Hi Chidi, what’s your background, and what are you currently working on?
I’m Chidi Nwaogu, a serial tech entrepreneur and software developer. I’m
Co-founder and CEO of Publiseer, a digital publisher for African Creatives,
described by Konbini as “one of the largest digital publishers in Africa”
and identified by IFC as one of the startups “that could speed up
innovation in Africa”.
I’ve been described as one of the “Young innovators making Africa great
in 2019″ and “50 Top Personalities on LinkedIn”.
For my work with Publiseer, I’ve won the Migration Entrepreneurship
Prize 2020 by the Swiss Government, the Africa 35.35 Award 2019 for
Entrepreneurship, the Young Leaders Award 2019 for Media and
Entertainment, and the Bizz Business Excellence Award 2019.
What motivated you to get started with Publiseer?
After exiting my second startup company through acquisition, my twin and I took a break from tech entrepreneurship to pursue other dreams.
For me, I have always wanted to be a published author, and my twin pursued a career as a recording artist. I wrote a novel titled ‘Odd Family Out’, and my twin recorded a studio album titled ‘Higher’, and now it was time to monetize our hard work.
My twin heard of a music aggregator based in the United States and decided to distribute his studio album with them. They requested an album distribution fee of $99, and he paid immediately. After all, he just sold his second startup company, but this isn’t the case for many upcoming artists in Africa, who can’t afford such a distribution fee. He started a social media campaign to raise awareness for his album, and within a month, he had huge sales.
Now, it was time to receive his royalties, and that was where the problem came in. The aggregator primarily pays royalties via PayPal, and in Nigeria, and many African countries, we cannot receive money via PayPal, but can only send money, so that payment method was out of the picture. So he had to fall back to the only payment method left and that was cheque payment even though he knew it would take two weeks to receive the cheque and another three weeks to get the money into his bank account.
However, after two months, the cheque never arrived, so he reached out to the aggregator to know ask what was causing the delay. That was when he was told that he had taken the money. Upon investigation by the aggregator, it was discovered that someone in Oslo, Norway, used a fake ID to take his money, and my twin was heartbroken. He had to take down his album from the aggregator and source for local means of monetization.
About a year after, he said to me, “Chidi, a lot of independent African musicians have gone through what I went through trying to monetize my music internationally. And I think we should solve this problem for every African creative out there; writers, musicians, and filmmakers; including ourselves.” And that was when the idea for our third and current startup company was born.
A digital content distribution platform tailored for African creatives, and in Q3 2017, we launched Publiseer, a digital content distribution platform that lets independent African writers, musicians, and filmmakers, typically from low-income communities to distribute, promote, protect and monetize their creative works on over 400 well-
established digital platforms in 100 countries, at no charge, with just a single click, and we share in the revenue generated from sales of these works.
Our creatives receive their royalties via local bank payments, with no payment charges, or via mobile money payment, which makes it easily accessible; thus making monetization convenient and risk-free. Thanks to Publiseer
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
We attract and retain creatives on our platform (publiseer) because of its
uniqueness. We cover everything for the creatives, from start to finish.
We allow them to focus on doing what they love doing the most, and what they know how to do best, which is to create, while we handle the tedious business of transforming their creativity into wealth for them.
For only a share in the revenue we generate for them, we give the artists a platform to earn a living as full-time professionals. This helps our users launch their careers easily as we don’t have a setup or upfront fee. We fine-tune our clients’ creative works to industry-standard so they stand a chance when competing on a global scale. Then, we distribute them to over 400 well-established partner stores worldwide so they are easily
We protect their works from illegal distribution and intellectual property theft so they truly own their content. They can monitor their sales performance across all our partner stores using our centralized dashboard and receive their royalties via African-tailored payment
methods, such as to their local bank accounts or mobile money wallets, which are convenient and risk-free.
What’s your business model, and how have you grown your revenue?
- Revenue Sharing (25%): For independent creatives earning below the minimum wage and cannot afford to distribute their digital content with us by paying for the distribution fee, we distribute such content after review, for free, and when a unit of that work (book, audiobook, song, music video, and short or feature film) is sold, Publiseer takes 25% of the revenue generated from sales.
- Recurring Upfront Distribution Fee: Most large traditional book publishers, record labels and film production houses who want to sell their creative works online can do that with us by distributing it for a recurring upfront distribution fee, and when a unit of their work is sold, they get to keep 100% of the revenue generated from sales.
What are your business goals for the future?
We are working to build a larger distribution channel and a more tailored promotional service for our creatives. We’re working towards being a full digital media platform for African creatives that handles everything, including strategic planning, marketing, financing, branding, and PR.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources for you?
“Blue Ocean Strategy” by Renée Mauborgne and W. Chan Kim. It portrays the beauty of being proactive and thinking outside the box.
Which were your marketing strategies to grow your business?
Many African creatives use social media to promote their craft to potential customers because it’s free and effective. So at Publiseer, we use social media utilities like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn to reach out to African creatives who are looking for new avenues to distribute, promote, and monetize their creative works.
We run several organic and paid media campaigns on social media platforms, targeted towards those who are writers, musicians, or filmmakers. So far, we have gotten most of our creatives to adopt the use of our platform using social media utilities.
Also, we have been extensively covered by the media, mostly blogs, and this is because we have maintained a very healthy relationship with bloggers over the years they often keep in touch with every new milestone we reach, and they often report these milestones on their blogs. Many creatives have found our platform via blogs.
What were the biggest challenges you faced and the obstacles you overcame?
Copyright Infringement. Sometimes, some Creatives plagiarize works of others and upload them on Publiseer for publishing as theirs. To mitigate this, we always verify the originality of any work we publish.
We have several tools we use for this, thanks to the great folks on the Ally
team of Google working closely with us to achieve this. These tools have helped us ensure that the works we publish are free of plagiarism and are 100% original.
If you had the chance to do things differently, what would you do?
I won’t do things differently, because I believe all my mistakes, failures, and disappointments experienced along the way taught me a lot of important life lessons and moulded me into the entrepreneur that I am today.
If I am to start all over again, I will make the same exact mistakes I made, learn from them, fail again, learn from them, and eventually succeed with all the lessons I have learned.
Have you had any failed business?
Yes, OyaFollow.me, which was a microblogging community much like Twitter. It allowed anyone to create a free account and follow their interests, while other users followed them in return.
It was a very sophisticated tool that allowed users to share videos, photos, and music files along with their micro-updates, and allowed them to join groups.
This was created in 2011 and was shut down in 2012 due to technical reasons.
What are some sources for learning you would recommend for entrepreneurs who are just starting?
Please, listen to my advice. It’s great that you’re passionate about your idea – and sometimes, you need to ignore the naysayers to realize your dream.
However, some zealous entrepreneurs fall into the trap of dismissing any constructive criticism or advice they receive, which can lead them to miss the opportunity to address possible issues before they happen. Figure out how to sort through truly negative comments and constructive criticism.
If someone is offering you genuine advice, consider stopping and listening carefully. Impartial sources like potential customers, investors, lenders, or mentors are more likely, to be honest with you than family and friends, so pay particular attention to what they have to say and you can avoid making some serious mistakes with your business.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
Figure out that one thing you know how to do better than many people you have come across. Now practice that one thing over and over again until you become undoubtedly an expert at it. Now do that thing and get people to pay you for doing it.
That’s how successful businesses are created out of our talents or hobbies.
Where can we go to learn more about you?
A quick google search for “Chidi Nwaogu” is all you need.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
Yes, visit our website Here