Nigerian Web Hosting Company WhoGoHost Eyes African Market
It all started when an undergraduate who just wanted to host his first website, Ennovate Nigeria, encountered some difficulties with online payment only to realise that there were lots of people with similar problems in Nigeria. The need spurred Opeyemi Awoyemi to found WhoGoHost, a company that has grown over the years to become Nigeria’s leading web hosting company.
When he founded the company, the short term goal was just to meet the hosting need of Ennovate’s client. According to Awoyemi, there was no long term strategy as at then. But now however, he told AFKInsider, WhoGoHost has set a continental goal by aiming at becoming Africa’s biggest web hosting company.
“Africa is growing digitally, if we don’t do it, Europeans and Americans will,” he said.
Unlike several successful entrepreneurs that had a clear-cut view of how big their project would become, Awoyemi said he had no idea back then that WhoGoHost could ever become what it is today. However, he said he believes that dreams do evolve one after the other.
This couldn’t be further from the truth because back then, he said all his skills revolved around just asking and making good use of Google.
He said: “Even till now, I do both often. I was a web developer, a server infrastructure, and web designer.”
The defining moment for WhoGoHost, Awoyemi said, was when it had only about 600 users that it had acquired entirely by word of mouth. At that point, he said he decided to handover the running of the company to his co-founder, Toba Obaniyi, who according to him ‘had more time to run the platform’.
Awoyemi said, WhoGoHost “ … has over 7000 clients and is growing at a 40 percent annual rate presently, with a strong mind and team to increase that.” The company currently has about 14,000 sites live.
“We have the advantage of good infrastructure backing by IBM – a world leading brand (Softlayer) and also our customer centric service which in my opinion is our biggest strength till date. We still consider ourselves a startup; our plan is to hit 500,000 domains at the very minimum by 2020 and we aren’t close yet,” Awoyemi said.
He also said plans are underway for the company to venture into email hosting, digital marketing, and providing technical services to clients.
“We have done a lot and the market is still huge and under-tapped. We are leading and we are moving from SMEs to big companies and enterprises,” he said.
Instead of launching WhoGoHost in Ghana like he did for his other company, Jobberman, Awoyemi said he is more focused on the continent’s market than expanding to individual countries.
“[We are] not looking at Ghana at the moment, [we’re] looking at Africa as a bigger market,” adding that the company has clients in over 21 countries, and its top five countries are Nigeria, United Kingdom, USA, Ghana and China.
The web hosting company has however not had a smooth ride getting clients from outside Nigeria due to the negative stereo types labeled on the west African nation when it come to internet scams. Issues of trust have always cropped up with new clients, but with time Awoyemi’s team has managed to overcome them and got the company accredited internationally.
“The process of getting accredited is not really easy, but our current partnership with Google has increased our value, so to speak. People trusted us even more. Right now, people wonder if we are actually Nigerians because it is assumed that once it’s Nigerian it’s going to be bad.” he told AFKInsider.
Awoyemi’s ambition for the company is to see it becoming a force to reckon with in Africa and plans to partner with a data centre in Nigeria and across the continent.
“We see WhoGoHost spearheading the development of hosting in Africa as whole and inviting investments from within and outside the nation and the continent as well,” he said.
Sign up for the AFKInsider newsletter — the most compelling business news you need to know from Africa and the African diaspora, delivered straight to your inbox.