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Startup Deja vu – Are old mistakes being repeated?

Find-a-med is/was a location-based app that allowed users to find the closest health and medical centres to them, and provide turn-by-turn directions to that centre. It also stores and tracks the basic health information of a user, and allows people to write reviews of centres they have visited. Users may choose to add health centres to the Find-A-Med database, which has listed more than 5 000 medical facilities. Here’s a feature from 2014 done by Techcabal that indicated Find-A-Med as being in beta testing at the time.

The app aimed to make all healthcare facilities across Nigeria accessible and searchable from a mobile. Available on ios and android, they won the best app at the Mobile Web West Africa event in Lagos in 2014. It’s founder cited as motivation, the difficulty he found finding a hospital near him when a friend of his fell sick suddenly.

The product got a lot of love from the tech press at the time and was dubbed as a game changer in many instances. It was featured on ‘Techmoran’, ‘TechTrends’, Technology Times and ‘Connect Nigeria’, to mention a few online publications.

Nigeria’s JumpSpace Communications Launches Find-A-Med to Help You Find the Nearest Medical Team

Fast forward to today, the URL for Find-a-med now points to a site in Japanese. The app is still available on the android app store, however, it has installs of 1,000 – 5,000 and hasn’t been updated since 2014.

I’ve tried to reach the owner of find-a-med several times without success in order to gain his insight into what happened and why his product stalled. An interview he did, however, for an online blog in November of 2016 gives a glimpse into some of his insights:

‘What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs in relation to the phrase, ‘if you build it they will come’?’

Response: ‘It’s a Big Lie in business “If you build it, they will come”

I had just finished my master’s degree and moved back to Nigeria and I thought that I would just build a product that solves problems, scale the product and be rich.

On launch day you spend your whole day telling friends and family to download your app use your website etc. and just on your first day, you get 500 new accounts. Based off of the hopes that all of your friends will tell all of their friends you assume that by day 2 you will get a few thousand new accounts and with that rate of growth in 6 months or maybe a year Google will be calling you to buy your company.

In reality by day two you get 50 new accounts and by day three you drop down to five new accounts.

Even worse than the sudden drop in new accounts is the fact that your family and friends stop using your app/site.

The question going through your head right now is if my product is the best on the market why isn’t anyone using it’

Find-a-med’s founder has since moved on to build a code school to improve digital literacy in school students through coding.

Enter the fray ’findamedng’ a new startup that launched operations in December of 2017 promising to help you ‘uncover the best medical facility near you’. After reading about them here on techpoint, I had to dig further to check if there was any relationship to the 2014 ‘find-a-med’. I wasn’t able to find any connection suggesting that this is an entirely different operation. It has a different branding and founders and seems entirely web focused currently with no evidence of an app in any mobile app stores. Beyond some social media presence and the techpoint feature, there doesn’t appear to be much else available online about it.

Will this new version with an old name fare any better than its comatose counterpart? Will there be an alternate ending? Time will tell. What is evident however is that PR love via tech blog articles or founder interviews will not be enough to guarantee success. Similarly, startup awards while seemingly justifying, have almost zero bearing on eventual success. These are all vanity elements that often fool and misdirect startups and their founders. For success to be gained real hard work must be done to build out the product and encourage its adoption over the long term.

 

4 thoughts on “Startup Deja vu – Are old mistakes being repeated?”

  1. Hello DigitalHealth, Thanks for the feature. We are not affiliated to the initial startup.Find-a-med. We don’t intend going to sleep on the project either. Our Motivation does not stem from the hope of being purchased one day by a big company but rather to help Nigerians get access to reputable medical facilities when needed. Thanks again.

    1. One cannot ignore the similarities.. This has the markings of déjà vu all over it. I wish you success though and the luck in the world.

      You’re going to need it 🙂

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