Last week, GetFundedAfrica, a venture service firm focused on assisting African startups, held an event themed “Unplugged Evening with Founders in the African Ecosystem.” The event’s goal was to provide startup founders and investors a chance to network, interact, and explore new ways to create and collaborate.
The hybrid event took place both online and physically in the Microsoft Garage section of the ultra-modern Microsoft building in Kings Tower, Ikoyi, and was attended by several startup founders, investors, SMEs, and corporates.
Unlocking $34b Innovative Economy in Ogun State
Just recently, GetFundedAfrica announced a strategic partnership with the Ogun State Government to launch up to 400 startups and unlock billions of dollars in the economy.
One of the keynote speakers, Mr. Dayo Abiodun, Head of Bureau of ICT and Special Adviser to Ogun State on ICT, spoke at length about the importance of establishing a startup in Ogun State. He also highlighted the government’s desire to support business owners in order to develop initiatives and leverage technology to help build Nigeria’s Silicon Valley in the state.
“When it comes to what you guys are trying to do, in my opinion, I don’t think there’s any better place than Ogun State” – he said. “The environment is right; relatively quiet with hills and green grass for those of you that are into nature, and in this kind of environment, ideas and solutions will come to you easily.”
Another speaker in attendance was William Phelps, Investment Manager at Adaverse, who has been in Nigeria for a few months talked about how vital GetFundedAfrica’s work is not only for startups, but also for investors in Africa and beyond. He also added that he had the privilege of visiting the Ogun State Tech Hub in Abeokuta, which he dubbed the “Nigerian Tech Pentagon.”
“One of the things we observed in Abeokuta is space, dedicated space for startups, co-working, media organizations and of course government developments as well, which I think represents a great sense of synergy and collaboration.”
The CEO of GetFundedAfrica, Debo Omololu, spoke about the perks of establishing base in Abeokuta, the growth of the startup scene there, and how GetFundedAfrica is collaborating with the state government to provide the necessary resources.
“We have been able to within just a few months double by 100% the number of startups that have moved to Abeokuta.”
The GFA team should be contacted by startup founders who want to join in the Ogun State startup ecosystem, he continues, and those in attendance will receive rent-free space for a few months.
GetFundedAfrica: Key Players in the African Startup Ecosystem
Microsoft has been active in ensuring that startups not only have access to technology but is also forming strategic alliances to help guarantee that innovations come to life and also have a real and lasting impact. GetFundedAfrica, which has a similar goal and is a key player in the African Startup Ecosystem, is currently engaged in one of these partnerships.
Soromfe Uzomah, Principal Program Manager-The Garage West Africa, opens his remarks by welcoming everyone and outlining the Microsoft Garage’s mission. He describes the Microsoft Garage as a “manufacturing hub” and a “creative workspace” designed to function as an innovative outlet while also promoting engineers and everyone involved in keeping the tech ecosystem alive.
Soromfe goes on to discuss the partnership with GFA and what it offers African startups. “We do work with GetFundedAfrica and we are hoping that, in partnership with the Microsoft Africa Transformation Office, we are able to create increased opportunities for startups in Africa.”
“I know that there are tons of stuff that we are doing on the tech side but one of the things that we are keen on doing is to explore what Microsoft can bring to the table for startup in the continent beyond providing casual credits and some of the things that people tend to ask.”
In addition, Tunji Oke, co-founder of GetFundedAfrica, said, “What GetFundedAfrica is doing is quite unique. We call ourselves an ecosystem player, and in terms of the ecosystem, there’s a lot to do. “
He added that “GFA is also involved in the Nigerian Startup Bill that was passed recently, which will benefit everyone here. We also have our tech hub in Abeokuta, and we are building a $34 billion innovation city, and this is a part of the evidence of what we are doing. We’ve come a long way, so let us all continue to grind, innovate, and most importantly, collaborate.”
Cohort Program: Startup Pitching
The event also served as a graduation for the startups currently involved in the GetFundedAfrica Fundraising Rain Cohort Program. The startup founders were provided with the opportunity to present an elevator pitch in which they outlined what their businesses are about and what solutions they offer. Tribease, Regxta, OliliFood, PaveHQ, Gistmobile, Trade Lenda, Omnibiz, DayDone, and Staffbus were among the startups that actively participated.
Through these cohort programs, GetFundedAfrica is addressing the lack of investor readiness and the failure of the majority of startups founders to raise funds for their business.
After the pitch was concluded, networking games were played to create avenues for the investors and startup founders present to network, interact and establish long-lasting connections.
These kinds of events are refreshing and play a significant role in our African startup ecosystem, and there are many more like this to come from GetFundedAfrica.