founder Series: Meet the uncap techpreneurs

Being in business is rarely ever a straightforward journey and entrepreneurs can tell you that their brands constantly undergo major transformation. 2020 spared no one as we all battled the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. We sat down with two founders in the tech space who gained from the first round of investment from Uncap to find out how they’ve shaped their businesses over the years.

Annabel Angwenyi – Cofounder Ziada

Ziada is a platform that enables you to find and book trusted service and business suppliers within your area.

1) What inspired you to start your business?
We came up with the idea in late 2016. The reason was twofold, one was that we ourselves are small business owners that we’re struggling to match with prospective clients, and became privy to business opportunities once they had lapsed. We wanted to remedy that.

Secondly, we kept finding ourselves in need of service providers, and though sure of their existence, didn’t know how or where to find them for the transactions to occur. These scenarios led us on the path to creating Ziada.

 2) How long have you been in business & if you were to start again, what would you do differently?
Our first version went live in 2017 but we took a break very quickly after. Firstly, because our team was not ready but the market was also green. Interestingly, the few users we had in that version were the ones to alert us to the market readiness. They kept reaching out asking when we were coming back and that their peers were looking for a solution like Ziada. We did a market assessment and decided to relaunch in 2020 and the market was indeed ready and our traction shows it.

If we were to start again, we’d include a technical co-founder. This would have saved us a lot of time and money.

3) How did Covid-19 change your business priorities or force you to pivot?

We had very grand plans for field campaigns to re-introduce ourselves to the market. All these plans continue to be shelved due to the pandemic.

Social media and digital ads have had to compensate for the lack of physical interaction with our users and though they fall short in some ways, they have been a good source of conversion and growth for us and we’ve learned how to optimize these resources in a way that we might not have.

We’re part of the share of start-ups that have reaped some benefits from Covid-19 as it forced businesses to go online. We were perfectly placed for the businesses to take advantage of to have a semblance of continuity with such a huge business disruption.  

 4) How has the Uncap investment impacted your business?
Uncap did one big thing for us and that was to expedite our app development process. Before we were only paying for what we could afford to get done each month which was very frustrating. The investment helped get dedicated hours to our project that got us to market in the knick of time.

Uncap has gone beyond an investor and has introduced us to their extended network and even nominated us to other programs that have been greatly beneficial to Ziada. Our cohort of investees has a group where we share wins and losses, share opportunities, and cheer each other on. This comradery is a benefit of being a part of Uncap, extras to being an investee that is invaluable.

5) What advice would you give an entrepreneur who is thinking of applying for investment at Uncap? 
Uncap goes beyond an investor and the benefits to investees are much larger than the monetary amount that Uncap puts in the entrepreneurs they believe in. 


Dominic Onyekachi – Founder Akiddie

Akiddie helps creators create interactive digital children’s content for their communities.

1) What inspired you to start your business?
I was asked to read a story for my niece but I discovered that she didn’t have any African stories in her library, even though we lived in Lagos. I went to the market to try to find some but I couldn’t find any, so I decided to write her a book! When I discovered her friends and classmates loved the book, I came up with the idea for Akiddie. I thought it would be interesting to put all the African children’s books I could find on a platform so that any African child anywhere could have stories just for them with the click of a button. That was when we came up with the basic idea. We’ve now evolved to be a digital content marketplace for children’s content and now Akiddie also serves other minority communities.

 2) How long have you been in business & if you were to start again, what would you do differently?

We started working on Akiddie in late 2018 as students and launched the web version in May 2020. If I were to start again, I think I’d try to think of problems more in the form of personas and data.

3) How did Covid-19 change your business priorities or force you to pivot?

Covid radically changed our business because the initial execution strategy focused on getting Akiddie into school. But with schools shut down and losing revenue, we picked the worst possible time to play that angle. We decided to pivot away from the e-library model to a marketplace model after that, to serve an increased market and to spread the impact to more minority groups, to be capital efficient.

 4) How has the Uncap investment impacted your business?

When we launched initially in 2020, one of the greatest issues we faced was a high churn rate. This was because we didn’t have money to market the product and the organic marketing was not bringing in enough people to support content making and infrastructure costs. After a while, our churn rate was in the 70th percentile because we weren’t making content fast enough to keep up with user demand. However, this time around we were on the verge of launching our applications for the marketplace model but we had hiring issues. The Uncap investment greatly helped with this and marketing costs.

5) What advice would you give an entrepreneur who is thinking of applying for investment at Uncap? 

I’d ask them to take an incredible leap of faith in their business and apply!

Do you know an early-stage entrepreneur in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, or Nigeria looking to raise early-stage funding? Invite them to join our waitlist to be the first to know as soon as we launch.

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