Nigeria being the continent’s most populous nation and largest economy is unsurprisingly leading the pack when it comes to startups in Africa. Whilst microfinance companies may be acquiring the bulk of the funding going to startups in NIgera, there are a few companies demanding attention due to their sheer novelty. Here, there’s a growing trend of creating technological innovations to advance the existing business modus operandi.
Across numerous industries, tech is enhancing business models or outright replacing them.
Some companies invent original solutions; others adopt and improve on models which have been proven successful – our headline for today, Printivo, falls in the latter category. The company founded in 2013 by Oluyomi Ojo, Ibukun Oloyede, and Ayodeji Adeogun, can be dubbed the Vistaprint of Africa.
Printivo self-describes as ‘an online print provider that provides its customers with free templates created by designers across Nigeria’.
The CEO of Printivo, Oluyomi Ojo, used to sell handmade greetings cards whilst a student at the University of Lagos. It was during this time as a student that he initially met Ayodeji Adeogun who was a Geographic Information Science (GIS) Masters student at the same university. However, Printivo was only to be formed much latter after a chance encounter wherein Oluyomi contacted Ayodeji for ‘GIS’ services on behalf of his then enterprise, Urbanbaze. Having cemented a solid working relationship at Urbanbaze, Oluyomi and Ayodeji brought on board Ibukun, the company’s art director and together they co-founded Printivo.
The printing industry in Nigeria is undeniably huge as can be seen through the presence of hundreds of print shops across the country, particularly those noticeably concentrated in the Shomolu district of Lagos.
To tap into the resilient print media market, Printivo set out to make ordering prints easy, accessible and affordable by providing an online platform on which customers can conveniently order. Over the platform, customers can upload their designs, or customize a ready-made template and have the results printed to then be shipped to them. For those who do not fancy using their own design or customizing a template, all they need to do is request a comprehensive print package and Printivo will design, print and ship it to them.
The platform appeals to businesses and individuals by removing the need to physically visit print shops. On-site visits can be inconveniencing and expensive. Moreover, some customers do not have the means or time to procure adequate design services for their print jobs – Printivo remedies this through the provision of templates and tailored design services.
To some who are reading this with skepticism, print media may seem to be on the brink of redundancy due to the ongoing rise of digital media, however, that’s far from true. One cannot underestimate, the enduring allure of a tangible document. Print media is still dependable and more practical in certain situations – for example, a business card is still easier and usually more appropriate to hand a stranger than a social media account or website. Oftentimes, even the budding digital media sector will rely on print media to accomplish certain tasks.
This fledgling company which was initially bootstrapped has gone on to secure funding and expand its business model. The expansion saw the launch of Printivo Store in mid-2017 which allows graphic designers to create and sell print media designs and they can earn 15% royalties on them. This is a sure-fire way of ensuring there’s a wide variety of quality design on offer on the platform whilst offering designers an entrepreneurial opportunity.
Printivo intends to launch in new markets and with this innovative business model, we at two4africa.com believe the company has every chance at success across multiple African markets.
According to Crunchbase, Printivo’s first seed round, announced in October 2015 was led by EchoVC Partners and raised an undisclosed amount. The second round, announced in February 2017, raised $112.5K with ‘500 Startups’ as lead investors. The company’s latest fundraising round, announced in May 2017 was a venture round with Ventures Platform, it raised an undisclosed amount.