MEST's Director of Investor Relations talks entrepreneurship, connectivity and funding…
One hundred start-up founders from 18 African countries came together on a beach resort in Accra, Ghana in July 2016 for SpeedUPAfrica – a four-day day growth and investment bootcamp aimed at ‘transforming start-ups in to speedups’.
SpeedUPAfrica was created by Toro Orero, Managing Partner of DraperDarkFlow; a Silicon Valley VC Fund backed by legendary Investor Tim Draper, who was also in attendance. Tim has raised over $4 billion in funds, invested in over 1000 companies (including Skype and Hotmail), with 24 exits at over $1 billion.
Young founders from across the continent and beyond were treated to mentor sessions and workshops hosted by the likes of Facebook, Google and 500 Startups before DraperDarkFlow, Toro and Tim made investments in eight start-ups.
A further six entrepreneurs were selected to take part in Singularity University’s new Impact Fellows Programme, while another seven were chosen to attend Draper University; Tim’s school in Silicon Valley aimed at helping ‘extraordinary people accomplish their life missions’.
Part of AB2020’s vision is to keep a close eye on Africa-focused stand-out start-ups, which we’ve been doing for over a year – particularly in the UK and Ghana. So we were delighted to see some of our favourite founders receiving recognition during SpeedUpAfrica.
We’d like to send a huge congratulations to our Top 5 SpeedUPAfrica’s Start-Ups:
Priscilla Hazel: Co-Founder, Tress – a global, black hair community mobile app
Priscilla was among eight start-ups who received investment, and was also selected to attend Draper University – Silicon Valley’s leading programme for building founders.
AB2020 first met Priscilla at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) in Accra earlier this year
Tom-Chris Emewulu: Founder, Stars from All Nations (SFAN) – a social enterprise that bridges the gap between college and career
Tom was among six startups selected to participate in Singularity University’s newly launched Impact Fellows Programme aimed at nurturing the potential of African entrepreneurs and the continent’s vibrant innovation ecosystem.
Tom approached AB2020 to support SFAN’s Future Executives Business Breakfast Meeting, which took place in Accra in June 2016 and was streamed live on our site here
Ayo Dawodu: Co-Founder, Loystar – a mobile app that helps merchants design and run customer loyalty programmes
Ayo (far right) was among seven start-ups selected to attend Draper University.During their Residential Program in Entrepreneurship he’ll benefit from essential startup skills, exposure to industry experts, a network of like-minded entrepreneurs from all over the world, and mentorship from experienced venture capitalists.
Ayo was among a group of entrepreneurs selected to pitch to a group of UK and US investors during AB2020’s Guided Business Mission to Ghana in May 2016
Leslie Onyesoh: CEO, Kwanji – an FX comparison platform that facilitates fairer and cheaper international trade payments in Africa
Leslie was among a top 10 list of start-ups who received a special mention by SpeedUpAfrica’s curator Toro, and unsurprisingly so.
Leslie first appeared in AB2020 in October 2015, when he talked about his experiences as a British-Nigerian CEO in a video interview here. And Kwanji’s success story was boosted in February 2016 when the company’s first crowdfunding round was over overfunded by 123 per cent exceeding its initial target of £400,000
Joshua King: CEO, Natromi – a fresh food on demand platform that delivers local produce from open air markets to consumers at the touch of a button.
Joshua was also touted as an ‘awesome’ start-up to watch by Toro, and having spent some time with Joshua behind the scenes we’d have to agree. We hear Natromi also caught the eye of Tim Draper and the bosses at Singularity University, so it’s only a matter of time before we see this start-up speedUP!
Well done to all involved.