On the 6th of April 2014, something happened that changed the African growth story.
After a statistical revision known as rebasing, Nigeria’s annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was increased to $509 billion for 2013, 89 per cent larger than previously stated for the year, and much larger than South Africa’s $370 billion.
How did this happen? Nigeria updated the way it calculated the size of its economy to include new sectors like telecoms, entertainment and information technology. So, overnight, everything and nothing changed.
Data has always been a crucial part of decision making for years. Governments cannot make decisions about where to put schools and hospitals without population estimates, and investors cannot decide where to put their money without knowing which markets are growing.
However, in Nigeria, between 1990 and 2014, nothing was done to change the way the nation estimated the size of its economy. That means that for 24 years, decisions about Nigerian development and growth were made with inaccurate data.
Data, and especially data of high quality, is crucial for African countries to grow. Without data, it is difficult to plan. It is difficult to usher African economies into the globalised and interconnected world we now find ourselves in.
That is why when we met the Stears team, we knew we had founder-market fit. The team of Preston Ideh, Foluso Ogunlana, Abdul Abdulrahim, and Michael Famoroti embodied the kind of stubbornness that you find when a great team finds a great market.
“Wedded to the problem and flexible on the solutions,” is the way that Ideh, co-founder and CEO, captures the company’s entrepreneurial mission.
Stears was founded in the library of the London School of Economics, a fitting home for an information company determined to make it easy for anyone, anywhere in the world to access high-quality information on Africa.
Today, the company is developing a suite of research, information, and data products targeted at consumers, governments and businesses. In July of this year, the company made the bold decision to launch its first digital subscription product, a launch which openly showed the amount of support a company can generate when an audience loves a product.
What Stears has built through Stears Business, its publication arm, has set a new gold standard for quality of content produced by and for Nigerians.
However, the team is still on track to launch its flagship research products—a data platform which aggregates some of the rarest datasets from ministries, departments and agencies. This is why it is so fondly referred to as the Bloomberg of Africa.
Between 2019 and 2020, the seed-stage company is on track to more than quadruple its annual revenues, after combining its consumer product (subscription-driven media publication) with advisory and consulting services targeted at businesses.
The team is composed of a diverse group of economists, data scientists, engineers, and journalists. Today, over half of its workforce is made of engineers and data scientists, who contribute to building a new breed of information businesses in the country.
With a passionate and driven co-founding team, we believe that the Stears team is on track to make a serious impact on the way African companies collect, store, analyse, and disseminate information.
Stears is on a mission to make sure all our decisions begin with data. That is why we are so excited to bring them into the Future Africa community.
We look forward to an exhilarating future, and an opportunity to make sure that the future of Africa is powered by data.