold back on as he was very quick to mention this at the very beginning of the interview.

Creating a product that actually has an obvious value proposition in an environment where hypes are the order of the day is credit to the amazing team that we have at AutoGenius.

He also touched on how the product was developed 100% locally, again showcasing the level of talent and expertise the startup possessed. Smart move adding a quick plug for Venia (supposedly the parent company to Autogenius) and how the company was all about promoting local content? I thought it was going to be ‘talent’ instead though.

4. Answer smart on competition-question

When asked about a funded competitor – insured.ng, it was quite interesting to see the Autogenius founder reply with the following:

I’m sure customers know difference between myautogenius.com and any other platform out there.

He was asked about a rival that is known as it’s web address and thus he gave an answer with his own web address – myautogenious.com and not just Autogenius before going hard on the differentiators.

5. Work and partner with the best people

For success you have to have more the best people working with you. You’d also need to work with the best people in partner companies – nothing but their A-team as that goes a long way in determining the relationship built and the outcomes of such alliances.

We have been extremely fortunate to be working with the best of the companies in the industries who are technologically advanced themselves.

There you have it.

This post was first published on TechCabal as Five Things I Learned From TechCabal’s Interview With Autogenius and all quotes were emphasized by me.

Credit Photos: Thanks for the amazing photo from Unsplash.com

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