Challenges For Ghanaian Tech Startup: ‘Credibility, Investors’

Challenges For Ghanaian Tech Startup: ‘Credibility, Investors’

Ghanaian Isaac Nii Noi Nortey has proved that the tech startup company he co-founded has what it takes to succeed, but that may not be enough.

An aid for merchants to promote their online stores across leading comparison shopping sites, Ghana-based startup Retail Tower automates data feed submission, monitors competitor pricing and product reviews, and provides the means to measure a return on investment for each sales channel.

Retail Tower recently won a startup competition that helps winners launch ideas and build companies.

Integrating with ecommerce platforms and comparison-shopping engines, Retail Tower’s free application reduces the time required for implementing an online marketing campaign. Merchants working with the company can also create Facebook stores on their fan pages using Retail Tower, according to company co-founder Nortey.

“Retail Tower helps online merchants simply to sell more,” Nortey said. “We help merchants increase their sales online.”

Nortey said his company has proved it can succeed at that. Retail Tower recently won the Seedstars World pitching event in Accra — an exclusive startup competition inspired by Seedstars SA, a Swiss-based company which “launches ideas, grows startups, and builds companies,” according to its website.

The competition’s objective is to find the best candidates from around the world and nurture their growth. Winners, to be determined at the event’s conclusion in Switzerland in 2014, will be awarded amounts between $100,000 and $500,000 to grow their businesses along with the opportunity to meet with investors from around the world.

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Nortey and his Retail Tower team — Blaise Bayoe, Rinkart Osei Asibey, and Samuel Tuffour — met and formed the concept for the company at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology.

“Meltwater funds software companies or young entrepreneurs to start their own businesses,” Nortey said. “That’s how Retail Tower started.”

But the company still faces hurdles as it takes shape.

“We’ve been in business for a little more than two years, starting in June of 2011,” Nortey said. “Building a startup in Ghana has been a challenge. We want to be a global business, and to do that we’ve needed to build credibility. Because of Internet fraud and other such issues associated with Africa, that’s been a big challenge to overcome. And then access to funds. There are no ‘angel’ investors in Africa. So there are trust issues we need to overcome to get to the next level.”