Cameroonian entrepreneur Churchill Nanje Mambe, founder of job search platform Njorku, was looking for a mentor on VC4Africa’s Mentorship Marketplace, and ended up with a new investor too! Read his story below.
What happened when you put a request on VC4Africa’s Mentorship Marketplace last year?
“When we published the mentorship request on VC4Africa, we got two reactions from potential mentors. The mentor I accepted was from Cameroon like myself, but now living abroad, and had co-founded an Internet company with revenues of 7 million USD per year. With his experience in building web companies he has been guiding and coaching my team and me for around half a year now.
Thanks to VC4Africa’s Mentorship Marketplace I met this guy, he helped with a lot of guidance in business and strategy, and now funding too! Along with his partners he decided to invest in Njorku, to keep us going while we further develop the products and the business as a team!”
What makes Njorku interesting for investors?
“Njorku is a job search and career platform for Africans worldwide, with a very unique business model and the first mover advantage in Sub Saharan Africa. We use high end and custom technologies to set a barrier to entry that would be very expensive to deploy for an average Sub Saharan African techy or startup. Our advantage is more inclined towards our technical expertise, with an average experience of over six years in working and building enterprise solutions for clients around the world.”
The last time we profiled you on VC4Africa was around two years ago. What has happened in the mean time?
“From the last time you profiled us we have had a lot of upgrades to our platform. We developed and launched a platform dedicated to job seekers and another platform dedicated to employers. Now, job seekers can upload their resume on Njorku.com and we automatically match them to employers at no cost, all 100% free.
In the meantime we have been doing a lot of business development related tasks. We focused a lot on marketing strategies, sales strategies and trying to find the best engineering talents we could hire to work on future Njorku products. And as mentioned, we have been using VC4Africa to find mentors to help guide us with Njorku’s business development, which worked out very well for us!
Njorku’s jobs index has in the mean time grown to over 1 million job records – and we crawl, index and process 4000 new jobs every 3 hours on average. Our candidate platform is growing with thousands of new candidates weekly. We have had people from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Kenya, Uganda, India and other countries thanking us for the service and telling us how they have secured their jobs from our service. They also want us to do more with them, such as mitigating legal and related issues as a means to protect them.”
What was the single greatest challenge you faced to date with your business? How did you overcome this?
“Our single biggest challenge has been finding talented people in engineering, business, sales, marketing etcetera, and we are still working hard towards finding the right people. We found a couple and we trained a couple, but we are still searching for more, as we believe the power of our platform depends on the people behind it.”
Which milestones do you want to reach with your present and new investments, and what do you hope to achieve in the long run?
“With our current investment, we wish to grow our user base and increase engagement amongst our users. Our users generally send us a lot of feedback: thanking us for making their lives easier. Our long term goal for Njorku is to assist and enhance the lives of more than 60 million professionals in Sub Saharan Africa with their careers, which means helping recruiters find the best talents from a very large pool.”
How do you see Africans living abroad play a role in growing Africa’s innovation sectors?
“I believe that a lot of Cameroonians and Africans abroad will be the main source of seed funding and angel investment for the African tech startups going forward. There is a gap between seed funding and VC funding in Africa and this is where I believe the African diaspora will come in. Most of them work for top companies abroad, and they are always looking for ways they can do something back home. They have always had doubts and trust issues, but as more stories like Njorku emerge from the continent I’m sure they will begin to consider investing and mentoring more.”
What are your recommendations to other entrepreneurs who are wondering what VC4Africa can do for them?
“I would encourage other entrepreneurs to take advantage of the many features of the VC4Africa platform. It costs nothing to use, but the benefits are endless. They should use the platform creatively and they would be surprised by the results! We set out to test VC4Africa’s mentorship platform, looking for a mentor, and ended up with an investor too!”
Entrepreneurs who have registered a venture with VC4Africa have the ability to submit a request for mentorship support on the VC4Africa Mentorship Marketplace. Once these requests are screened and posted it’s up to one of the VC4Africa mentors to step forward and to see what can be done to support the entrepreneur.