Finding Product Market Fit in Africa

Exploring product-market fit in Africa with OkHi's Roger Norton.
March 15, 2024

If you’re a builder, you’ll love our latest How Would You Build It podcast. We sat down with SA product legend Roger Norton, chief product officer at OkHi to chat about building successful products in Africa. And Roger has seriously great insights…

Some highlights

1. Building credibility & landing big clients

As Roger says here, corporations usually build success on one or two revenue streams, and they develop a severe aversion to anything disrupting or threatening those. Which translates into extreme risk aversion.

What Roger found works is either 1) implement your product/service with a couple of their smaller peers first – try TymeBank before you approach Standard Bank, for example. Or 2) find a way to prove to them that your solution is worth their time – which can take a long time investment of research, building relationships, pitching and deploying pilots.

2. Finding product market fit in Africa

As Roger explains, the core of building products at scale is to 1) build things people want and need to engage with regularly, 2) in a space that’s growing really fast and 3) that people stick around with. This gives you the best chance at a high engagement rate, acquisition and retention rate.

3. Growing strategically

When it comes to developing your product and scaling, Roger says what they do is to 1) focus on building network effect within a single market first, then you can start looking at 2) expanding through your existing customers and referrals to other regions.

Lastly, 3) is to look at those referrals and identify the regions that seem to be adopting and converting well, and then double down on those as your expansion plan.

And there are loads more awesome nuggets of info in the podcast — it’s 30 minutes well spent for anyone looking to build a great product in Africa.

You can also grab the Spotify and Apple Podcast links on our website here.