Muoyo Okome is Founder and CEO of Mega Rock L.L.C., a company that develops games and entertainment applications for mobile devices.
Mega Rock Studios has developed several games to include Find the Words, Bike Race of Ninja Temple and its second part, A Harlem Shake Subway Run. With over 2.2 million subscribers, Mega Rock games are available on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.
Mobile game developer and techpreneur, Muoyo Okome earned a computer science degree from Princeton University and an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania. Founder of the AWP Network, Mary Olushoga, first met Okome in 2004 while serving as members of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). Several years later, we are happy to reconnect with him to learn about what inspired him to start his business and to gain more insight into his company.
How did you come up with the name of your business?
I brainstormed a list of potential names off a few friends and family members. I also considered my demographic and ultimately just chose so that I could get down to business. The name of the business was not going to drive my results.
What inspired you to start your business?
I have always wanted to work for myself and I have explored a number of ventures. I became attracted to the mobile industry because it is a growing market with increasing impact worldwide. I also observed a number of small teams and companies having tremendous impact in the mobile applications space. I knew this is where I could succeed and have loads of fun as well.
Who is your target market?
Anyone who plays casual games on mobile phones. Right now, I am focused on Apple iOS, the most lucrative segment of the market.
How have you financed your business?
Bootstrapping – I have used my own funds. This business started as a side job before growing into something self-sustaining.
What is your competitive edge?
My ability to glean insights from market research and produce competitive products at a low-cost.
What is the long-term plan for your business?
My goal is to grow the business into a seven (7) and eight (8) figure entity. I also plan to expand into new categories and onto new platforms.
What business challenges do you face?
Frequent adaptation: the market is extremely dynamic. What works today will not necessarily work tomorrow so we are forced to constantly adapt or risk losing whatever success we have gained.
What five (5) things do start-up entrepreneurs need to know?
1) Be Positive – Everything starts with an extremely positive mindset. You cannot succeed if you are not positive. This does not mean that you ignore the facts, but you need to develop a strong belief in yourself to succeed.
2) Maintain a positive cash flow – Embrace the minimum viable product and don’t blow all your cash on something that has not been tested and proven. You can play from a stronger position if you have traction, and even better, revenues.
3) Work Smart – Be as knowledgeable as you can in your field. Much of this learning will happen “on the job.”
4) Be willing to FAIL – Be biased towards action and be unafraid of failure. However, don’t be reckless. Allow yourself to fail in such a way that it doesn’t take you out of business.
5) Market Research – Let market research guide some of your decisions. Forget about what you and your friends like. Forget about personal perceptions and biases. Let market data lead you to the promise land.
How do you think African youths can continue to support each other?
Collaboration: Forming groups of entrepreneurs to exchange information including recommended practices, successes, and failures.
How many jobs have you created so far?
At any given time, I work with about ten (10) or more technology and design professionals around the world, primarily on a per contract basis. At this stage, it has proven an effective way to scale the business while taking on less risks.
How can we support and improve innovation in Africa?
I think you’d agree that there are quite a number of innovative projects going on across various hubs in Africa. We can help to support and empower these initiatives by exchanging ideas and partnering where mutually beneficial.
Also, it is important to remember that innovation is a risky business. Don’t quickly fall in love with an idea. When entrepreneurs do this, they are more likely to ignore telling information from market research. Also, it is cheaper to emulate a successful implementation and take it to the next level. Once you have proven sustainable success, it is then easier to take on bigger risks.