[INTERVIEW] ABC talks to Charles Akpom, Co-Founder and CEO of Africa’s No. 1 Social Network site, Afroterminal – Connecting Africans all over the world.
The social network platform, Afroterminal, has received worldwide acclaim for its ingenuity and creativity in uniting Africans all over the world. Charles Akpom talks about it:
Could you tell us a little about Afroterminal?
Afroterminal is a vibrant social network where Africans meet, share, learn from
each other and make friends. There are members residing all over the world (over 180 countries) who log in regularly, share their thoughts in our chatrooms, forums, groups, etc. The site also has loads of other features.
We are really proud of how the network has grown; we were featured on Forbes.com as one of Africa’s hottest startups in February.
Would you say it is a professional or a social platform, or a little of both?
Afroterminal is primarily a social network. But as you know, Africans are intrinsically entrepreneurial, so there’s that business/professional side of Afroterminal. Members are able to create and promote their e-business cards and classified adverts.
What does one need to do to be a part of it?
A love for, and connection to Africa. It’s FREE to join.
What was your inspiration for starting this up?
The idea was to create an online platform that Africans could call their own … a ‘home’ so to speak. There are many social networks out there, but we have managed to create a truly pan-African social network, with our members coming from about 50 of the 53 African countries, and located across the world.
What challenges did you face in establishing Afroterminal?
We faced the initial challenge of getting our technology right.
How did you overcome this challenge?
We built and moved to a more stable platform last year.
What was the initial response to Afroterminal from the African community abroad?
We received very positive feedback from fellow Africans who are glad to see ‘their own’ setting up an online space for ‘their own’. I remember, though, that there was a lady who interviewed me in the first few weeks of our trial launch, when we had just 100-200 members and wrote back later to say that the idea was laudable, but wasn’t going anywhere! Today, we have 62,000 members and growing, and we have had about 15,000 new members in the last 2 months i.e. a quarter of our current user-base joined in last 2 months alone!
Do you face any current challenges posed by the African market?
Africa brings so much opportunity, and our (technology) industry is growing very rapidly. If anything, the challenge would be staying ahead of the growth curve.
What can we expect from you next?
In the next few weeks, we’ll be introducing some fresh changes on the site, to make the users’ experience even more rewarding. Recently we introduced instant chat and mobile chat, where members can chat on their PC and on their mobile with their friends across the world. Members can also chat with their Facebook and Gtalk friends while logged into Afroterminal!
Any last words?
It’s been a great and yet, humbling experience for us – being able to build a platform which is useful to thousands of Africans. We’ve met a lot of great people on Afroterminal, and it is our dream that many more Africans join in to make it the no. 1 social network for our continent.
This interview is brought to you by Africa Business Communities