Lately, I’ve gotten into being on social media, and I quite enjoy Twitter nowadays. So while I was on there I discovered Mukhtar Oyewo, who happens to be the Co-Founder of RubiQube. I immediately wanted to chat to him to find out more about the company and the impact it’s making in Nigeria, and in other African countries.

The unique thing about RubiQube is that they found a way to combine the experiences of a payment solution and an advertising network, so they ensure that users make payments by watching a short advert all the way to the end. Where other ad networks pop up in the user's faces, they have put the choice in the hands of the user to opt in to view the advertisement, in the process democratizing how advertising is consumed. Kind of cool I say!

Mukhtar and his partner are creating a win-win scenario - advertisers are guaranteed access to highly engaged users with better conversions, and premium content platforms able to monetize and retain their non-paying users. The target users get a great user experience that comes with free access to premium content.

To give you a little history on RubiQube, it was first launched as a location-based mobile app aggregator back in 2012, with the intention of collecting innovative mobile applications in Africa and offering locally relevant apps to users based on their location. This was in response to the complaint that many African apps get lost in the App stores which kept potential users from finding them.

They, unfortunately, faced the same fate they were trying to save other African apps from, the RubiQube mobile app itself got lost in the noise that characterizes the Google Play and Apple App stores. In late 2015, they then decided to pivot from a mobile application to the current incentivized advertising service.

I asked Mukhtar why he felt RubiQube was something necessary in a market as volatile and varied as Nigeria.

“There were several indicators in the market," he said. "First, the cost of data in Nigeria is getting cheaper by the day, with the various internet providers engaging in a pricing war and now with the same amount of money you can buy 15 times more data in 2016 than you could in 2011."

"As a result," Mukhtar added, "the rate of consumption of entertainment content - movies, music, and games - online is soaring with 6 in every ten people online consuming video content. Given the increased use of content, Nigerians still lack the culture of paying for entertainment content, and find every means to ensure they get free content."

We decided to use this data to create a solution that would leverage on users’ willingness to consume content and the falling cost of data by directly paying for the premium content on behalf of the users in exchange for them watching a short advert. Mukhtar Oyewo, RubiQube CEO

RubiQube is currently operating in Nigeria, with plans to set up shop in other African countries. They did a demo of their product at the recently concluded Demo Africa 2016 in Johannesburg, with plans to expanding to other parts of Africa in the coming years.

RubiQube's ultimate goal is to become a platform that streamlines the media planning and buying process across digital channels as well as traditional television and billboards through a programmatic real-time bidding technology, enabling major brands, advertising agencies, trading desks, and publishers measure reach, frequency and scale advertising to global audiences across multiple screens and channels.

Mukhtar taught me a lot of facts, and I was impressed by the business model he and his partner were able to come up with. So I asked him what sort of knowledge one would need to set out in the ad space the way they have.

“In my opinion," he said, "it is less about the degree obtained and more to do with passion. I have a degree in Architecture which doesn’t have much to do with what I am currently doing. I believe a degree only prepares you to become a problem solver, what problem you then decide to solve wholly depends on your passion.”

Furthermore, besides being the CEO & Co-Founder at RubiQube, Mukhtar also recently founded a small startup called bespoke.ng, which connects Nigerians with bespoke tailors and shoemakers online. He also mentors other startups at the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Program.

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