What initial hurdles have you faced?The volatility of African markets and emerging territories has been a challenge. Corruption, huge forex fluctuations, limited access to the internet, power cuts, fuel shortages, even spending three hours on the Third Mainland Bridge due to traffic, all of these things have been challenging. Infrastructure creates huge inefficiencies ? when did you last wait three hours in a traffic jam in London? It?s unfeasible, so you turn your car into an office, but there?s a limited amount of battery time.
How have you found the recruitment process?We use all of the latest technologies and frameworks from a back-end capability because they are the best and most efficient, and efficiency is critical when you?re operating in emerging territories. By doing this, we are basically competing for staff with banks and insurance companies that use the same back-end languages as us. We don?t want to work with contractors that want to build one elements of a product for three months then leave, but there?s a lot of competition in the market and developers know they?re going to get the best-paid jobs through recruiters, which are incredibly expensive. If you want to recruit a team of, say, ten people, that?s going to cost you around ?200,000 in recruitment fees.
Is there anywhere else you can source tech talent?There are some niche recruitment sites you can go to, but the developers know that they will get the best jobs through the recruiters. There?s no business without good developers, so we can?t really tackle that problem head on ? it?s just a necessary evil.
If you can?t tackle the problem of recruiting tech talent cheaply, what do you do?When we pay these extortionate amounts to recruiters and compete directly with banks and insurance companies for employees, what we can do is make sure that we retain good staff. The UK has an incredibly intelligent, sophisticated and educated labour market, there?s some really great tech talent here, and as a startup we have the flexibility that allows us to have better retention than these boring corporate businesses.
How has KPMG Small Business Accounting helped your business so far?Obviously, it deals with our day-to-day book-keeping and produces our financial statements on a quarterly basis, but over and above that it has helped with our company structure. It has helped keep us informed about the sorts of things we need to be wary of going into a Nigerian market, and the implications of potential double taxation and so on.
What advice would you give to a company in a similar position to yours?Make sure you have enough money in the bank ? raise triple what you need ? and make sure you have investors that understand the market you are in.
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