Founders Series interviews Founders every Monday. Visit this page every Monday for the next entrepreneurial or business star.
Today, Tekedia interviews a very bright and young Nigerian techpreneur, Ahmad Mukoshy. At the young age of 21 years, he has done some really remarkable things. He has built companies and most especially helping companies in the Northern part of Nigeria get on the web. His hosting company has provided a very local alternative to the foreign behemoths. His writings are clean and he has a vision – yes, he wants to build Nigeria’s GoDaddy. Ahmad is just one of those young Nigerians that make every one of us beam with hope and optimism.
In 2009, Fasmicro Founder, Prof (Dr) Ndubuisi Ekekwe, spent a week teaching in Usman Danfodiyo University on the invitation of the University Vice Chancellor. He told us that he did not meet Ahmad, but one of the professors mentioned a “bright young man on this campus that does web hosting and IT” when he was discussing a plan for a project. Yet, he explained that there were many smart boys in Usman Danfodiyo University – one built a solar cell and was on his way to Malaysia on a scholarship. As we go through the reports Dr Ekekwe made on this university, we noticed one thing – Nigeria is overly fixated on Lagos guys while other young men in other parts of the country are not noticed. With the Sokoto Energy Center on campus, he said that he saw students that could help power their homes, with green tech, if there is proper support and funding.
So, today, Tekedia presents Ahmad Mukoshy – the young man that built a web hosting firm at 17 years in Sokoto and just recently sold one of his companies for profits.
– Tell us your name and background
My name is Ahmad Mukoshy, I am 21 years now, born and brought up in Sokoto, Nigeria. I just graduated from Usmanu Danfodiyo University, where I studied B.Sc (Hons) in Physics. A rundown of my professional bio is as follows:
First, I am the the founder of Aimtech Comm. Limited; A multidimensional web hosting company providing on-demand shared hosting in Nigeria since 2007, which as of today is empowering over 500 web site owners in Nigeria.
Early 2009, I built NairaParking; The first Nigerian domain market place allowing users to list their domain names for sell just like in Sedo. But later in 2010 I shut it down with less than 20 domain names listed for sale because i understood that Nigeria was not yet ripe enough for bulk domain transaction, so I had to to move on with other things.
In mid 2009 i joined a network of web developers and entrepreneurs to building a social site called NaijaBorn. Though I was mostly in-active in the team, it became a learning phase for me on how to work in a team. Naija Born is a site that showcase proud Nigerians living in Nigeria and Diaspora. NaijaBorn is an SYS Africa projected owned by Qubestreet Entertainments and Afrovision Group.
I quit NaijaBorn in the same year, 2009 to start my own social network for my university colleagues called Danfodites which grew to over 1,000 users until it got invaded by spammers in mid 2010. I had to shut it down too, due to my final year exams and mostly because it was distracting me from my studies and i could not get someone to handle it for me. So, mounted on a Facebook group which is still being patronized by the students and gathering momentum.
Back in January last year, I built yrn.me, a nifty 5-letter URL shortner just like bit.ly in one week which is still in constant usage by over a hundred users. Just a month after yrn.me, I built Yarnable.com, a micro-discussion site allowing users to yarn on topics that matters to them in 140 characters or less which became my first venture acquired by a company.
I also built Edugeria in 2010, a blog focusing on education in Nigeria, where I was hoping to host writers from all Nigerian Universities where I started with Usmanu Danfodiyo University and University of Maiduguri with volunteered writers, it was a moment of success but I also took it off in less than 6months of operation due to financial and administrative demands.
But now, I am cutting down the rate at which I build startups to concentrate on building successful startups rather than so many closed startups. So, at present I only work on Aimtech Hosting and Yrn.Me.
– Introduce us to your company, products and services
My company name is Aimtech Comm. Limited, registered with corporate affairs commission, providing domain registration, web development, web hosting and general technology services in the area of communication and internet. Some of my products includes the URL shortner, yrn.me and the micro-discussion site, yarnable.com which I sold to mobiQube Nigeria Limited based in Abuja this year.
– Tell us the challenges your business is facing
Because I run my business while in school, it wasn’t easy managing the two. That was my biggest challenge, balancing grades and revenue! Some of my other challenges also include inadequate power and internet access.
– Share with us how you are mitigating those challenges
When I was in school, I set time for my studies in which I stay away from computers and also use the night to do some of my work.
– Your message to other founders and entrepreneurs
My message to all founders and entrepreneurs is that persistence is the key, it is always good to remember the saying, quitters never win and winners never quit. The truth is every successful person once had challenges; they succeeded because they didn’t quit. So, keep doing what you do best and time is the judge.
– Should you become a LGA chair, Governor or President, tell us how you will make technology to flourish in your country
I will surely do my best to ensure electricity flows 24hr 7days and I will provide internet connection to youth and build entrepreneurial forums to encourage youth in building more startups.
– Tell us how people can reach you online