Twilio Startups Founder Interview Series | TS7: Versus

January 07, 2020
Written by
Twilion

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Welcome to the Twilio Startups 7 (TS7, for short) where we feature exciting founders from around the world to share their inspiring entrepreneurial journeys through seven quickfire questions.

Today we would like to introduce you to Kemdi Ebi of Versus. Read on to learn more about how they built their international startup to help businesses gain actionable insights from big data. Check out their tips on hiring the right developer quickly, why finding investors is like finding a life partner, and taking calculated business risks, all while building a successful data company.

 

Versus logo

 

  • Company Name: Versus
  • Founder Name: Kemdi Ebi
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Industry: Software/Big Data & Analytics/Market Research
  • Stage/Funding: Seed
  • Location: Lagos, Nigeria, London, UK & Washington DC, USA

From the founder of Versus

We reached out to Versus to get insight into how they launched an international startup and what they’ve learned along the way.

Describe your company in 160 characters or less (the original length of a text message)

Through a proprietary “Listen” & “Ask” methodology, Versus combines online & offline methods to give brands complete, competitive & actionable insights with a focus on the African market.

Why did you start your company?

From my past professional and entrepreneurial experience, I found that there’s a real lack of quality data on the African consumer market. And most times even when there was some data, it was either too small a sample size to have any real confidence in any assumptions or it was data from one region that was wrongly assumed should work the same way in another African region.

With the ubiquitous nature of information and technology/mobile penetration on the African continent, more agile and dynamic research methods become even more imperative. Even more so because of the complex nature of the market with the different people, tribes, cultures, languages and socio-political atmosphere that exist.

How do you communicate with your customers?

Because we mostly work with businesses/corporations, we try and have scheduled monthly visits and send periodic reports or industry insights that could be potentially useful to them.

Tell us about your most successful campaign.

No campaign is successful without pinpoint content delivery. Our most successful campaign came during a very vital search for a new high level developer for Versus. We had an aggressive goal to put out the opportunity, shortlist candidates and pick our ideal hire within a week.

It was actually almost going to be impossible given the specs of the role and even gauging the best fit from a character and competence perspective. We decided to come up with a unique table that was a checklist of the criteria (most software specs each potential candidate was familiar with), created a mini site where it was easy to access via the link and check the boxes applicable and download their CVs for our review. We then shared the link via email and Twitter (with specific target hashtags to reach an extensive dev network) and within days, not only did we attract a quality pool of candidates, we eventually hired our top person in just under a week!

What are your top 3 tips on raising capital?

  1. Finding investors is like finding your life partner. Make sure growth plans & thesis are aligned.
  2. Have a good contingency plan to run daily operations because fundraising will take a large chunk of your time.
  3. Remember it’s your story no one else’s so be confident.

As a founder, how do you manage work-life balance?

Work-life balance becomes even more imperative as an entrepreneur. At least 8-hour rest every night, frequent exercise routines, healthy eating habits and actually using the weekends for weekends are meant for...extra curricular activities and rest!

What have you learned as a founder/entrepreneur that you wish you had known on Day 1?

Indecision is never an option as a founder but because decisions have to be made, they don’t have to be rushed. As entrepreneurs, you often feel pressed for time and while taking risks is the primary function of an entrepreneur, de-risking should equally be prioritized. Buying time to make less risky/impulsive decisions is a learned behavior that every founder/entrepreneur should try to incorporate.  

Ready to join Twilio Startups?

We hope you enjoyed this article from the founder of Versus on how to bring a startup to market and raise capital to scale growth.

This post has been created by the Twilio Startups Team.

You can apply to the Twilio Startups program here. Know an inspiring founder or are one yourself? Email Nikki Rubin, nrubin[at]twilio.com, to nominate a founder for TS7.

Would you like to read more founder interviews? Click here for the next article.