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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Ghanaian Entrepreneur Robert Lamptey - My Father Taught Me To Be The Best In Everything

Ghanaian entrepreneur Robert Lamptey is the creator of chat application Saya Mobile, an app that has gained millions of users in over 30 countries in just 3 years. Founded in 2011, Saya is a replacement for text messaging much like WhatsApp, but built for feature phones, and has gained users globally including countries such as India, Syria, Indonesia and Bangladesh. 

Last month Saya was acquired by US-headquartered Kirusa, a leader in voice messaging and social media mobile apps in emerging markets. But this young entrepreneur's journey building Saya wasn't always rosy. Although Saya acquired millions of users across the globe it faced difficulties monetising the platform. Lamptey reveals that there is the “ugly side of being an entrepreneur”, describing the realities of running a start-up such as having to pay staff out of his own pocket because of “money issues”.

He also described being CEO as “the most difficult job in the world”. “As the CEO you are the captain of the ship and you are the last person to jump out when the ship sinks. Even when you see a storm coming, you just tell your team all is well.” Lamptey who co-founded Saya straight out of Accra-based Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), attributes the success of the company to his upbringing in a household where striving to be the best was encouraged.

“I was one of the few kids in the neighbourhood who had a chemistry lab and who dismantled TVs. I was a science student. I used to win all the literature awards in school. My father always taught me to be the best in everything I did. Even if I wanted to be a footballer, there was one rule: be the best.”

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