A simple way for startups to deliver dollar ROI is to operate in multiple markets. COOs from Flutterwave, Paystack and Autochek explain how startups can scale across Africa.
For most African startups, achieving the right level of scale means being present in multiple countries. But expansion comes with many challenges; a startup must take into account legal and regulatory requirements, market size and find a suitable product market for each country.
Speaking during a panel discussion at Moonshot by TechCabal on Wednesday, October 11, COOs from Flutterwave, Paystack and Autocheck, startups in several African countries, explained how their startups were able to scale.
One thing a startup needs to master before expanding from its home country is a paying customer base. Mayokun Fadeyibi, COO at Autocheck, said a startup should have found a product market fit for a country before considering expansion. She added that an operator must also have “self-awareness” and a good understanding of the business metrics and that by evolving its technology as it grows the business, startups could avoid a pitfall current that could hamper their expansion efforts.
Bode Afobarin, chief operating officer of Flutterwave, said that for Flutterwave’s expansion, the company developed a playbook covering business development, regulatory requirements and information the startup had collected since its inception. Comparing the playbook effect to the sameness of Catholic churches regardless of location, she advised all startups to create something similar. Last month, Axel Peyrière, CEO of Auto24, an Ivorian startup that has expanded to four countries simultaneously, told TechCabal that he had leveraged his company’s documentation process to begin the process of expanding months ago and was already preparing to launch in more countries because of this document.
One of the problems with expansion is finding a cost-effective approach to entering multiple markets. Amandine Lobelle, COO at Paystack, advised startups to make compromises and find a balance between expansion and cost reduction. She added that due to the funding challenge of the year, startups should not take the “growth at all costs” approach.