The launchpad for emerging technology and trends

22-26 September 2014, Lagos

Tickets are available now.

Bitcoin: a financial revolution driver in Africa & the developing world?

By Nikunj Handa on August 22, 2014

Nikunj Handa, one of the entrepreneurs behind DEMO Africa 2014 selected company Kitiwa, explains why and how Bitcoins may be a vehicle for a financial revolution in Africa and other parts of the ‘developing world’.

Cheap and easy access to global payment networks and international money transfers is a first world luxury.

For many in developing nations, making online payments on websites like Amazon or eBay can be extremely difficult or even impossible. Merchants in developing countries also find it incredibly difficult to accept payments using globally renowned payment services like Visa and MasterCard. Comparatively, merchants and consumers in countries like the United States enjoy a full suite of convenient services from e-payment companies like Paypal.

As a result, merchants in major African economies like Nigeria (GDP: 262 bn) find [...]

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Growing list of women tech entrepreneur initiatives in Africa

By Hilda Moraa Morara on August 20, 2014

This article by Hilda Moraa originally appeared at AfriHive and is published with permission.

Hilda Moraa presents 36 African women tech entrepreneurs initiatives, linked to tech hubs and other organisations across Africa. More to add? Please add initiatives and ideas in the comments below!

I think it’s time discussions and debates on whether there are few women in tech, their low participation in the tech hubs, or whether we should be developing more female based tech hubs across Africa, should take a different direction.

The true direction and goal should be for the existing hubs to start thinking through what is their priority and guiding principles in involving female tech entrepreneurs in their spaces. More importantly, figure out the gaps and needs of those young women to then ensure they [...]

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Why the next Steve Jobs will come from Africa

By Daniel Epstein on August 18, 2014

This article by Daniel Epstein originally appeared at Unreasonable and is published with permission.

“Africa is at a techno-cultural turning point that will prove to be as pivotal there as the Industrial Revolution was for Europe” writes Daniel Epstein, co-founder of VC4Africa partner Unreasonable Institute. Who do you see as “Africa’s next Steve Jobs”? Please add it in the comments below! 

I was fortunate enough to spend part of July in Uganda with the team behind Unreasonable East Africa. In addition to being both humbling and inspiring, my experiences there convinced me that Uganda is just a part of an incredible transformation sweeping the whole of Africa. On my flight back home, I wrote “Africa is THE future” in my journal and underlined it a half-dozen times.

Here’s why:

Seven [...]

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New tech incubator ‘think’ invites tech startups from across Africa and the world to Rwanda

By Miguel Heilbron on August 13, 2014

VC4Africa works with entrepreneurship development partners all across Africa. Meet Julienne Oyler of new VC4Africa partners African Entrepreneur Collective and think, Rwanda’s first tech incubator.

What is think and what is the current call for applications?

“In March 2014, Millicom launched a new technology incubator in Kigali. The incubator called “think” is looking for innovative startups and early-stage technology companies from all over the world with products or services that have the potential to scale across Africa. think will select 5 teams per 6-month cohort and will offer a comprehensive incubation program. The full package includes an office in state-of-the-art facilities, technical and business support, mentorship, and networking. In addition, teams will receive 15,000 USD upon selection into the program, in exchange for [...]

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US promotes young African leaders participation in DEMO Africa 2014

By Miguel Heilbron on August 11, 2014

At a gathering of 500 Young African leaders, addressed by US President Barack Obama, the US State Department and US Africa Development Foundation announced they will support selected entrepreneurs from the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) to attend and participate in the DEMO Africa 2014 conference, to be held in Lagos, Nigeria, on September 25 - 26. 

The US State Department also announced plans to help set up four Regional Leadership Centers in Kenya, Ghana, Senegal and South Africa. The centers which are set to begin operations in early 2015 are meant to improve the availability and quality of leadership training programs and professional development opportunities for young African leaders.

The prominence accorded to DEMO Africa at the 2014 US Africa Leaders’ Summit last week further emphasized the support given [...]

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The start-up ecosystem in Mozambique

By Tara Sabre Collier on August 6, 2014

By Tara Sabre Collier & Domingos Mazivila Tara Sabre is an impact investing specialist at GroFin Capital, part of VC4Africa’s investor networkDomingos Mazivila is a Senior Advisor to the USAID Speed [Support Program for Economic and Enterprise Development] Program in Mozambique. Below they share some news from Maputo on Mozambique’s startup-ecosystem.

Mozambique is one of Africa’s most attractive markets yet still off the radar for many Western investors. But since the discovery of the world 4th biggest natural gas reserves deposits as well as the increasing exploitation of Africa’s second biggest coal reserves, that could potentially change rapidly. AT Kearney ranked it the Africa’s 9th most attractive retail market in 2014 and according to EY, [...]

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Africa’s emerging market news – comparing notes from China & India

By Niti Bhan on July 23, 2014

This article was originally published on Niti Bhan’s personal blog and is published with permission.

Niti Bhan, founder and principal at the Emerging Futures Lab consultancy, is one of over 100 business mentors at VC4Africa’s Mentorship Marketplace. Below she argues that first impressions will matter more for entrepreneurs in Africa than they did when India and China came up, and also mentions: “the choice is not how much money can foreign investment bring into the country but whether you want it in the first place and from whom.”

Africa’s economic and consumer market opportunities, as covered in mainstream media as well as press releases, has begun to remind me of the way India and China used to be covered back in the [...]

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Get on the AMPION Venture Bus, joining DEMO Africa in Lagos too!

By Miguel Heilbron on July 22, 2014

AMPION Venture Bus is calling for applications for its five startup road trips in Africa this year. A global fellowship program will be launched together with VC4Africa and AfriLabs, and at the opening session of DEMO Africa 2014 in Lagos one of the Venture Bus teams will get a chance to pitch on stage!

AMPION Venture Bus brings together young African change-makers and tech experts from all over the world to turn business ideas into real projects. During a 5-day competition and road trip, the “Ampioneers” create start-ups and develop innovative solutions to local challenges.

After a successful first journey in 2013, through Zimbabwe and South Africa, three start-ups (including VC4Africa members) have launched operations:, a learning system via GSM, Workforce, a [...]

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Flat6Labs – Accelerating Entrepreneurship Across the MENA Region

By Bill Zimmerman on July 21, 2014

VC4Africa connects partners running physical tech hubs and accelerators across the African continent. When visiting a country, doing market research, meeting entrepreneurs, or conducting due diligence, our colleagues at these organizations are an invaluable resource. Today, we’re pleased to announce our partnership with Flat6Labs, the leading accelerator supporting startups in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Flat6Labs is a regional startup accelerator program that fosters and invests in bright and passionate entrepreneurs with cutting-edge ideas. They provide seed funding, strategic mentorship, a creative workspace, entrepreneurship-focused business training, and directly support startups through an expansive network of partners.

We recently had a chance to speak with Ramez Mohamed, CEO of Flat6Labs, to learn more about their approach to serving startups at their locations in Cairo, [...]

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‘NGO’ Money: Really?

By Josiah Mugambi on July 16, 2014

This article by Josiah Mugambi originally appeared on IHub and is published with permission.

I opted not to immediately get into the heated debate that this Wired article sparked and spent some time mulling over this debate. Here are my thoughts.

I find the premise that hype around NGO funded apps is stifling innovation in Nairobi rather simplistic, NGO in this case being used as a catch all for any entity that’s not for profit. I believe this argument does not factor in the differences between the ecosystem in Kenya and that in other parts of the world. Obviously many people like to see how one ecosystem stacks up against another. Hence we have the term Silicon Savannah, likening the budding but still very young Kenyan tech ecosystem with the Silicon Valley. [...]

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