Chidi Nwaogu from Nigeria is OD Young Person of the Month for June 2019!
Welcome to June!
Our Young Person of the Month is Chidi Nwaogu from Nigeria! Chidi is a serial internet entrepreneur, software developer, Co-founder, and CEO of Publiseer, a digital publishing platform for African creatives. He was selected as a Westerwelle Fellow 2019, Yunus &Youth Fellow 2019, and he emerged the winner of Startup World Cup Nigeria Regional Competition 2019. He was shortlisted candidate for Forbes 30 under 30 2019, a finalist for Halcyon Incubator’s Fall 2019 Fellowship and he was the first place winner of the OD Impact Challenge 2018.
Read his story below and be inspired!
Chidi Nwaogu is a serial internet entrepreneur, software developer, Westerwelle Fellow 2019, Yunus & Youth Fellow 2019, and the winner of Startup World Cup Nigeria Regional Competition 2019. He is a shortlisted candidate for Forbes 30 under 30 2019, a finalist for Halcyon Incubator’s Fall 2019 Fellowship and the first place winner of OD Impact Challenge 2018.
Chidi began his entrepreneurial journey when he was 16 with the creation of 9ja Boi Interactive, a video game development company. Today, he is the co-founder and CEO of Publiseer, a digital publisher for African Creatives, described by Konbini as “one of the largest digital publishers in Africa”, identified by IFC as one of the startups “that could speed up innovation in Africa” and listed by Modern Ghana as one of the “10 African Innovations for January 2019”. Since Chidi was 19, he has co-founded, grown and sold two Internet companies before the age of 25, including LAGbook, a social network that garnered over 1-million registered users within three years.
On How He Started
After selling their second startup company ‘PRAYHoUSe’, together with his twin brother, Chika, they decided to take a break from Internet entrepreneurship, and pursue other dreams. Chidi, wanted to be a published author, and his twin pursued a career as a recording artist. He wrote a novel titled ‘Odd Family Out’, and Chika recorded a studio album titled ‘Higher’, and then, it was time to monetize their hard work.
His twin brother heard of a music aggregator based in the United States and decided to distribute his studio album with them. They requested a distribution fee of $99, and he paid immediately. After all, he had just sold his second startup company, but this wasn’t the case for many upcoming artistes in Africa. He started a social media campaign to raise awareness for his album, and within a month, he had sales of more than $1,200. Now, it was time to receive payment, and that’s where the problem came in. The music aggregator primarily pays royalties via PayPal, and in Nigeria, and many African countries, they cannot receive money via PayPal, but can only send money, that payment method was out of the picture.
He had to fall back to the only payment method left and that was check payment even though he knew it would take two weeks to receive the check and another three weeks to get the money into his bank account. However, after two months, the check never came, so he reached out to know ask what’s causing the delay. That’s when he was told that he had taken the money. Upon investigation, it was discovered that someone in Oslo, Norway, had used a fake ID to take his money, and Chika was heartbroken. He had to take down his album and sort for local means of monetization.
About a year after, he said to 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, including ourselves.” And that was when the idea was born. A digital content distribution platform tailored for the African creatives, and on August 4th, 2017, they launched Publiseer, a digital content distribution platform that lets independent African writers and musicians, 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. They share in the revenue generated from the sales of these works. The creatives receive their royalties via local bank payments with no transaction fee. Thus making monetization convenient and risk-free.
On His Successes
Since inception, they have helped over 2,100 African creatives to monetize their creative works worldwide, raking in over $10,000 every quarter, and for their works at Publiseer, they have emerged the first place winner in the OD Impact Challenge and won the Startup World Cup Nigeria Regional Competition. They have been awarded a co-working space grant by the Lagos State Government, and have been accepted into Accelerate Labs by Microsoft, Venture Incubation Programme by University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business, Ally by Google, and Global Startup Program by Singularity University.
They have been awarded the ‘Most Needed in the Region’ award by the African Entrepreneurship Award, and have been recognized by the International Finance Corporation as one of the startups that could speed up innovation in Africa. They were accepted into Westerwelle Fellowship for Young Founders and Yunus&Youth Global Fellowship for Social Entrepreneurs. Recently, they were selected for the Next 100 African Startups Initiative organized by the Egyptian Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation.
On Obstacles and Future Plans
Piracy has been one of its greatest challenges. When they notice a different merchant selling a book, song or film in their catalog, they contact their author, artist or filmmaker to verify if they are aware of this, and if they aren’t aware, they take legal actions against such merchant. The reason why they contact their Creatives first is that they don’t take away their publishing rights, which means they’re free to republish their works elsewhere without their permission.
Copyright Infringement has also been a big issue for them as sometimes some Creatives plagiarize works of others and submits it for publishing as theirs. To mitigate this, they always verify the originality of any work they want to publish.
Chidi and his team are working hard to improve their product, and to scale their impact across Africa. Soon, they’ll completely be automating their review process using artificial intelligence. They’ll also be launching an in-built online grammar and spell checking program, music mastering program, and plagiarism detection program. Also, they will be launching ‘Publiseer Pro’, which discovers, signs and builds rising African talents. When they find a creative they believe in, they offer them an exclusive distribution deal, which includes strategic planning, marketing, financing, branding, and PR.
His Word of Advice to the Youth
As someone who wants to impact your community, it’s very important that you know ‘why’ than to you know ‘how’, because the person who knows why is the person with the vision, and the person with the vision is the person who leads those who know how. As a change-maker, you have to constantly remind yourself why you started your company or organization because it’s the only thing that will keep you going when everything seems to be working against you.
Who will be the Next Young Person of the Month?
You can be the next Opportunity Desk Young Person of the Month! All you have to do is get a friend to recommend your work or fill out the nomination form here. We want to use the platform to recognize and celebrate the efforts of amazing young people around the world. O! And you must be an active Opportunity Desk member, either as a fan, reader or subscriber!
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