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Osborn Kwarteng Gives Insights into Why His Tech Startup, PaySail Failed and Lessons Learned

PaySail, well…no longer sailing.

Startup life can be extremely hard. There will be lots of nights when you stay up late and still need to wake up early the next morning. You’ll sometimes wish you have more than 24 hours in a day to be able to execute all your plans. Despite all the hard-work and passion to succeed, startups sometimes fail. Failure is a word we all hate but it happens sometimes.

My experience with startup failure was my first startup, PaySail. PaySail sought to make the payroll and compliance process blissful for modern African businesses with features like automating tax and social security calculations, generating payslips, enabling payment and many more. My co-founders and I were ebullient about our prospects to succeed and we put in all the hard-work to make this possible. We generally had very good times but eventually had to close the shop.

One of the main reasons for our failure was the lack of understanding of our target market. Startups are usually encouraged to understand their target markets and create a unique value propositions that this market will latch on, unfortunately we didn’t do enough validation. Our product was fully online and that was problematic for businesses when we started selling to them. The smaller businesses sometimes didn’t have internet connections and the bigger businesses already had existing solutions.

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Additionally, most businesses in Ghana did not care much about paying income tax and social security. Most businesses pretty much avoided paying taxes and the ones who did already had something going for them. It was heartbreaking to make so many cold calls and send emails to always get rejections. The few demo opportunities we had all ended in “we will call you back when we make a decision.” This hardly happened.

The final factor for failure will be our business model. We started with a freemium model where we encouraged businesses to use our product as a free-trial for a few months before the businesses convert to become paying users. This didn’t work out for us. Additionally, we struggled to identify the main person in the organization we should target and sell PaySail to. We envisaged our product as one for the accountants to use hence we reached out to accountants. These accountants will generally give us a good reception but will never sign off the deal; and it was always difficult to meet the boss in charge.

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After over a year of building a product and selling, we had to shut PaySail down. It was obviously a melancholic moment but the lessons we learnt are extremely valuable for new startups. Startups should spend a considerable amount of time understanding their target market and should build a product that the target market finds enough value in to pay for. Once you are able to find a product-market fit, you will definitely increase your chances of startup success.

Osborn Kwarteng Adu was the Co-founder of PaySail and currently forms part of the engineering team at mPharma, a B2B venture-backed startup that makes prescription drugs in emerging markets easily accessible and affordable. His company has partnered major pharmaceutical manufacturers, insurance companies, financial institutions and governments to deliver medicines directly into the hands of consumers in those markets.


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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Spiros Tsaltas

    at

    1st of all, I am sorry to hear that it didn’t work out for you and your team.
    2nd thank you for been so open and sharing your experience so transparently
    3rd with all the respect to your person, there is no way that you had developed a business plan and avoided the marketing part of it; If you had done the market- research, you will not have these surprises.
    4th all IT startups seem not to understand that having the most excellent product, it is only max 10% of having a business. Why will any company risk using your solution if they have fear that you will vanish in a year of two (which you did)- what will they do with their data? Startups need to think in terms of operations

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ARTICLES

How to Gain Self-confidence as a Professional Trader

Confidence is one of the key ingredients which will allow you to trade the market like a pro trader. If you wish to build your career in the investment world, we strongly recommend that you learn to take the trades with strong confidence. It might take a while to get used to the overall concept of trading but once you become good at analyzing the market data, you can build your confidence level. But developing your skill in the retail trading industry is not that easy. You have to follow some specific rules and only then you can expect to become a full-time trader.
In this article, we are going to give you some advanced tips which will allow you to trade the market with a high level of precision. Once you become good at following the tips mentioned in this article, you will never struggle in the ETF trading industry.

Forget about the past trades

The novice traders get biased with the losing trades. They keep on monitoring the market and repent of their mistakes. On the contrary, the professional traders take smart steps and without any repentance, they look for the next trade signals. If you wish to develop yourself as a professional trader, we strongly recommend that you forget about your past trades. You can’t undo your past. Instead, look for the next trade signals strategically and try to find the solutions to this market.

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Trade with long term goals

You must take the trades in the market with long-term goals. Without setting up long-term goals in the investment business, it is very hard to stay tuned with the market changes. View the website of Saxo and learn about the importance of having strong determination in the trading business. Unless you are determined with your actions, you will keep on losing money most of the time. So, follow a conservative way and systematically take the trades. Once you become good at evaluating the key direction of the market, you can easily change your life.

Analyze the high impact news

Learning about fundamental analysis will improve your decision-making skills to a great extent. Very few traders in the retail trading industry have the skills to evaluate the fundamental data in the market. If you want to survive in the retail market, you must learn to take your trades systematically. Forget the fact that you are know everything about this market. See how the news data changes the course of the trend. As you become skilled in analyzing high-impact news, you will slowly learn to take the trades with strong confidence. This will also make you a better trader and let you systematically trade this market.

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Create a trading routine

To build strong confidence in the trading profession, you should trade the market with a balanced trading routine. Unless you take your trades with a proper trading routine, it will be really hard to bring any positive change to your trading system. As a trader, you might be thinking that you know every bit of detail. But this is not all true. In your trading routine, you must define all the basic rules. If you don’t trade the market with predefined rules, it will be a big challenge to make bring changes to your trading system. Follow the basic rules and trade the market with long-term goals.

Trade with low risk

You should always trade the market with low risk. Once you start taking the trades with managed risk, it will become an easy task to develop self-confidence. The majority of novice traders don’t have the strong skills to deal with the complex market. Usually, they aggressively take the trades and they lose a significant portion of the trading capital. So, trade with only 2% risk in the trades and it will help you to build strong confidence at trading.

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