The launchpad for emerging technology and trends

22-26 September 2014, Lagos

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Avatar of Samuel Okocha

Forget funding; talent and ideas will grow Africa’s startup ecosystem – Mobile West Africa insights

By Samuel Okocha on May 16, 2014


Samuel Okocha reports from the Mobile West Africa 2014 conference in Lagos, Nigeria. “Until we get those valuable ideas that solve real problems because we understand the market… looking for money is like putting the cart before the horse.”

If you ask why small businesses can’t start, the answer always comes down to funding. In reality however, that’s often not the case, especially with start ups in Africa.

This was the position of Femi Longe, co-founder of Nigeria’ Co-creation HUB at the ongoing Mobile West Africa 2014 conference in Lagos. The event which kicked on Tuesday has brought together leading innovators and thinkers in mobile from Africa and [...]

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Avatar of Keet van Zyl

Successful exits from Africa’s high-growth SME companies – investors discuss options

By Keet van Zyl on May 15, 2014


This article originally appeared on VentureBurn, a VC4Africa publishing partner, and is published with permission.

Below Keet van Zyl of Knife Capital, member of the VC4Africa Investor Network, introduces the discussion on African SME exits. Today Knife Capital is hosting an “Exit Conference” in South Africa to focus on the process of reaching successful exits in/from Africa’s high-growth private companies. Join the discussion in the comments section below!

It is easier to invest in private companies than it is to unlock value from these investments. While the venture capital (VC) and private equity (PE) investment space is gaining more and more momentum in Africa, the process of exiting these investments remains a challenge. What many investors and entrepreneurs don’t realise is that positioning a business for [...]

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PIVOT EAST 2014 announces its semi-finalists – What does this selection tell us about Africa’s entrepreneurs?

By Russell Southwood on May 14, 2014

This article by Russel Southwood originally appeared at SmartMonkeyTV, a VC4Africa publishing partner, and is published with permission.

PIVOT East is becoming one of the key start-up competitions for Sub-Saharan Africa. Its selection of semi-finalists provide an opportunity to look at what entrepreneurs in the East African sub-region see as the African niche opportunities. Check out the full list of semifinalists at the bottom of this article. Congrats to selected VC4Africa members BeyonicChamaSoftChuraKadiASiM MobileSapama.com TotoHealth!

To reach the best startups in the region, PIVOT East partnered with the tech hubs across the region to take part in the 2014 edition of the competition. The hubs [...]

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Past DEMO Judge gives 5 key tips for a successful DEMO Africa application!

By Harry Hare on May 13, 2014


At the DEMO Africa Innovation Tour session in Zimbabwe, Ali Hussein – one of the DEMO Africa 2013 judges – extensively explained what the panel expects of a product to get a chance to launch on the DEMO Africa stage. Apply now!

1. Address a real need & change the marketplace

Ali affirmed that the ultimate qualification is the ability of the innovated product to impact or change the marketplace into which it is introduced or create a new market. With many ideas cropping up in every corner of the continent, he stressed the importance of the ideas meeting a real need hence practicability.

2. Clear business plan

A clear business plan and a management team capable of delivering the product to market is a must. This [...]

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Avatar of Hilda Moraa Morara

4 key lessons for Africa’s tech startup entrepreneurs

By Hilda Moraa Morara on May 12, 2014

Hilda Moraa, co-founder of Weza Tele Limited (the company behind the product MyOrder, launched at DEMO Africa 2012), shares 4 key lessons for entrepreneurs looking for startup advice. “We should write a book to remind ourselves and tell our kids of this crazy startup journey.” Share your own additions in the comments below - And don’t forget to apply for DEMO Africa 2014!

Every Friday, I try and make room for peers running startups, to meet, share lessons and experiences, key milestones and our Aha moments. For me these peer to peer meetups have been the best way to learn, mature and maintain my sanity when it comes to running a startup. Every time we have these peer meet ups, we always jokingly wrap up by saying we should write a [...]

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Towards a better model for SME PE investing in Africa – Learning from Jacana & other cases

By Andrea Bohnstedt on May 8, 2014


This article by Andrea Bohnstedt and Rachel Keeler originally appeared on Africa Assets and is published with permission.

As pan-African private equity company Jacana Partners has halted fundraising for a planned USD75m SME PE fund, Andrea Bohnstedt & Rachel Keeler of Africa Assets ask: What is needed to get the SME investment model in Africa right? Join the discussion in the comments section!

Nearly a year and a half after the launch in late 2012, Jacana have halted the fundraising for their planned USD75m SME PE fund. Bart Meijs from InReturn – who had announced a planned merger with Jacana in early 2013 – stated [...]

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Avatar of Miguel Heilbron

Pan-African tech hub network AfriLabs stimulates innovation collaboration at second congress

By Miguel Heilbron on May 8, 2014

New research shows there are over a hundred tech hubs across Africa! Over the past days AfriLabs, the pan-African innovation hub network, has convened for its second annual congress in Berlin, just prior to its participation in re:publica, Europe’s largest conference on the Internet and society. Also see our coverage of AfriLabs’ first congress last year.

At AfriLabs’ second annual congress the founding board of directors of AfriLabs, who served since 2010 and include both co-founders of VC4Africa, passed on their duties to a completely new board of directors, consisting of hub representatives from across Africa.

At the re:publica event, GIZ and BMZ, in collaboration with AfriLabs are hosting a global gathering of hubs to stimulate networking, knowledge exchange and collaboration. In addition today, Thursday, May 8, [...]

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Key drivers of the digital technology transition in Africa

By Nzube Ufodike on May 7, 2014

Below is the second article of a three part series in which Nzube Ufodike and Jack Diamond of Amoo Venture Capital Advisory examine and analyze Africa’s path towards digitalization and the economic changes and future opportunities likely to emerge as a result of this transition. Also see the first part.

As alluded to in the first part of this article series, it would be unwise to generalize the attributes of the African economy. The African continent is made up of 56 individual countries and each is unique in its own way, particularly in terms of economic development, GDP, iGDP and level of Internet penetration.

In some countries, digital growth will be driven almost exclusively, in the short term at least, by private consumption, whilst [...]

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100 tech hubs across Africa: where are the new innovation hotspots?

By Tim Kelly on May 2, 2014


AfriLabs, the pan-African network of tech & innovation hubs, presently convenes for their second annual congress in Berlin (also see an article on their first meeting last year), Meanwhile the number of hubs across Africa is increasing, and the quality is getting higher and higher.

Below Tim Kelly of the Worldbank discusses a map of tech hubs that was recently created in cooperation with iHub Research (Kenya) and BongoHive (Zambia), in a project carried out for the Botswana Innovation Hub. Check out the map, read the article, and join the discussion below!

This article originally appeared at the Worldbank blog and is published with permission. Click on the image to enlarge the map.

In [...]

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An investor’s comparison between West & East Africa’s tech startup ecosystems

By Meghan Semancik on April 30, 2014

This article by Meghan Semancik originally appeared at iAfrikan, a VC4Africa publishing partner, and is published with permission.

Meghan Semancik of Rio Partners (one of the investors in DEMO Africa alumni Soko and other ventures) is part of VC4Africa’s investor network. After moving from Nigeria to Kenya, she gives her comparison between West & East Africa’s tech startup ecosystems below.

I wrote this post 5 months after coming to Nairobi, Kenya, where I have been learning about the East African startup and investment landscape. It was interesting to compare the Tech Startup Ecosystem in Kenya to that of of Lagos, Nigeria where I had lived for nearly 14 months prior to arriving in Kenya.

Like chalk and cheese, the Tech Startup Ecosystems and Investment Landscapes of [...]

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