In 2009, amidst great publicity and fanfare, NaijaBorn was launched. It was described as a social network that wanted to create a searchable, detailed, user-generated database of the global Nigerian community. A place to find Nigerians and their creations.
Three years later, after all the initial traction and buzz generated, we were granted an interview by Mambe Churchill Nanje (One of the Co-founders) as he shared insights behind Naijaborn and how he applied the lessons he learned at his next startup: Njorku, the job search portal.
What is the current state of NaijaBorn.com?
Churchill: Naijaborn is still very much operational, doing over 10,000 registered users and counting. But the development is much slower than before
… but can we say we have a Facebook killer in Naijaborn?
Churchill: That would be wishful thinking, Facebook is worth $100billion and focused on the world and Naijaborn is a baby start focused on Nigerians. I wouldn’t really put it as Facebook killer
Traction is a major issue with our local startups, did NaijaBorn’s early traction encourage or discourage you based on the amount of work that went in
Churchill: NaijaBorn’s traction was good and very much encouraging and pushed us to invest more into developing the platform. So I will say yes the initial traction was very good and encouraging. But overtime other constrains limited us
Will you like to talk about this constrains?
Churchill: The constrains were mostly on finance, we didn’t have enough finance to go beyond the traction and we also realized that making it Nigeria specific while Facebook was global was another top constrain
What about investors… Any traction is a sign of growth, did you try seeking investors for the site?
Churchill: Yeah, we had talks with a couple of investors but for one reason or another the deals couldn’t go through.
There was a deal we basically backed out of and there were some other deals the investors decided to end talks with us