Our Westlands space got a mini make-over as we hosted the teams from the #1776Challenge. The competing teams were startups from all over Africa, here for the second round of mentoring sessions for the 1776 World Challenge.

You could hardly tell if there were nerves, or even competition, as different people bonded over the most important part of the set up – food! Amanda’s Kitchen pulled out all the stops, with delicious fruit salads, delectable pastries, and the champion’s fuel, coffee.


Later in the day, these teams would pitch in front of a team of investors and an audience, for a once in a lifetime chance to win not only funding and connections, but also some major #braggingrights.

There was an aliveness to the place;a feeling that change is in the air, and these are the people that would make it happen.

For the first talk, 1776 co-founder Evan Burfield gave us the rundown on regulatory hacks for startups.


Because we care about you, here’s a brief run down. You’re welcome!

You’ve heard the term ‘hack’ being used regularly outside the context of code, and it can be pretty confusing. What does it mean to ‘hack’ something?  What on earth is a growth or regulatory hack?

Well, Evan defined ‘hacking’ as simply using creativity, expert knowledge and experimentation to get results faster than a ‘non-hacker’ can.

Evan has been making his case for why regulatory hacking is an important new kind of hack for startups working in industries that are highly regulated by government for a while now. We’re incredibly lucky to have him speak to the participants of the 1776 Challenge Cup in person.

If you missed it, here’s a brief summary of what he called The Regulatory Hack Toolkit:

//Create a Power Map

You need to know who calls the shots. This info will help you identify who can be your ally, and who is likely to resist you.

//Grasstop Activation

This is the part where you educate the big shots, the guys in charge.

//Influencer Activation

Create a loyal customer baser. Your clients can be your advocates with the authoritoes either by sheer numbers, or by being powerful people themselves.

//Advisory Network

Find people who know the people that you need to know. It’s important to have on your side somebody who knows the processes involved so that the can help you plan ahead.

//Grassroots Activation

If your product or service is for the people, don’t let regulations stop you. Find low cost methods of letting people know how your product or service works and will benefit them. This way, you can drive change from the bottom up.

//Coalition Building

A smart move to make is to partner with relevant organizations when you fell that approaching the authorities directly

//Public Relations

This can be an incredibly effective tool to get your startup to front of mind of consumers.

In summary, we learned something that most seasoned entrepreneurs know: business has to work with, or around government. With these tips,  you can make smart moves for your enterprise, and make change happen.

If you’re interested, you can read more on regulatory hacks on Evan’s article here.

So what do you think?

Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, or in the comment section- we love hearing from you!