By Gilbert Alasa.
His name doesn’t ring a bell for many people. His contempt for publicity also seems not to help matters. But Seun Osewa, 33-years old owner of Africa’s largest online forum, Nairaland, tells a compelling story of grass to grace.
Before he started Nairaland in 2005 at 23, the lad had moved from failure to failure. “All my business projects before Nairaland were failures. My web hosting business failed after just three months with only one customer and I ran out of money. I couldn’t execute many other projects. My blogs and the mobile phone forum were successful but not profitable,” he said.
Like Bill Gates, Seun had dropped out of the Obafemi Awolowo University to pursue his dream and was encouraged to get certifications and regular job after many business failures. For about two years, the chap kept researching business ideas and presenting them to friends and family, but no capital was forthcoming.
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In 2013, he opened a long overdue office at Ota, Ogun State, after managing the largest online forum in Africa for 8 years. With over one million registered users, attracting zero external funding, no official logo, no registered office or employees, except for its founder and a few freelance moderators.
Later in 2014, hackers attacked the website’s host server and deleted all its contents. Three days later, Nairaland was back online after some data had been recovered from a remote backup.
The online forum has since survived the attacks to pull over 1.4m registered accounts and considerable number of unregistered users. Not only has it become 8th most visited site in Nigeria and most visited indigenous site, it attracts a whopping 3% of Nigerian Internet users, with a monthly average of 16m visits from 6.9 m unique visitors and 60.1m page views.
All My Previous Business Failed – Seun Osewa
By Gilbert Alasa.