Alex Mativo began his entrepreneurship journey at the age of 19. Today, Alex has two companies under his belt E-lab, a company that makes the most beautiful artwork using electronic waste and Nanasi a global retail company that aims to make online shopping more social and frictionless.
Nanasi was one of the companies that were selected to pitch in this year’s Africa Mest challenge, an annual competition where the winners are awarded US$50000 in equity investment. Nailab reached out to Alex and asked him a few questions to get to understand his journey of building Nanasi and some of the key lessons that he has learnt through out his entrepreneurship journey.
How did you come up with the idea of Nanasi and what exactly do you do?
Last year we came across an interesting problem, we found that there is a lot of fragmentation for businesses that rely on social media to run their business. Managing social media platforms individually can be very stressful. Through our platform business owners can manage all their social media platforms using one Nanasi account.
Let me give an example; If you have a retail business e.g. cosmetics and you want to formalize your business to start selling, one of your avenues could be to sell online through social media. You will open a social media account eg. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Running these channels individually can be stressful. Through our channel, you can be able to manage all your social media accounts using one Nanasi account.
Tell us about your entrepreneurship journey, what are some of the mistakes that you made and the key lessons that you have learnt along the way?
Entrepreneurship is a journey and you can not get it right the first time in business, you have to make mistakes and learn from them. One of the biggest mistakes that we made when we started Nanasi was not being very specific on who our target market was. This made the process of client acquisition very difficult for us. A lot of entrepreneurs make this assumption.
I have learned a lot throughout my entrepreneurship journey. The most fundamental lessons being;
- I have seen a lot of entrepreneurs obsess over ideas without going to the market and validate the product/service. We knew we were on track after we tested our product and the public accepted it.
- Find the right co-founders who complements your skills. From the get-go, I knew I needed a co-founder who was an engineer to build the platform and marketer who would identify the customers and get the product out there.
- I have also learnt not to obsess over your idea, be open to customer feedback and experiment. Try to solve the customer problems even if that’s not the initial idea that you had.