Series V VP Blog

Nigerian Tech Community Fights Back Against SARS Tech Leaders

Nigerian Tech Community Fights Back Against SARS; Tech Leaders Consider Legal Action Against Illegal Arrests of Software Engineers

Monday 30 September 2019. Lagos, Nigeria. Nigeria’s technology leaders have launched #StopRobbingUs, a campaign to put an end to the common practice where Nigerian police stop young people with laptops and unlawfully arrest, attack or, in extreme circumstances, kidnap them, forcing them to withdraw funds from their bank accounts in order to regain their freedom. Working alongside Enough is Enough Nigeria [EiE], a network of individuals and organisations that promote good governance and public accountability in Nigeria, the #StopRobbingUs movement is now considering a Class Action Lawsuit on police brutality.

Led by ‘Bosun Tijani of CcHUB, Jason Njoku of IROKO, Iyin “E” Aboyeji of Future. Africa and Oluyomi Ojo of Printivo, amongst others, the campaign is calling for the Federal Government of Nigeria to intervene in the continued practice of illegally arresting and extorting young people in Nigeria who work in the technology sector. A fundraiser has been launched by Flutterwave to raise money for a legal intervention and public awareness programme, which has already seen donations flooding in from across the globe.

The #StopRobbingUs campaign comes after Toni Astor, a Lagos-based software engineer, posted on Twitter a harrowing account of his encounter with Special Anti-Robbery Squad [SARS] officers in Ketu, Lagos. During his ordeal on Saturday 28th September, Astor was allegedly publicly intimidated, arrested, beaten and extorted, in order to secure his freedom. News of SARS officers (Nigeria Police and all tactical units) targeting software engineers is a frequent occurrence in Lagos and this is the latest in a string of attacks. Today’s news builds on the larger #EndSARS movement that has rocked Nigeria over the last year, which has used social media to appeal for an end to the frequent robberies of Nigerians, by security operatives who are supposed to protect them.

‘Bosun Tijani, CEO CcHUB says, “Our ask is simple. Stop arresting our colleagues. This is an ongoing concern for Nigeria’s tech community. A talent problem already exists in our sector, yet police, particularly SARS’ harassment, accentuates the talent drain in our industry. This is the central issue for jobs and youth empowerment in Nigeria and the continued, illegal attacks on our country’s young people should be treated as a national emergency. Beyond its pro-innovation rhetoric, the Nigerian government continues to turn a blind eye to the robbery and psychological intimidation of young tech talent.

“We are social innovators, entrepreneurs, engineers and business leaders who work in Nigeria’s technology and innovation sector. Over the last few decades, we have collectively helped to build an innovative, highly respected tech industry that has elevated Nigeria on the global stage and demonstrated that young Nigerians can do great things. The bedrock of our industry is Nigeria’s young and ambitious technology talent. They drive our operations, build our products, serve our customers and solve difficult problems for society everyday. Without this talent, our industry would not exist. Nigeria’s tech community is mobilizing, and fast. Collectively, we have remained silent for too long. As of now, our voice will be deafening, and we plan to see the #StopRobbingUs campaign through to the very end.”

In an online statement, Jason Njoku, CEO IROKO called for “a robust and concerted legal effort” to combat SARS’ indiscriminate attacks on Nigeria’s young technology workers. The tech community is now mobilizing to deliver this, working alongside key partners including EiE, Segun Awosanya (@Segalink), government bodies and the police. The fundraising effort backed by Flutterwave has already seen donations in excess of N11,000,000 million (~$30,000) in less than 24hours, with funds still flooding in. The company’s CEO, Olugbenga Agboola, has stated that the payments platform will “waive all charges on the payment link.”

Nigeria is Africa’s most valuable tech ecosystem, with 400–700 startups worth $2billion according to startup genome report and last year alone, the country attracted $306m in tech investment, according to a report by Partech.

Named tech leaders of the campaign include: Bosun Tijani, Jason Njoku Oluyomi Ojo, Olumide “D.O” Olusanya, Adetunji Eleso, Odunayo Eweniyi, Adewale Yusuf, Tayo Oviosu, Jessica Hope, Chinedu Azodoh, Editi Effiong, Damilola Teidi-Ayoola, Femi Longe, Idris Ayodeji Bello, Jay Alabraba, Kola Aina, Shola Akinlade, Gbenga Agboola, Mark Essien, Sim Shagaya, Aanu Adeoye, Tomiwa Aladekomo, Benjamin Dada, Shola Adekoya, Oo Nwoye, Prosper Otemuyiwa, Nelson Olaonipekun, Dele Bakare, Ngozi Dozie, Chijioke Dozie.

For interviews with ‘Bosun Tijani contact Jessica Hope — [email protected] or Bemi Idowu — [email protected] of Wimbart

Series V

Growth: The OKR Way

“An effective goal-setting system starts with disciplined thinking at the top, with leaders who invest the time and energy to choose what counts” ― John Doerr

Companies and founders are always looking for ways to rapidly grow their companies and boost team productivity. One key question we get from founders is “How do I inspire my team and get them to execute effectively?” The OKR is a great framework to inspire your team and get everyone aligned and working towards the big picture.

The acronym OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results, a popular goal management framework created by Andy Grove who has been referred to as one of the best managers of all time but popularized by John Doerr, who was an early investor in Google and he introduced Larry and Sergey to the framework. OKR quickly became an important focus for Google, and other companies such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Airbnb, Uber, and even Walmart have since followed suit.

It’s also increasingly becoming the default framework for lots of fast-growing startups across Africa and interestingly quite a number of companies in our portfolio have also adopted the OKR framework.

OKRs is a goal-setting framework that helps organizations define goals or objectives and then track the outcome. John Doerr’s OKR formula is to set an objective, which is “what I want to have accomplished,” and the key results, which are “how I’m going to get it done.”

Let’s take a dive into what each acronym for better understanding.

What is the Objective?

An Objective is a description of a goal to be achieved in the future, this is usually measured quarterly or annually. An Objective sets a clear direction and provides motivation.

What is a Key Result?

A Key Result is a metric with a starting value and a target value that measures progress towards an Objective. Key results measure the achievement of an objective. You can think of this as a signpost with a distance that shows how close you are to your Objective.

Objectives are typically large, bold and aspirational while key results are aggressive, be difficult but not impossible, but always measurable, time-bound, and limited in number (typically 5).

Examples of Objectives:

  • Become a Market Leader in Payments in Nigeria.
  • Build the best browser in the world.

Let’s take both examples and attempt to set key results for them.


Objective — Become a market leader in Payments in Nigeria

Key Results

  • Grow userbase from 2k merchants to 10k merchants by end of Q2.
  • Launch an offline payment feature for merchants by end of Q2.
  • Reduce customer churn from 30% to 10%

This can be expanded further, but the catch is to have 5 or less Key results.


Objective — Build the best browser in the world

As the true test of this is in the usage, my key result could be something as simple as:

Key Result — Grow user base from 1M to 20 million monthly active users by the end of the year.

Before writing an OKR, you need a good understanding of what you want to accomplish. Think of the potential objective you would like to achieve and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the objective help achieve the company goal?
  • Is it inspiring?
  • Does it move the company forward?
  • Is it timebound?

Managers and teams across board should also set their OKRs in-line with the objective of the organization, individual team members should be allowed to come up with their own OKR and review with their managers to ensure it aligns with the wider company objective.

The framework is designed to help organizations establish far-reaching goals and when implemented effectively has the potential to accelerate growth.

You can read more here and here.

Inside VP

Come 13th October 2019, Ventures Platform, in partnership with Endeavor, will host Efosa Ojomo, co-author of The Prosperity Paradox: How Innovation Can Lift Nations Out of Poverty in an event (Startup Insights) themed “Innovating for the Mass Market”. Attendees will get a chance to learn about how the private sector, particularly startups, can unlock the potential of under-served sectors and populations by building market-creating innovations and tackling non-consumption.

Click on this link to apply for a slot —

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What We Are Reading

The Mystery of Market Size in Nigeria

Navigating the Shift from first-time founder to seasoned Exec

Measure What Matters by John Doerr. Find here.

See you next month,