• Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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Accelerate Africa unveils 10 startups at ‘Invest in the Future II’ Investor Summit

Accelerate Africa unveils 10 startups at ‘Invest in the Future II’ Investor Summit

Accelerate Africa, a pre-seed and seed-stage accelerator programme, in partnership with Future Africa and Prosper Africa, has unveiled its first cohort of startups at its inaugural Demo Day and second Investor Summit, which took place last week in Lagos.

Designed to inspire and engage African investors, founders, and ecosystem players, Invest in the Future provided an opportunity to showcase some of the Africa’s innovative solutions to its challenges. Panel sessions explored the investment landscape, opportunities to diversify from traditional asset classes, risk mitigation strategies, amongst other pertinent topics, as the continent seeks to aggregate and allocate more of its own venture-capital funding.

Speaking at the event, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Co-founder, Accelerate Africa and Founding Partner, Future Africa, in a statement reiterated the need for local investors to seize the opportunities to enhance capital flows and contribute to Africa’s development. His words:

“Africa has come of age! Now is the time for local investors to rise to meet the challenge of poor investment on the continent. Initially, we launched a pre-accelerator programme under the assumption that the most effective way to attract funding for African companies was to showcase them to American investors. While this approach proved successful for a period, we have observed the dwindling inflows and investor appetite for African startups”.

He added that they had now “decided to chart our own path by building an accelerator programme that can rival the best in the world. With this we are setting a new dawn for growth in Africa, declaring independence from Silicon Valley and telling the entire world that Africa has finally come of age. These startups are the seeds of billion-dollar African companies built to be global, from day one.”

The Demo Day featured presentations from a select group of promising startups, offering attendees a firsthand look at groundbreaking ideas and disruptive innovations across fintech, proptech, agritech, logistics, auto tech, sports tech and data, among others, covering Egypt (1), Eswatini (1), Kenya (2), and Nigeria (6). The ten startups had the opportunity to pitch their ventures to potential investors, vying for support and funding to propel their businesses to new heights.

Mia Von Koschitzky-Kimani, Co-Founder, Accelerate Africa and Managing Partner, Future Africa, in her own remarks, according to the statement said, “As pillars of the programme, we concentrated on five key areas: business development and go-to-market strategies, effective storytelling, product development, team building, and fundraising, alongside other complementary business aspects. All of the startups worked incredibly hard over the eight-week period, demonstrating remarkable dedication, as they made significant advancements in their ventures. Hearing their testimonials today, I firmly believe that Accelerate Africa not only met, but surpassed their expectations, though the ultimate test will be in how much investment they receive over the coming months.”

Distinguished speakers and experts in attendance included Nicolas Brathwaite, Founding Managing Partner of Celesta VC; Tope Awotona, CEO of Calendly; Abubakar Sulaiman, CEO of Sterling Bank; Yomi Awobokun, Managing Partner of CE-IV; Yvonne Ike, Head of Sub-Saharan Africa at Bank of America; Kazeem Oladepo, Chief Operations Officer of IHS Towers; Rashidat Adebisi, Chief Client Officer at AXA Mansard; Sadiq Usman, Director of Group Strategy and Stakeholder Relations at Flour Mills of Nigeria; and Bode Abifarin, former Chief Operations Officer at Flutterwave and Board Member, Women in Tech, Nigeria. Each reiterated the importance of local investors championing growth on the continent.

On the keynote fireside chat with Nicholas Brathwaite and Tope Awotona, Oji Udezue, Venture Partner, Accelerate Africa, raised salient questions about investing in Africa, handling the mental struggles of entrepreneurship, the need for grit and tenacity, building for global relevance from Africa, and fundamental shifts in the world of venture, given the current trends in technology and artificial intelligence.

“We believe that global companies can be launched from this continent. Our mission at Accelerate Africa is to intensify success and cultivate an ecosystem of venture capitalists who can bet on us with what we call, ‘patient and dedicated capital’ – to help catapult investment in startups on the continent.”

In response to his final question about advice to entrepreneurs and startups, Nicolas Brathwaite, Founding Managing Partner of Celesta VC, answered, “Look for big problems to solve and find a great team to help you solve them. Find people who share your vision; partner with people who have intellectual capital and significant domain expertise. Do not be afraid to hire people who are much smarter than you”.

Tope Awotona, CEO of Calendly, also replied, “Dream big, start small. The one thing entrepreneurs need is to know their customers better than anyone else. At the same time, cultivate connections with fellow entrepreneurs who are at similar stages or further along, as they can offer valuable support.”

After a series of panels and pitches, the demo day and summit concluded with cocktails and networking for investors, entrepreneurs, and industry experts, fostering discussions on the opportunities for ecosystem players.

Chinyere Inya, Head of Programmes, Ops, and Partnerships, Accelerate Africa and Partner and Head of Platform, Future Africa, in her remarks, said “we have so many people to thank for bringing this vision to life and making the accelerator programme possible – from the 25+ advisors who led weekly one-on-one sessions and workshops on core topics, with our startups, to the fireside-chat guests that joined us every week, and the vendors, service providers, and support staff. We look forward to having many of them come back for future cohorts as we aim to build a sustainable institution that outlives us all.”

Accelerate Africa operates multiple cohorts within a one-year cycle. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, though the next cohort call for applications is set to officially open in the third quarter of 2024.