As a young digital media entrepreneur based in Nigeria, I am always on the look out for ways to grow my business, learn new ideas and potentially source expansion capital. Internet entrepreneurs all over the world are inundated with stories of how one tech company was made after seed capital for expansion was raised from angel investors, venture capitalists or other Wall Street types.
A few weeks ago during a working vacation to North America I found out about a new service called Gigameet. It all started during an argument with some friends on a Facebook page that has over 3,000,000 likes. We were talking about successful young black entrepreneurs of Nigerian origin, and the name Chinedu Echeruo came up.
I had first heard about Chinedu when he shot into the public glare after selling Hopstop, a company he founded as an undergraduate in a New York university, to Apple in 2013 for an undisclosed sum. Several sources say the sum was as high as $1 billion, but Mr. Echeruo and Apple have refused to disclose the actual amount.
After the Facebook discussion, I decided to Google Chinedu and I came across some valuable information that eventually led me to Gigameet.
Gigameet is a website application that can be linked to your LinkedIn account, and which can get you meetings for a fee as little as $50 to $250 with any person you would like to meet, provided the person is also a member. A chunk of the meeting fee goes to charitable causes. Chinedu’s meeting fee went to Camp Interactive. C/I’s mission, according to its website is to inspire and equip underserved students with the skills in computing, leadership, and professionalism needed to thrive in the Internet economy and beyond.
Intrigued, and always looking for networking opportunities, I signed up and started looking at who was available to meet with. Not many people in the area of digital media and publishing showed up, so I went to the Tech category and I stumbled across Mr. Echeruo’s profile (Chinedu admits Gigameet is biased towards tech industry participants.)
I immediately asked for an in person meeting for $250 which was a bit steeper than a Skype meeting which usually goes for $100.
The initial meeting time picked was rescheduled by Chinedu, probably due to his busy schedule as a very much plugged in serial entrepreneur, so that was understandable and didnt take away fom the experience but left me with more time to prepare for an hour that could change everything (as advertised on the platform itself).
The second meeting date came up a week later and we were both on time and had a productive chat which I took away many valuable lessons away from. Principal of lessons being: New York is more rugged and at the same time infinitely more developed than Lagos. As a city it lives and breathes tremendous potential energy and the ideas are kinetic, always alive, moving 24/7/365.
Pershing Square, Chinedu’s choice location for a meeting is a swanky but not ostentatious cafe near Madison Avenue in Manhattan and a stone throw from Grand Central station.
I had earlier discovered why Chinedu founded Gigameet. He disclosed this during a chat with Stanford students in 2015 in a video on Stanford’s Youtube. He explained to them the need to create an enabling environment for techpreneurs who do not easily have access to Venture capitalists.
With Gigameet, Chinedu may have created the Holy Grail of social media for start up entrepreneurs, business development types and other professionals who want to take social networking to the next level.
In our opinion, its certainly worth looking into for these types.