Gistcaster: Nigeria’s version of Twitter
Ademola Morebise is a young Nigerian software developer on a mission. He recently founded a new, exciting privately funded startup called Gistcaster. We got in touch with him and asked him a few questions.
TechMasai: What is Gistcaster?
A: Gistcaster is an online tool that lets you share and discover what’s happening right now, post a message (called “gists”) autotagged with your location and follow your friends on the go.
TechMasai: What inspired the development of Gistcaster and what do you aim to achieve?
A: The idea for Gistcaster sprang up from a series of thought processes that started early 2008, I wanted a quick and fast way to share and discover information, and I wanted something made especially with the Nigerian community in mind, we live here and we know what they want.
Gistcaster was initially been confused as a microblogging service, however it’s not so, Gistcaster is not a microblogging service; it allows up to 1024 characters (the exact value of 1kb) per gist and allows upload of small media files (clips) like pictures, audios e.t.c from your everyday experiences. Gistcaster is simply what we wanted it to be: a robust communication tool.
We want Gistcaster to encourage nigerians to generate more local e-content and one of the central visions of Gistcaster is to become “An instant reflection of what’s happening in any specific location in Nigeria” as more and more people joins the network.
A: What are the problems faced by Nigerians or African entrepreneurs in starting a start-up?
Mr. Morebise: I think the main problem faced by Nigerians in starting a start-up is lack of funding. You can find someone with a very good idea but the money is not there to start the project. Some might have the money but don’t have the brains and might not even understand what it takes to be an entrepreneur. I seriously think we need more Angel investors in Africa.
TechMasai: What opportunities do you see the internet having in improving everyday problems and services?
A: The internet is now an integral part of everyday living, it’s brought a lot of information available to us at our doorsteps. The problem is no longer “will I get information bout X” rather it’s now “How much information do I want about X”. With the internet you get real-time data to work with and you can easily collab with others.
We’ve read about how people used Twitter to track criminals, rescue people stuck in buildings (after the Haiti earthquake) and spread alerts. This all shows how much we’re now relying on the power of the internet to improve everyday living.
TechMasai: Nigeria not to mention Africa faces a bad reputation which limits growth and stalls investment. What in you perception can be done to present a more business friendly picture of Africa?
A: We need to get the right publicity, let blogs like yours (TechMasai), Loy Okezie and the StartupsNigeria movement continue to talk about the Entreprenuership and determination that lives in most africans. Then the African tech community should really produce innovative products, something fresh, for instance imagine what would happen if TechCrunch or Mashable posted a news headline that: “Young Nigerian launches Gistcaster: Twitter and Facebook should be on the lookout” Things like that always goes a long way.