Unicorn to deploy $30m to African tech startups in next 10 years

Unicorn deploy $30m to African tech startups
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Unicorn Group, the organisers of the two-day event TechMoney Africa Summit said it plans to collaborate with international organisations to deploy $30 million to tech startups on the African continent in the next 10 years.

During a media session before the commencement of the event, the Unicorn team said the tech startups on the continent represent opportunities for investment.

“Our interest cuts across everyone; no matter the location,” Kola Abiola, chairman of Unicorn said.

The first day of the TechMoney Africa Summit saw experts and tech entrepreneurs share their experiences from investing and servicing consumers on the continent.

The Vice President who was represented by Adeyemi Dipeolu, special adviser to the President on Economic Matters in the Office of the Vice-President, noted that for Nigeria to begin to maximize the opportunities in digital technology there needs to be an enabling environment for young Nigerians to create innovations that will thrive. The government, he said, is partnering with private sector to shore up investments to provide the necessary infrastructure in the space.

Obafemi Hamzat, deputy governor of Lagos State, speaking through a representative, Segun Olufemi Adeniji, permanent secretary, ministry of Science and Technology, also disclosed that the commercial capital is prioritizing investment in upgrading infrastructure that will enable businesses to grow in the state.

At one of the panel sessions focusing on building systems for business growth, Deepankar Rustagi, founder of VConnect, Nigeria’s largest online business directory and local search engine with presence in 8 countries, explained that for startups to replicate success in their business, creating the right system is very critical. The systems that work, he added, are those based on data captured from interacting with customers.

Rustagi said that expanding VConnect beyond Nigeria to eight other countries has thought the company why standardisation and structured processes matter.

“If you plan to move your business to other countries, you will have to find out how standardisation of the system comes in,” he said. “It helps you know which services can be replicated. When you are looking at scaling, you can’t have unstructured processes. It has to be structured.”

Paul Atat, group head, digital banking at Providus Bank, said putting systems in place may come at different levels. Startups should look out for systems that enable them build faster. It also depends on the ability of the founder to understand the people he has.

“You need to understand people who are skilled and those who are ready to learn, because you don’t have time. The founder needs to know their capacity and be ready to delegate. You can’t do everything; understand what strength you have,” Atat said.

On the day 2 of the summit, Vice chancellor of University of Lagos, Professor Ogundipe announced partnership with Omnicharge which will see the company train some engineering student of the university in China.

Bola Onadele Koko, managing director and chief executive officer of FMDQ Securities Exchange PLC (FMDQ), one of the sponsors of the event described the summit as a platform to empower Nigeria’s “brightest” minds in technology and help scale up their ideas to effectively contribute to the development of Nigeria.

“At FMDQ, we recognise the importance of building capacity for the next generation of subject-matter experts, and have to this end developed the FMDQ Next Generation Empowerment Programme (FMDQ-Next) to provide financial markets education and hands-on trading experience through FMDQ’s dedicated simulation room, FMDQ Q-hub, to students (primary, secondary and tertiary schools) as well as fresh graduates in the country,” he said.

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