Uche Aniche is founder of venuehero.co , an online platform that helps individuals and corporate organisations find and book venues for their event. I sat down with Uche for our 1st feature on Startup Spotlight and he tells me about how Venuehero started, why he set it up, why it is primarily online and not the traditional brick and mortar agency shop. He also speaks to me about some of the challenges along the way. Uche Aniche is also the Convener of Startup South, an educational and networking conference for small-business owners, investors and their clients who currently operate out of the South-South and South-East Geopolitical zones of Nigeria. Enjoy!
Venuehero was created as a platform to reduce the all too familiar stress of physical search for venues. With the platform, you can search through your phone or PC and get an array of venues, make a choice based on what your budget, amenities and facilities. You can also chat with the venue owners directly and then decide what you want. For the venue owners, Venuehero provides them with a platform to sort their bookings for better transparency and accountability.
For Uche, the decision to set up an online platform dealing with property rentals was to avoid the over-saturated e-commerce retail space and explore other areas. However, Venuehero wasn’t just an overnight idea. So how exactly did it start? Uche’s a-ha moment was when he was helping a business school from Lagos get venues for its events in Port-Harcourt. He was making cool commissions from it back then. It occurred to Uche that it was a potential business idea to be tapped. He decided to scale it by making it available online for more people to take advantage of.
And even with Venuehero’s inspiring story, it has had its own fair share of challenges like most start-ups. I ask Uche about his challenges so far with Venuehero.co and he doesn’t hold back. He tells me that one of Venuehero’s major challenge was people’s insistence to still see the venues physically before booking.
For Uche, ‘There is a trust issue generally even in Nigeria, it’s the biggest problem. That’s why even the E-Commerce space has a pay on delivery which for us in Tech is an issue as it makes e-commerce difficult to take off completely in Nigeria. But we will continue to work on the awareness and the fact that people who used the system will come back and say this was lit. We got what we wanted and paid for it.’
He is however optimistic that Venuehero will scale that hurdle and that people will gain trust for online platforms as a reliable means of booking for venues even if it means deploying all the technology and hardwork he can. For now, to overcome the trust issues, they encourage clients to visit the venues after they make their bookings. If unsatisfied, venues can be switched. Also, customer reviews help to assure clients of trust
Venuehero may be providing clients with a cheaper and more convenient way to book venues than the traditional way of hitting the streets but it is by no means a cheap platform to build or maintain especially for people with little or no technical background. To be able to excel at this and get it right, Uche tells us that if you have no technical background, you may need to outsource or hire a techie.
Even though Uche Anichie, the man behind Venuehero.co, has always been in business, having never worked for anyone, Venuehero.co which just turned one in June 2017, may be his most fulfilling business venture yet.
For a man whose business aspirations started upon completion of his secondary school education when he read of a young German boy who was barely 18 years old but manufacturing items in China, he has definitely come a mighty long way both in business and in start-ups. His advice to young entrepreneurs and other start-ups founders is –
‘Make sure to look for something big to solve for. Don’t walk alone. Build a great team to support your goals. Only Africans can solve Africans problems. It’s a lie to believe there’s no money in Africa’.
Uche also has advice for high net worth individuals.
‘A re-colonisation of Africa is underway. You might feel you are free because you can invest in properties and get quick returns but the companies that will eventually control the governments under which your future will live in are currently being built, but not by African money- by foreign money. Believe it or not, he that pays the piper will eventually dictate the tune to the Piper. Invest in young ambitious people now for the future freedom of your children.’
You can check out the venuehero.co website here
Adaora Okoli is head writer at TechcultureNG. She is a double edged sword. A media personality, blogger and a lawyer with specialty in internet policy and technology
Do you know a startup, its founder or any techprenuer or tech influencer doing amazing things in tech in the South? Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for a feature on our blog