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President Buhari Seeking to Establish Council on Startups

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Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari is seeking to establish a council on startups in Nigeria. And according to reports, the president has sent the bill to the national assembly.

According to the president, the bill is will seek the establishment of a council for digital innovation in Nigeria. President Buhari’s request is contained in a letter read by Senate President Ahmad Lawan on the floor of the legislative chamber on Tuesday, 2nd March.

Buhari disclosed that the bill will position Nigeria’s startup ecosystem as “the leading digital technology centre in Africa.”

The president’s letter to the national assembly reads: “Pursuant to section 58 (2) of the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria as amended, I hereby forward the Nigeria startup bill 2021 for the kind consideration of the senate. The Nigeria start-up bill aims to position the Nigeria start-up ecosystem as the leading digital technology centre in Africa. The bill seeks to establish a council for digital innovation. While hoping that this submission will receive the usual expeditious consideration of the senate, please accept, distinguished senate president, the assurances of my personal regards.”

The Nigerian startup space is one that is unarguably flourishing with innovative solutions that make everyday living easier. Nigerian Startup founders are being recognised globally and investors are readily signing heavy checks for startups to expand their reach and their products.

Only recently, a Nigerian Fintech platform, Flutterwave earned a valuation of $3 billion after raising $250m in a funding round. In January 2022, 9 startups from Nigeria raised over $30 million with the number rising to 13 startups raising over $300 million as of February ending. With this number, it becomes clear that there is a need for setting up a Startup Council. Also when you consider that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the  Nigerian Startup Bill last December 2021, it becomes more important to establish the council being sought out by the president.

However, given Nigeria’s history with execution especially as it concerns non-governmental parastatals, one can only hope that this is a move that will not only benefit the startups and startup founders but the country at large.

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Google To Fund 60 African Start-ups With $4 Million

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Google’s Head of Start-up Ecosystem, Africa, Mr Folarin Aiyegbusi has revealed that the company aims to fund 60 African Start-ups with a total of $4 Million. He made the statement during the opening of applications for Google for Start-up Black Founders Fund for Africa.

Following the success of the first cohort, the implementation is said to commence in the second cohort of Google for Start-up Black Founders Fund (BFF).

According to Folarin, Nigeria, Botswana, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe are all eligible for FF Africa.

While the 13 countries were given priority because of their active tech and start-up ecosystems, he noted that good submissions from other African countries will also be evaluated.

Furthermore, Folarin explained that start-ups that assist the Black community and are based in Africa, as well as those with a diverse founding team, including at least one Black founder, were all considered.

“The Black Founders Fund Africa demonstrates our commitment to supporting innovations in underserved areas.

“Black-led tech start-ups face an unfair venture capital funding environment; that is why we are committed to helping them thrive to be better and ensure the success of communities and economies in our region.

“The fund will provide cash awards and hands-on support to 60 Black-led start-ups in Africa, which we hope will aid in developing affordable solutions to fundamental challenges affecting those at the base of the socio-economic pyramid in Africa.

“We are hopeful that the support received by the Black founders will enable them to grow their businesses and, in turn, drive economic growth in Africa as they create solutions and give back to their communities,” he said.

Google for Start-ups Black Founders Fund was launched in the wake of the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement as part of Google’s racial equality commitment.

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Here are The 23 African Startups for YCombinator W22 Batch

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Silicon Valley accelerator programme, Y Combinator has named eight more African startups for its winter 2022 batch – bringing the total number of African Startups for this batch to a total of twenty-three.

The accelerator programme has become an integral aspect of growth for many startups globally. Y Combinator plays an important role in bootstrapping and accelerating many startups in early-stage funding as well as connecting them to various opportunities to scale.

Y Combinator played an important role for a number of startups like Coinbase, Dropbox, Airbnb, e.t.c. The Winter Batch 2022 Demo Day is set to kick off next week and a total of 23 African startups will be present for this season’s round of accelerator programmes.

Y Combinator had early announced a number of startups since January and adding to the list, the eight new startups to join already listed startups are crypto platform Payourse, data-free internet service provider Simplifyd, on-demand clean meat provider Sendme, payments startup Vendy, open-source cloud-native webhook service Convoy, insurtech startup Curacel, and payment API provider Plumter and Sudanese fintech platform Bloom. The first-seven mentioned startups are all originating from Nigeria.

According to the accelerator programme, participants will receive seed funding to accelerate or bootstrap their companies as well as further investment opportunities at the demo day.

Investors King also gathered that the preceding season of the programme, the S21 edition, had only 15 African participants – a record that was higher than previous slots given to African startups. However, with the additional eight, this is another record to score the most slots for African startups.

Here are the 23 African Startups for The W22 Batch

Of the entire 23 startups, 18 are from Nigeria while the remaining five are from Ghana, Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan.

Nigeria: Dojah, Moni, Topship, Identitypass, Touch and Pay, EaziPay, Remedial Health, Hay Food, Plumter, Grey Finance, Lenco, Vendy, Sendme, Simplifyd, Payourse, Curacel, Convoy, and Duplo.

Ghana: Tendo

Uganda: Numida

Ethiopia: beU Delivery

Kenya: Boya

Sudan: Bloom

Investor King also gathered that the accelerator programme has also increased its deal size to US$500,000 from the previous US$125,000 for seven per cent equity it usually invested in the past. However, under its new deal, the Silicon Valley accelerator programme will also invest an additional US$375,000 on an uncapped SAFE with “Most Favoured Nation” (MFN) terms.

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Five Nigerian Startups Secures €120,000 From Orange Corners Innovation Fund

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Five Nigerian Startups will benefit from a fund provided by Netherlands Enterprise Agency following their breakthrough at the Orange Corners Innovation Pitch Competition.

The startups will go back to their businesses with €120,000 cumulative capital comprising a 75% grant and 25% loan.

The startup founders emerging winners from this competition include Oyewale Akintonde (founder of Agristi), Anita Dafeta (founder of Origho Lagos) and Israel Alabi, who founded Farmspeak Technology), Victoria Udoh (founder of Vudoh) and Tunder Adeyemi (Founder of D’Olivette Global Enterprise).

The pitch competition is an initiative of the Netherlands that was launched in Nigeria in 2019 and executed by FATE Foundation. The Orange Corners Incubation Programme claims to supports 20 entrepreneurs with enterprise development knowledge, mentoring, access to market, networking and funding every six months.

Investors King gathered that the programme has cumulatively supported over 100 entrepreneurs with funding valued over ₦250,000,000 for prototype development and testing.

The competition which was held in December saw participants assessed by an expert jury consisting of Investment Manager, Orange Corners Innovation Fund, Tolulope Owolabi; Head Commercial Controlling and Financial Planning, FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc, Omitogun Olalekan and Business Development Manager, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ekundayo Adedoyin.

The event was also attended by Oge Nnaife who heads the StartUp and Youth Enterprise FATE Foundation.

Congratulating the emerged winners, Nnaife said: “You are pitching today to access funding to scale up your business, but you must remember that the knowledge received during the six-month Orange Corners Nigeria Incubation programme is invaluable. You must, therefore, ensure that you practicalise your learning as you journey on this road called entrepreneurship. Though the Nigerian business environment is harsh, porous and unfriendly, it is still evolving and we will continue to contribute to ongoing policy conversations to create an enabling environment so that your businesses can thrive and not be stifled. We have designed the Orange Corners Incubation Curriculum in such a practical and experiential way.”

Nigeria continues to be one of the top hubs for technology products targeted at solving everyday issues in Africa. The country alone is responsible for a large position of investment funds in the continent year-in-year-out. Founders are emerging all over the country with brilliant ideas that are tested to solve many issues in the country.

However, one thing that many of these founders lack is funding and investments opportunities and most importantly, little or no involvement by the Nigerian government to show interest or support to scale their ideas. Thankfully, a number of incubator and accelerator programmes have sprung up both locally and internationally to aid these founders not only bootstrap their products but also scale in the startup ecosystem.

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