Geeks on a Plane Africa kicks off as 500 Startups eyes tech for the continent and beyond

five hundred Startups’ frontier and rising markets travel collection ― Geeks on a Plane ― kicks off its first Africa tour this week. The twelve-working day excursion will make stops in Nigeria (Lagos), Ghana (Accra) and South Africa (Johannesburg and Cape City).

“We’ve accomplished about 10 investments in sub-Saharan Africa,” reported five hundred Startups’ founding associate Dave McClure ― this sort of as Nigerian HR platform TalentBase and South Africa’s SweepSouth ― originated as applicants by means of 500’s seed method. “We’re not asserting a new fund at the current time, but are setting up on performing much more financial investment in Africa. Regardless of whether that’s five, 10, or twenty startups a year, we’ll have to see.”

McClure, who kicked off the Geeks excursion Monday in Lagos, did not rule out a devoted Africa micro-fund, noting a final decision could be manufactured within just the upcoming twelve-24 months.

“Part of the workout is striving to determine out what geographies we’d be investing in… the lawful constructions, other buyers, and knowing, not just the companies, but what the in general ecosystem appears to be like like and how we’d suit in to that,” he reported.

The current Geeks Africa tour agenda seems tailor-made to all those aims. The trip’s associates and participants number quite a few, this sort of as regional host USAID, Microsoft and the MEST incubator. The Lagos part kicked off with a panel briefing on Nigeria’s startup ecosystem at IBM Labs led by TechCabal’s Bankole Oluwafemi. five hundred Startups joined Seedstars Lagos for a startup pitch battle with local ventures judged by McClure, Seedstars place supervisor Tunde Akinnuwa and Omidyar Networks financial investment head, Scott Wu.

The Ghana leg touches down for the Business Africa Summit on entrepreneurship and innovation in Accra. The Geeks South Africa section involves conferences with VC resources and Accelerators, this sort of as 10XE and Edge Advancement.

This first Geeks Africa trek follows an uptick in international financial investment and Silicon Valley consideration toward the continent over the last year-as well as. Pan-African e-commerce startup Jumia grew to become the continent’s first unicorn in 2016 when it surpassed $1 billion in marketplace worth in a $326 million Goldman-backed funding spherical.

Noteworthy tech names Netflix, eBay, Uber and IBM expanded on the continent last year. Y Combinator visited Lagos in 2016 and acknowledged a number of African startups into its method. And Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg put a highlight on the continent’s tech scene with his tour of hubs and startups in Nigeria and Kenya last September.

five hundred Startups’ McClure reported the seed fund will “look to target simple business enterprise models” in its future Africa investments, “with a major emphasis on consumer-targeted commerce…B2B productiveness resources, SaaS, fintech, schooling, healthcare, real-estate, and work and recruiting.”

All through and after the Geeks Africa excursion, McClure also mentioned five hundred Startups’ concentrate on ventures that can scale on and off the continent. “We’re certainly fascinated in local marketplace possibilities in spots measured at 50-one hundred million men and women or much more ― Nigeria, South Africa, East Africa in general. But we have also seen men and women likely after international markets from Africa. That is some thing we are on the lookout for. Clever men and women are all over the place,” he reported.

Showcased Picture: Allan Baxter/The Picture Bank/Getty Visuals







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