Data Driven Culture Series: Part I – Introduction

“Data is the new oil” is now a common phrase in business coined back in 2006 by British mathematician Clive Humby. Data is a powerful resource, but like oil, it needs refining. Whether tech-enabled or not, more businesses are realising the power of data to make more informed decisions and improve their products/offerings.

For tech start-ups, having a data-driven approach is especially critical to unlocking growth, understanding your customer, and monetising ideas. Data plays a key role in supporting the testing and iteration approach that drives innovation. Those who harness their data correctly can uniquely position themselves in a market and quickly acquire customers even when there are very small teams driving these efforts.

Is data in a scarce resource in Africa?

Despite the widespread awareness that data is important, there is limited literature that provides practical guidance on how to build data-informed businesses. This is particularly the case in the African context where there is a huge scarcity of data. And  where data is readily available, quite often the quality is in question.

For instance, high level market data is often fragmented. Start-ups therefore find it difficult to estimate their market size, anticipate customer segments and subsequently develop granular market entry strategies. This can especially be frustrating for young startups who have few internal data points available for reference.



Adopting a data-driven approach

Consequently, there is a heavy reliance on disaggregated data points to form assumptions and as a result, the learning process for startups is often longer than expected. Internally, customers are often acquired on multiple channels, this includes offline channels – meaning that tech teams are often making decisions based on an incomplete dataset. It is, therefore, crucial for African startups to develop a foundation of robust data-driven processes with the aim of getting a comprehensive view of their customers. Cultivating a data-driven culture becomes paramount to success.

Our goal is to provide start-ups with the necessary tools to build data-driven processes within their teams. In this series, we will share some best-practices when dealing with data collection, storage, analysis and presentation, with African market dynamics in mind. We will also offer a framework to define data-driven goals and a tool-kit that can be used to assess the state of existing data related processes within a start-up. This way, African start-ups can have clear insights on how to move towards building world-class data driven teams.

This introduction is a living document that will continuously be updated as we publish new articles and resources under this series. So stay tuned…


The Baobab Network Accelerator Application Banner


By Wanjiku Kimani

Venture Partner at The Baobab Network


The Baobab Network Accelerator Applications Banner


Data Driven Culture Series: Part I – Introduction

“Data is the new oil” is now a common phrase in business coined back in 2006 by British mathematician Clive Humby. Data is a powerful resource, but like oil, it needs refining. Whether tech-enabled or not, more businesses are realising the power of data to make more informed decisions and improve their products/offerings.

For tech start-ups, having a data-driven approach is especially critical to unlocking growth, understanding your customer, and monetising ideas. Data plays a key role in supporting the testing and iteration approach that drives innovation. Those who harness their data correctly can uniquely position themselves in a market and quickly acquire customers even when there are very small teams driving these efforts.

Is data in a scarce resource in Africa?

Despite the widespread awareness that data is important, there is limited literature that provides practical guidance on how to build data-informed businesses. This is particularly the case in the African context where there is a huge scarcity of data. And  where data is readily available, quite often the quality is in question.

For instance, high level market data is often fragmented. Start-ups therefore find it difficult to estimate their market size, anticipate customer segments and subsequently develop granular market entry strategies. This can especially be frustrating for young startups who have few internal data points available for reference.



Adopting a data-driven approach

Consequently, there is a heavy reliance on disaggregated data points to form assumptions and as a result, the learning process for startups is often longer than expected. Internally, customers are often acquired on multiple channels, this includes offline channels – meaning that tech teams are often making decisions based on an incomplete dataset. It is, therefore, crucial for African startups to develop a foundation of robust data-driven processes with the aim of getting a comprehensive view of their customers. Cultivating a data-driven culture becomes paramount to success.

Our goal is to provide start-ups with the necessary tools to build data-driven processes within their teams. In this series, we will share some best-practices when dealing with data collection, storage, analysis and presentation, with African market dynamics in mind. We will also offer a framework to define data-driven goals and a tool-kit that can be used to assess the state of existing data related processes within a start-up. This way, African start-ups can have clear insights on how to move towards building world-class data driven teams.

This introduction is a living document that will continuously be updated as we publish new articles and resources under this series. So stay tuned…


The Baobab Network Accelerator Application Banner


By Wanjiku Kimani

Venture Partner at The Baobab Network


The Baobab Network Accelerator Applications Banner