The Nigerian-based innovation center, Co-creation Hub (CcHUB) has on Thursday, announced the acquisition of Kenya’s iHub for an undisclosed sum. It is the first time an incubator in Africa is buying another incubator on the continent.
As part of the deal, iHub’s team will become part of CcHUB’s wider central support and strategy network. iHub will, however, retain its name and senior management structure, while CcHUB’s co-founder Bosun Tijani continues as CEO across both locations. The acquisition also means CcHUB now makes key hires in innovation consulting, people management, program management, and community support, as it looks to strengthen its pan-African network and mobilize its far-reaching resources, network, and relationships to accelerate the growth of technology innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa.
“With science and tech, we hold the key to unlocking unprecedented value and future for Africa,” Tijani tweeted on Thursday soon after the announcement. “It will take us being intentional and deeply committed to building capacity to enable real development and application of tech. It is a privilege and responsibility.”
Since the Kenyan iHub was launched in 2010, it has become the home of companies such as BRCK and Ushahidi, as well as start-ups such as Zayride, Eneza Education, Taimba and Optimetriks and has seen over 500 companies receive business support services, 100+ of which have gone through incubation and accelerator programs.
“Over 9 years, iHub has been a catalyst for regional tech acceleration and a role model for innovation hubs across emerging markets. 500+ startups, $40m+ raised by startups, 40,000 jobs to the EA economy,” said Nekesa Were, managing director of iHub. “Today we join with CcHUB for continental impact.”
She also disclosed that iHub startups have raised over $40 million in early and growth-stage financing. Its portfolio businesses have also contributed over 40,000 jobs to the Kenyan economy.
“CcHUB has an unrivaled track record of building out a dynamic tech ecosystem that extends past Nigeria. Similar to us, they have been committed to delivering impactful support services, at scale, supporting tech and business communities and driving social capital for economic prosperity in Africa. In short – they share our mission to make businesses and the business environment on the continent, better for all. We are very excited to work with them to support entrepreneurs in transforming our communities,” she said.
Launched in 2011, and partnered by international companies such as Google for Start-ups, Facebook, Oracle and organizations including Omidyar Network and Ford Foundation, CcHUB is Africa’s first open living lab and pre-incubation space, home to technologists, social entrepreneurs, government bodies, tech companies, impact investors and more. Arguably one of the most prolific tech hubs in Africa, the Lagos-based hub has built a vibrant community of over 14,000 people and has incubated and provided support to a portfolio of over 120 early-stage ventures, providing solutions to social problems with technology including Lifebank, Riby, BudgIT, and WeCyclers. In 2012, CcHUB played a major role in converging key stakeholders to deliberate and action ideas that led to the emergence of one of Africa’s most organic technology clusters in Yaba, Lagos.