Old-time tech companies in Nigeria are not exactly a conversation, especially because many innovators were focused on oil and consumables. Even at that, some of those companies are now extinct. However, when we look at 20-30 years ago, we see a lineup of solution providers who have withstood Lion’s teeth and may not even be bleeding.
In conversations about tech companies, we are mostly looking at after the early 2000s, after the start of Web 2.0, and social media pioneer-ism. But, look again and you’ll see the following companies:SystemSpecs (1992)Inlaks (1982)CWG (1992)Omatek (1993)Sidmach (1993)Chams (1985)TD Africa (1999)
Here is a brief about the tech oldies that will excite you:
Indeed in 1992, most of the computer projects in Nigeria were in the banking and oil industry; other sectors of the economy were still essentially manual. But we saw that as an opportunity.John Obaro, Founder and CEO of SystemSpecs, in an interview with Techpoint
Typically the story of founders up until now – is an innovation from opportunities.
Founded in 1992 by the Kogi-born technology aficionado and former banker John Obaro, SystemSpecs has created innovative solutions and services that set it apart from the pack.
Known for its fintech application, Remita, SystemSpecs is deeply rooted in the human capital management solutions space with its indigenous history brimming with the company’s footprints.
SystemSpecs started as a 5-man partner agent and a value-added reseller for SunSystems, an accounting package developed by Systems Union, UK, (now Infor).
The company developed HumanManager, a payroll Human Resource Management and goal management software package. This was developed with object-oriented COBOL.
HumanManager was described by the Nigerian media as “Nigeria’s most successful software yet” when SystemSpecs launched HumanManager 4.0 in December 2002.
Operating for about 36 years, Inlaks has grown to achieve a top position in the ICT sector, with offices in Ghana Nigeria and Kenya.
Established in 1982, Inlaks is an Information Technology Systems Integrator specialising in the deployment of dynamic and highly scalable ICT Infrastructure Solutions.
Inlaks has an impressive customer base of six central banks in West Africa and over 18 commercial and microfinance banks and other major customers in the region.
An integral part of Inlaks’ business is its resale of banking and enterprise software packages.
CWG Plc (Computer Warehouse Group)
Computer Warehouse Group was founded by Austin Okere in 1992. Other co-founders include Phillip Obioha, James Agada and Abiodun Fawunmi.
The company has grown from just a computer hardware supply company to a Pan-African multinational systems integration corporation with direct operations in Nigeria, Ghana and Uganda. CWG serves customers in 20 African countries.
CWG is a Pan-African systems solutions company which specialises in a wide array of IT services, including communications, and integration services, infrastructure services, managed and support services, cloud services, and software.
The thing about the market is that you can distort it for a while, but you cannot hold it back for long. The market is like water; it will always find its level. The earlier we let this happen, the better for our economy.Austin Okere, founder of CWG Plc, in “Nigeria has the potential to lead a continent – if it avoids the mistakes of its past“
CWG commenced operations in Nigeria on September 26, 1992, as Computer Warehouse Limited principally catering to Computer hardware projects. A few years later, DCC Networks was established as the Communication arm; to provide VSAT, Metropolitan, Wide Area and Local Area Networks to Corporate Organisations.
To concentrate on the demands emerging in the area of Software systems, training and solutions, Expert Edge Software was acquired in 1999.
CWG Plc supports over 80% of the businesses in the financial industry and over 50% of the telecom industry in Nigeria. The company also offers affordable cloud services for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to improve business processes, reduce operational costs and maximize profitCWG’s trajectory since launch (PHOTO: CWG)
CWG expanded operations to Ghana in 2003 and started expanding to other African regions in 2008. In February 2008, CWG attracted investment from a Private Equity firm, Abraaj Group. On November 15, 2013, CWG was listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and became a Plc.
Omatek Ventures PLC operates through two segments: Omatek Computers Limited and Omatek Ventures Distribution Limited.
Omatek Computers Limited’s principal activities include the assembly and manufacture of various types of computers and home entertainment products, uninterruptible power supply (UPS), inverters and solar systems.
Omatek Ventures Distribution Limited is a computer company, which was formed to take over the distribution and sales of all products of the Company, including various types of computers and home entertainment products, UPS, inverters and solar systems. Its products include accessories, notebooks, tablets, power products, desktops, plasma televisions and speakers.
Late Florence Seriki was the founder and CEO of Omatek Ventures Plc, the first Nigerian ICT company in Africa to assemble and manufacture computers and computer parts like computer cases, speakers, keyboards, mouse.
In 1993, during the CTO exhibition (organised by the commercial section of the American Embassy in Nigeria), Seriki launched the Omatek brand of Computers which was the first attempt of its kind in Nigeria.
Are there Nigerian tech oldies that we have left out of the picture? Mention them in the comment section.
Founded in 1993 by five ICT experts, Adedayo P.S Arogundade, Hassan U. Alao, Chijioke A. Eke, Michael A. Olajide, and Samuel E. Udofia (Late), Sidmach Technologies Nigeria Limited, a Microsoft Gold Partner has consistently led innovations in Africa for a quarter of a century.
Sidmach develops and supports a range of innovative software solutions that improve the quality of work and life across the public and private sectors.
For 29 years running, Sidmach has delivered scalable, proven, secure, and easy-to-use technologies with the ultimate goal of enhancing productive work and profitable businesses.
One of the company’s milestones was in 2011 when it designed an e-registration system for the Joint Admissions Matriculation Board (JAMB) for efficient record keeping and elimination of the trauma associated with manual registration, as well as prevalent exam malpractices resulting from poor monitoring.
That meant that candidates were able to register for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) online.
Chams Holding Co. Plc was founded by Ademola Benjamin Aladekomo on September 10, 1985, and is headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria.
The company engages in the provision of technology and business intelligence solutions. It operates through the following segments:Identity Management & Solutions; Payments, Collections & Transactional Systems; and ICT Training.
The Identity Management & Solutions segment includes pro-metrics and biometric identification with applications in the financial, healthcare, corporate, and other public fields. The Payments, Collections & Transactional Systems segment involves building, developing, and maintaining the ICT infrastructures.
Chams championed identity management and other major initiatives in Nigeria, including BVN and INEC projects over the years. Chams Plc has migrated into delivering Fintech and other innovative digital solutions.
The Chams Group has four subsidiaries: ChamsSwitch, ChamsMobile, Card Centre and Chams Access, of which both the former are Fintech subsidiaries.
ChamsSwitch focuses primarily on remittances, card payment processing and financial services, whilst ChamsMobile provides mobile money accounts supported with a country-wide financial services agent infrastructure.
Chams Access manages a range of equipment supply and innovative digital solutions, whilst Card Centre personalises cards and other products, primarily for banks.
Chams PLC is the first home-grown company to be listed in the Guinness Book of Records for setting up the mega ChamsCity Digital Mall and also the first computer technology company listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange under ICT.
TD Africa launched in May 1999 as an ICT distributor in West Africa and currently represents HP, Microsoft, APC, IBM, Huawei, Dell EMC, Cisco, D-Link, Kaspersky, Huawei, Lenovo, Philips, InFocus, Infinix, Tecno, Nokia, Bosch, Vertiv, Samsung, Zebra, and Mercury.
As the first manufacturer-accredited local distributor for the sub-region, TD, with the support of the OEMs, was a game changer in the market – say, a distribution solution provider.
Having been around for more than 20 years, TD has positioned itself as a recognised market leader in West Africa with a network of over 1,500 resellers and over 400 employees.
TD has grown its operations presence in eight countries and three continents. The company has also expanded its brand portfolio to include a wide range of global ICT giants in line with the mission to strengthen the growth of ICT in Africa.
Which other old tech companies did we miss, want to use the comment section to list them?