Today I present another written interview with Ludovic Biyong who is the founder of Camernews.
Check out the interview:
1. What got you interested in starting a news and classified ads based site? Share your story.
I’m Ludovic Biyong 29 years old a young entrepreneur and the CEO of Camernews. I was born and raised in Paris where I graduated with a software engineering diploma. I discover Africa in 1997 by living in Cameroon. I fell in love with the culture, the lifestyle, since then I kept a strong bound with the continent. After working in real estate services in London as general I returned to Paris and started my own business in 2012. I have also founded PA2M, a small IT consulting firm in Cameroon. It’s well known that Cameroonians are more and more connected and really interested in news and invested in politics.
I always loved how powerful the web has become. All the social networks platforms have completely redefined the computing and technology industry. However, I noticed that few websites were gathering good quality news, ads and job offers. I wanted to become not only a news and information reference for Cameroonians but also a useful tool for their daily life.
I also love the incredible pace of change in the Internet space. Like all young people, I enjoy waking up every day to see all of the exciting new ways the internet can be leveraged and my favorite thing is passing that knowledge on to my visitors in meaningful and valuable ways. This is where I decided to create “Camernews”, an “all in one” website people would use as reference in their daily life. First I started with news and classified ads, and seeing how people responded and the interest it created, I then added job offers, and I’m working on more expansions. Because I believe as African grown in Europe that I must get involved and be part of the change that I wish to see in my country through initiatives like Camernews.
2. How have you gone about promoting your website? What forms of advertising have worked best for you?
Although some people perceive entrepreneurship as risky, I tried to create a scenario to lower the risks. I did things in a non-capital-intensive way. I avoided outside investors so I could keep control. I did a lot of things to save money in the beginning; for example, I didn’t spend any money on advertising early on because I had more time than money so I spent a lot of time doing online social marketing and search optimization.
A lot of my decisions were driven by my lack of financial resources. Actually, I’d say all these decisions were made because we had no money, but we had a lot of desire. This helped me with search engine rankings and driving traffic to the website. I directed a lot of our effort towards blogs and forums, and I still do. We also run giveaways on our Facebook page and Google+ page. Word-of-mouth is big, but not everything; influential bloggers are also really important.
3. News & Classified ads based sites are very popular now a days, how do you stand out from others in your niche?
I really like the advertising-based revenue model and as I looked at all of the others local websites such paleba.org, jewanda-magazine.com, camer24.de I organized a plan to invest tens of thousands of hours of attention to find out how big the project could become. I’m still working on figuring out where the ceiling is on this project. Internet users don’t like to be pitched stories but love to talk to experts about current trends, good stuff or information. I have to make sure that what you are offering has real value and it’s not just information about something that nobody cares about. Then obviously, I would say that we stand out from others as we want to speak to the widest target as possible in Cameroon. Our targets are wide, when lots of websites are targeting a specific target.
4. What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced while growing the site to what it is today?
Personally, I’m inspired by great athletes who rise to the top of their game. Too many to list here, but I track top athletes in business and in sports to better understand how to create even higher performance in my life. I really think entrepreneurs are born and not made. Focus is one of my biggest challenges and I have often found myself alone. I find it to be extremely helpful to ask those around you to help you find your focus as they can frequently see what you cannot. There are key people in my life that continuously push the envelope for what I know human beings to be capable of and they do it all while keeping their personal and professional life in balance. Without naming names, I look to those people when I need the extra motivation to keep going.
5. What are your future plans for 2014 and beyond?
I hope beyond 2014 that Camernews will be the obvious choice for the cameroonians people when they look for information or when they look for something to buy or to sell. A lifetime goal of mine is to have an online platform (Crowdfunding) where young, smart cameroonians people can seek investors in order to create and innovate the future of our country.