Nigeria’s Best Startups of 2010


As we gradually say goodbye to 2010, I thought we should profile the best new startups launched during the year.

So I’ve compiled my list of the best startups that were launched (either in private or public beta) between January to December 2010.

Some of these startups have been on my radar and although I’m not sure which one of them is my favourite startup in 2010, they’ll probably be on my list of startups to watch in 2011.

Without much ado, here are the best startups that launched in 2010.

[Note: This is my list of the best startups that launched in 2010. Please feel free to point me to any startup that you think should or shouldn't be on the list].

In no particular order:

YarnPad – a Twitter-clone launched in May 2010 by Deji Kadri and Victor Sylva. (still in public beta) is a real-time information network that let’s you share and discuss what’s hapenning now – wetin people dey ‘yarn’ about.

Lotaar – a social television and radio guide launched in July 2010 by Oo Nwoye and Roland Okor. (still in public beta) is built to remind you when your favourite TV and radio programmes are about to start, so you can tune in.

Sowambe – a pan-African social media lifestyle brand co-founded by Loy Okezie and Francis Oghuma. (still in private beta) showcases social media adopters and tracks trends in social media with insights and analysis into the emerging social media industry. – a URL shortener launched in February 2010 by Ahmad Mukoshy. The 5-lettered domain name better spoken as “Yarn Me” (Nigerian slang word for “tell me”) can shorten up to 2,000 characters length of web addresses to merely 20 characters just like

Identified – a social recruiting tool co-founded by Adeyemi Ajao. takes your professional data across the social web and compounds it into a simple, yet robust career-building experience.

Mysifty – a social media feeds prioritizer launched in December 2010 by Jacob Ajayi. let’s you prioritize your social media life so that you can choose priority friends and brands to follow on Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Netaviva – a web-based  application that provides business/social networking tools founded in June 2010 by Stanley Ojadovwa. connects professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs in African with their projects, ideas or business proposals.

DokitaSAYS – is a Q&A service for health-related issues founded by Tosin Oguntuase in May 2010. allows you to ask health-related questions and get answers from real doctors.

Yarnable – a micro-discussion site launched in May 2010 by Ahmad Mukoshy allows you create and share short topics of interest in under 140 characters. is a handy tool for your real time status updates answering the one simple question “What is happening”?

Nwalla – was launched as a Gowalla-like location based service to help people discover and share “the next best thing” in their area – eateries, hair stylists, malls, shopping centers, cinemas or just about any place they’ve visited. Today, has a classifieds site that allow people buy and sell their stuffs.

What to expect in 2011

Most of the startups we saw in 2010 were clones (with a bit of innovation) of global startups.

The only ‘somewhat’ original ideas we saw were from startups like Lotaar, Identified and Mysifty.

My expectation for startups in 2011 would be an idea that creates value, addresses a need or solves a local problem.

What’s the point creating a service that only you and your friends get to use, when there are probably over 60 million Nigerians online today.

In 2011, technology entrepreneurs should focus on developing mobile web solutions and mobile apps for the over 85 million mobile subscribers in Nigeria.

Interestingly, there are some cool mobile ad revenue models that are waiting to be tapped.

Remember, the future is mobile…the future is now.

[Note: This is my list of the best startups that launched in 2010. Please feel free to point me to any startup that you think should or shouldn't be on the list].

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  • Dejo

    Should one’s own start-up be in a list like this?

  • Sowambe fan

    I don’t think so, except if the author thinks his startup is one of the best things that came out of 2010

  • Dapo
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  • Oyelana T

    I came across an interesting project run by nigerians too. Its a News-like kinda site with an entertaining perspective of things. Funny that they launched in Nov and have over 2000 content hits check it or google ‘ENN today’

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  • dele odufuye

    Dealfish was registered in 2009, check up more info from them to see if they didn't startup in 2009 and not 2010. is a very impressive website. Are we sure its not another napster? How legal their activities? Giving people to download other people's musics for free?! I wouldn't want to tip them to any list until cleared. Legal issues might pull them down soon.

  • Ahmad Mukoshy

    Wow… i got lucky; two of my startups on the list! 2011 will be another challenging year to make these apps even better!

    Happy New Year!

  • Francis Moran

    Interesting list, Loy, and you've already highlighted the fact that too many of these new ventures are mere clones. Unless a clone brings a sharp new additional feature to play, or provides intense local value that the global original does not, it's probably not going to achieve much marketplace lift.

    Far more worrisome to me as an outsider watching the fascinating technology scene in African powerhouses like Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya is the paucity of new ideas that could be marketed globally, or even continent-wide.

    African entrepreneurs need to broaden their horizons. I'm a Canadian of Irish origins. Nobody in either of those countries develops a new technology or service with just their domestic marketplace in mind. Africans can and must develop technologies and web services that can cater at least to the entire continent — they have a huge advantage on others in this respect given the degree to which they are familiar with cultural trends, real needs, the way in which new technologies are actually being used, and so on.

    As someone who brings technology to market, and does so on a global scale, I keenly look forward to the day when I can bring African companies to the world.

    All the best in 2011.


  • dele odufuye

    Loy baba,

    Good job on the listing here. Good job on your IT blogging and twittering that gives us IT info as it breaks.

    To me o, releasing some files via a domain name isn't exactly the same thing as launching or startups. Lets not always hide under "beta" as an excuse for non functional ideas/features of a web service. A startup should be able to do what it said it does (started) and not what it aimed to be in future (about to start).

    You might want to check these out:
    @yarnPad: Hope they'll push more features to really make us leave twitter for it or use it along side. I mean, it cannot standout to give us exactly the same thing twitter will give us.

    @Lotaar: is a walled garden. you cannot see anything from the outside. And if its truly meant to remind us of our fav TV programs, how many Nigerian TV channels they've got there? I don't think they have any.

    @Sowambe: with all due respect to you and Frank (gr8 guys), i don't think sowambe should be on this list. except for people on your private list, nobody knows if its working or has started. thumbs up to whoever did this. Whether its a clone or not. They just need to up their game and create plugins for browsers so it can be shortening url from browsers and mobiles. Else, it might just be there and since we have other url shorteners, we might not always want to come to the site to paste long urls and some captcha. Are you sure Nedu Ottih and Ajao are co-founders of this project, or are they just team members. Just because they were there when the project started doesn't make them co-founders. even put them as the founders but from,, google results shows otherwise except from african blogsites. And I don't think it passes as a Nigerian startup. I think I'll review this site when they are fully ready to activate all the links and contents on their site that'll give us info about them without haven to first of all use FB LIKE. They've not started up, Loy is a startup company that offers webservices to clients. But the company wasn't started in 2010. Twas started in 2009. Domain registered in jan 2009, Google results show articles and stuffs to show they have been in business since 2009 and Reviewed and ok by me, except they have add more features or even as they are, they need more media coverage to let people be aware of their existence and usage. Yarnable, need competitive edge over twitter apart from being Nigerian.

    @nwalla: would have been ok, except nobody's using it except the developers. So I guess, he hasn't started it up, yet. Because, they obviously haven't started to talk to people about it. Else, it wouldn't have just two products. And the developers obviously would need features that would convince people about its edge compared to existing websites like that, that have been around since 2003/2004 in Lagos.

    expectations are high for 2011, especially with this internet surge we are expecting. Much more is expected from us to develop on it.


  • Tundun J

    I think they're really cool joor!!!

    They only offer free singles and mixtapes for downloads and best of all, they dont clog it up with tags like most of the others. *Yaaaay!*

    For now o, my two favorite sites are and and you omitted both of them :P

  • obinna

    Your awesome.

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  • nintag

    the guy is talented

  • El_Komo

    3 years on, this review is so apt.

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