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Know exactly who wants to do business with you

Published on: 24-Aug-2016

Need to gain insight in the commercial or management track record of a potential partner, client or supplier? These are all important questions one would like to ask before starting a partnership. NABC’c new partner Asoko Insight can help you to answer them.

“Instant access to reliable and up-to-date company information is straightforward in most parts of the world, but in Africa is it not,” said Rob Withagen, the founder of Asoko Insight. Companies like Bloomberg and Reuters cover Africa’s largest and listed companies, but there is virtually no information on privately-held businesses, which make up the dominant portion of potential trade partners. Asoko specializes in data collection in exactly that segment, through teams on-the-ground, local partnerships and data-mining technology” said Withagen. The company started operations in Nigeria three years ago. “That wasn’t a difficult choice. Nigeria is competing with South Africa to be the largest economy in Africa, there lots of opportunities there,” said Withagen. After Nigeria, Asoko has expanded to Ghana, Kenya, Ivory Coast and Ethiopia and is preparing to move into others. “Our expansion strategy is guided by the indications we receive from our customers,” said Withagen.  

NABC is glad to partner up with Asoko Insight for the upcoming trade mission to Nigeria, starting February 20th, 2017. “Asoko’s network in Nigeria is huge. Out of the thousands of companies listed, they will select the ones most interested in meeting Dutch companies to explore business opportunities. Through this cooperation, this is likely to become a highly productive trade mission, said NABC’s marketing manager Daan Vreeburg, who is in charge of the trade mission to Nigeria. “All participants of the mission will receive a 6-month, unlimited access to Asoko’s database. Also the members who do not participate can benefit from our new agreement: all NABC members will receive a 20% discount on Asoko’s services,” added Vreeburg.  

Collecting information on African companies is not as difficult as it might seem, as long as the right incentives are provided’ explained Withagen. “Our value to African companies is the worldwide reach of our online platform. Increasingly, this is encouraging companies to submit and update their information to us rather than us chasing after it ourselves. After diligent internal verification and cross-referencing, we will then publish it on our database. We also collect verified information from third parties such as local corporate registries, credit reference bureaus and reputable local business media houses. ”  

Asoko Insight raised funding of 1.5 million US Dollars last year and already has a user base of over 350 companies, according to Withagen. “We currently operate out of five African offices with local analysts with extensive networks and a deep understanding on the local business environment,” said Withagen. Asked about possible further expansion of his company, the Asoko founder mentions East-Africa in particular. “Market forces are showing growth potential in East Africa, in particular countries like Uganda and Tanzania. On the west side our customers show a lot of interest in countries like Angola and Congo-Brazzaville.”

Asoko is offering free trials upon registration through this link:

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