How This Former Nigerian Student Built A Million Dollar Mobile Gaming Business
A lot of people wish to start a business, but very few truly know the problem they want to solve for the consumer nor have a well-defined product or service that would establish them as key players in whichever niche industry they want to venture into.
This leads to many crashing midway due to market events they either never foresaw or were just not adequately prepared for.
This is the success story of Abiola Olaniran, an entrepreneur who carved a niche for himself in a less crowded local electronic gaming industry and ended up making a name for himself.
Here’s how he did it:
So Who Is Abiola Olaniran?
Abiola Olaniran is the founder and CEO of Gamesole, one of the first Gaming companies in Africa and is also Nigeria’s highest paid Windows Game developer.
Gamsole, a company he founded in 2012, has built mobile games with over 10 million downloads, both locally and internationally, from the Windows Phone store.
Olaniran’s interest in software spans back to when he was 15 years old, with his interest in programming leading him to study Computer Science and Mathematics at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.
How Did He Get So Lucky?
While many would say that Olaniran was lucky to have met the Microsoft evangelists that visited his school, the reality is he was able to take advantage of an opportunity to learn from these gaming evangelists, which accelerated his move into the gaming industry.
His success as will be seen from his story can be largely attributed to hard work and a constant need to improve himself. He took advantage of the network and knowledge that was available to him and made something big out of it.
Olaniran’s story is a story of a man from a humble background, who rose above all odds to become a pioneer in the gaming industry in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
Abiola Olaniran’s Story
As a student of Computer Science and Mathematics at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Abiola Olaniran participated in a lot of competitions and during his quest for an area of focus, he discovered that if he was going to go into application development, mobile gaming was a key niche with applications that had the most requests from smartphone users.
From utility to edutainment, business applications, social networking and more, we have more people requesting for mobile games than any other category. This makes it a lot easier for an individual developer with no initial resources to build something that can grow organically, without having to do a lot of marketing.
The Growth Of His Interest In Gaming
Abiola Olaniran was fortunate to have been somewhat involved in the gaming/programming sphere at around the same time when the Windows Phone platform was being launched.
It all started from winning Microsoft’s Imagine Cup and going on to represent Nigeria at the World Finals, which was when Microsoft announced the release of the Windows Phone platform.
Several software engineers showcased their mobile applications at the event and this gave him more opportunity to learn about the platform and to grow his interest, which ended up being a focus in mobile gaming.
From the Imagine Cup, Abiola came back to Nigeria, participated in the Samsung Developer Challenge, and won the game and edutainment category. After that, he became more confident in his ability and developed a level of certainty that he was going to focus exclusively on game development.
So as a student and still an independent developer, he kept building and uploading gaming applications to the app store.
One of his first games then was called “Road Blazer“. And within a few weeks of its upload, he already had about 40,000 downloads.
The Start of Gamsole
While an independent developer, Abiola Olaniran was also a Google Student Ambassador. and through the network, he got to know about a startup accelerator in South Africa called 88mph. He applied for the program and ended up being the only Nigerian startup accepted at the time.
At this time, his startup was called Gamesole.
Gamsole develops a wide array of entertaining and educational games for Windows Phone and Windows 8, usually around an African theme. Within six months of launch on the Windows Phone Store, over three million people from all over the world had played Gamsole’s games. And as of February 2015, Gamsole’s games have been downloaded over 10 million times across 25 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America.
Gamsole has created more than 35 games and in 2014 it was one of five companies to receive a grant from the Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative.
To Sum it Up
Entrepreneurs need to strive to recognize and leverage opportunities around them to give themselves a good head start ahead of competitors. They must be in constant search of ways and means to improve their strategy with the aim of creating a niche based on the competitive advantages they have honed over the years.
What are your thoughts on this success story of Abiola Olaniran? Let me know by leaving a comment below.