Hey there! This month's TeleSoftas Today is dedicated to Nigeria. Scroll down to see how things are going in our Nigeria office!

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Nigerian Magic

Gabija Šarkytė

It's been a couple of months since we have established a legal entity TeleSoftas Nigeria Limited in Abuja and started growing our team there. However, it was a bold move made by TeleSoftas less than a year ago to enter a new market, and it took us nine months to turn the idea of the foreign office into reality. What is Nigerian Magic?

  • A bridge between TeleSoftas and Nigeria was started to be built in 2019 when we joined the Digital Explorers program led by AfriKo. Five talented IT specialists from Nigeria joined our team and inspired us to make a big leap towards a more multi-cultural future in our company.

  • Nigeria has been transforming rapidly over the past years and currently has the largest innovation and technology ecosystem as well as a talent pool in Africa.

  • Experienced talent in Nigeria usually has a broad knowledge of different technologies and is very adaptive in terms of changes.

  • Even though Nigeria is 7000+ km away from Lithuania, the time zone is very convenient, and the remote work model is easy to implement.

  • The official language is English, and it helps ensure flawless communication.

​Our future vision for TeleSoftas in Africa is not limited to one location or a particular number of employees hired but with impact for the tech community and talent in general. It's a huge step forward for us, but we are stepping it with confidence and strength thanks to an amazing and dedicated team!

Our future vision for TeleSoftas in Africa is not limited to one location or a particular number of employees hired but with impact for the tech community and talent in general.

 
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This is Nigeria

General overview and fun facts

Nigeria has 200 million people with an average age of 18 years. It is the most populous African country & is the sixth most populous country in the world located in the western part of the Continent. Nigeria has 36 states and a Federal Capital Territory, where the seat of government is.
In comparison to Lithuania, Nigeria is about 72 times the population of Lithuania. In terms of landmass, Nigeria is 923,768 km². This means you can fit Lithuania 14 times into Nigeria. 

Nigeria's capital city is Abuja with 3,5 mln people population. Our new TeleSoftas office is located in this magnificent city at Ventures Park - a tech hub for ICT companies.

Before more than 60 years, Nigeria gained independence from the British. Even though the official language is English and there're more than 500 languages in total. In addition, it has almost a perfect distribution of two main religions - Christianity and Islam. Since independence, Nigeria has had 15 presidents/heads of state which 8 of them were military leaders. Nigeria is now in its 4th successive democratic government. 

Nigeria, Tech & Startups

I would have to give a disclaimer here. While I have thrown in some verifiable data, the main narrative in this section is majorly my version of the evolution of the Nigerian Tech Startup Ecosystem and might be quite subjective.

Everything Started with Laying a Fiber Optic Cable

Nigeria has been transforming rapidly over the past 5 years and currently has the largest innovation and technology ecosystem in Africa.

Everything started 11 years ago when the very first fiber optic cable was laid in Africa, in one of the major streets in the Lagos state of Nigeria with over 15 million inhabitants. After that first tech hub Co-Creating Hub was created and the main activities in the Nigerian tech startup ecosystem started. Now Nigeria has over 120 hubs and co-working spaces! 

The First African Unicorn

The first sector to become prominent was the e-commerce sector, which started with 2 startups, founded by two Nigerian returnees. The two founders later merged their startups into what we know today as Jumia and is arguably the first African unicorn. Their success led to an e-commerce bubble that soon burst and left many people with failed dreams and lost investments. 

Rise Of The Fintechs

The e-commerce bubble burst gave birth to the fintech era, which has is still on as I write. This era has given birth to startups seeking to simplify payments, digitize banking, create new investment vehicles and tackle the massive problem of financial inclusion.

The ecosystem got its first significant boost in 2016 when Mark Zukerberg visited Lagos. This drew the world's attention to what was happening in the tech ecosystem in Nigeria. The second boost happened in 2020 when Paystack, one of Nigeria's leading fintech companies, got acquired by Stripe for 200 million US Dollars. Today Nigeria has 5 of the 7 known African unicorns!
 

The "Rise of the Fintechs" has made it possible for many other sectors to pick up. From trends, while fintech is still king, sectors such as Agriculture, Education, and Renewable energy seem to be gaining traction.

Conclusion

In a bid to not bore you any further, I would like to end with this. Nigeria is a large, densely populated country with many young people and huge potential. While there are several challenges, the opportunity far outweighs them.
If you are ever interested in having a vacation in Nigeria, please slack me and I would be excited to facilitate!

 
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Usual Week In TeleSoftas Nigeria Office

One word that describes working from our Nigeria Office is "Inspirational." From the serene atmosphere of our location to the artsy environment of our co-working space and then the amazing composition of our team, everything screams inspiration and creativity.

Our Mondays

always start with a high note at 9 am with the strong smell of coffee, clinking mugs, and our colleagues settling in to prepare for their various standup meetings with their respective platform teams. 
Brunch time on Mondays is always a treat, with everyone looking forward to having spicy shawarma wraps while commenting on how fast the hours are going and on all the tasks we can't wait to get done.

Tuesdays

are a bit more formal. Most times, teammates decide to work from their favorite hiding spots in the co-working space where our office is located at Ventures Park. Gabija found one for herself when she came to visit in January 😁.

Ohh, Wednesdays

are extra special, not just because it is mid-week but because it is "small chops Wednesday." Small chops are classic Nigerian finger foods made of spring rolls, puff puff, meat pie, Corn delight, and spicy chicken wings. These precious moments with the team help strengthen the bond within us and help us relieve the day's stress.

Thursdays are Thursdays, Fridays are Fridays,

but our last Fridays of the month are not like any other. For us, it is a time to bond and connect with the Tech community at the Ventures Park Co-Working Space. In January, we organized a Karaoke night with Developers in the community, and it was super fun to see Developers sing out their hearts out to real words other than codes.

 
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Samuel Solomon

Office Administrator
 

Maimuna Bello
Accountant

Stephen Ubogu
JAVA Developer

Cindy Eke
Frontend Developer

Babatunde Saliu
.NET Developer

Mimshach Obioha
Country Manager

Richard Otaru

JAVA Developer
 

Eniola Ifeoluwa, Olatunji
Frontend Developer

Jane Odonwodo
People Manager

As always, you can read our new colleagues from Nigeria as well as Lithuania introductions and get to know them better on Notion! 

 
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Gabija Šarkytė

Have you ever experienced a tropical monsoon climate? What about tasting super hot pepper? Did you know honey from Lithuania can be considered dangerous in Nigeria? Guess how many out of 25 students from IT have already launched their startups? Africa's biggest country by population surprised us with its culture, nature, talented people, and unlimited potential to grow as an IT superpower. Let's rewind some unforgettable learnings from our 12-day stay there.

Nature

The mean annual temperature in Nigeria is around 27 degrees. The country is marked by distinct rainy and dry seasons, where January is a midpoint of the dry season. These seasons create perfect conditions for colorful flora: palm, mango, banana, almond, avocado, cashew, and many other trees. Despite the rainy season, the sun is shining 365 days/year! Nigeria also has a coastline of the Gulf of Guinea around Lagos with beautiful beaches - it's been a real pleasure to go there.

Culture

Nigeria is a multinational state, as it is inhabited by over 250 ethnic groups. One of the common things in all groups is spicy food. And that is no joke! Especially peppers with delayed effect - definitely worth trying and we did so! 
Music is also a prerequisite in all public places and where's music - everyone got moves! Talking about music, Mimshach showed us the artist Asa and we really got hooked up. Check her out.

Unexpected Surprises

The very first surprise took place in the airport. Algirdas packed a box of honey from Lithuania for meet & greet meet-ups. All of a sudden, we were in discussion with the officers on how dangerous (or safe?) our honey is. Finally, we convinced them, but it took some time and effort. 🙂 Another surprise was Bolt in Nigeria. It's amazing how convenient it was - the same app, the same functionality.

Who is singing karaoke better and has greater moves:                                 Mimshach or Algirdas?

Tech Ecosystem

During our trip, we organized a meet-up with the Ventures Park community to discuss tech wonders, opportunities for entrepreneurship, and potential collaborations. However, a partnership between universities and companies is a potential area for building a young talent pipeline, and not many companies are doing that.
 

While in Lagos, we met the IT student community and had a Q&A session with them. Mark Zuckerberg also visited the same place a couple of years ago as there are many talented, curious, and ambitious students. Almost half of them have their own companies already!

Nigeria is huge, vivid, and definitely transforming rapidly. Huge thanks to all our team members for warm hospitality, dinners with laughter, and small chops!

 

Q: We missed perks!

A: Thanks for sharing! Currently, we're working on kicking off the second iteration of Personal Perks. Some exciting tweaks are in-progress: user-friendly solution to choose & administer perks as well as a wider list of vendors. More information on the start date will come by the end of Q1.

-Gabija Šarkytė

Q: Will there be a geocaching hunt this year???

A: At the moment we are not considering it, as it wasn't very popular, but took a lot of effort to prepare. But if you really liked this challenge and want it to happen again or would like to contribute to it contact us via the "ask a questions" section or me directly.
 

-Simona Toleikytė

Q: In Kaunas Blaster office we had 2 tables for table tennis. At BLC which is "Fitwell" certificated we have only one  Is it expected to have one more table?

A: Related to the Fitwell certificate, we have a sports room in A6, and also can attend Pilates and Functional training (all offers from BLC here). The table tennis at -1 is TeleSoftas proper, BLC just provided the premises. I'm sorry to say that at the moment they are not providing any more space for table tennis.


-Vaidotas Rutkauskas

Q: How about a "platform exchange program", where employees could go spend a day in a another platform? Working in a single platform feels very limiting sometimes.

A: That is a nice idea! You can use your off-project time not only deepen the knowledge of your current technology, but also for getting to know the other platform. I suggest you to reach out to your STL expressing the need to have a trail day in another platform.

-Vaida Žliobaitė

Q&A

 

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If you want to contribute toward creating TeleSoftas Today or simply have great ideas, contact Viktorija Budrevičė!

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