Nubi here, kicking off the series on Africa’s connectedness with Ahmad Mukoshy, an upward mobile entrepreneur who understands the importance of having more people online and actually launched a startup to do just this.
I caught up with him over the weekend and here’s the outcome of our conversation.
Tell us about yourself and your startup – Gigalayer
I’m an advanced-level web developer turned into a Linux server admin out of a daily routine. Nowadays, I consider myself more a business guy. I am from Sokoto, Nigeria and I’m 25. I’ve built a number of products, sold a startup and working on something new again!
GigaLayer is a hosting startup with a focus towards delivering high quality and world-class hosting solution to customers in Nigeria bundled with the best of customer support. Currently we’re powering over 1,700 domain names and about 1,000 websites in the country.
Our journey is just beginning. We are also more than excited with the flight so far and looking forward to decades of providing solutions around Domain, Hosting, Email, Backup etc in Africa.
How is your startup increasing the level of connectedness since launch
So, we are building a number of systems to allow smooth on-boarding of businesses and individuals to the web. Basically, we put people and businesses online and support them in cultivating their internet presence.
Since inception, we have delivered ease in Domain Registration, cPanel powered Hosting, Managed Servers and Cloud DNS solution. So far, this has helped hundreds of business in getting online and remaining reachable with our reliable platforms & support services.
What prompted you to launch a startup that brings more people online?
This came out of a necessity, when I started building websites and applications I needed a place to host them and at the time I could not find a hosting provider that could properly support me and my growing needs. So I went ahead and found a solution which ended to be Aimtech Hosting Company.
After a few years and achieving some level of traction, Aimtech Hosting rebranded to GigaLayer with the current service offering. Initially, it was only domain/hosting and nothing more, today we provide support and managed virtual/dedicated server solutions. Basically, we have grown!
What has the journey been like – challenges, milestones, and response?
We have been seeing an appreciable response so far, a whole new set of standards came to place when we rebranded and that has given us an uplift in the industry. Today, we are categorised among the top 10 companies you can turn to when you need hosting solutions in Nigeria.
We were the first in Nigeria to officially open up our services to Nigerians in the diaspora with international card and PayPal payment acceptance through a merchant service provider in United States.
Nonetheless, we have had a lot of challenges along the way and more ahead of us. However, we are steadfast and confident that we are up to the task. One of our biggest challenges has been payment processing, and I’m so sure we will continue to be on top of it.
What has come of the level of connectivity – especially with mobile?
I would say amazing growth, it has always been huge and I’m certain we have more improvements to come ahead. But I still think the telecoms need to improve at connecting people to the internet and also make it more affordable. Till this day, we are still paying fortunes to get connected, unlike many other countries even around Africa.
The last I was in Sudan Republic about 2yrs ago, I was paying about 2,500 Naira for 10GB Internet Data on a 3.5G network that connects me nation wide. I am not sure why we’re still paying 10,000 Naira for that in Nigeria today!
We need a strong solution to the cost and delivery of internet access in Nigeria.
How is Gigalayer leveraging on the Internet – especially social media?
We are just getting started with the social media interaction, so far our engagement on Twitter is pretty good and appreciated by both customers and the public. We are looking forward to achieving more with social media in the coming year. Right now, I think we’re more focused on positioning the company and our product placement.
But personally, I have seen the power of social media and how it can impact businesses in so many ways. My first startup Yarnable, took off because of social media interaction; I see the same happening to so many businesses.
Any plans for you and Gigalayer at the upcoming Social Media Week 2015?
I must say we’re excited and eager to attend the SMW events in 2015. We love what Social Media Week is doing and we can’t wait to meet and engage with lots of our customers and the general public.
Personally, I am interested in seeing a lot of fellow Entrepreneurs and Startups during the events.