Photo credit: Eloise Ambursley

The tech takeover points to Africa

Africa’s startup scene emerges, while (some in) Silicon Valley miss out.

According to Disrupt Africa, startups raised an estimated $129M in 2016. The numbers show growing African entrepreneurs using technology as a way to empower the continent, even when others still think that Africans live in huts.

The trend that shows in Africa that is different in Silicon Valley is that more startups share the pot of investment money rather than one breakout company siphoning a majority of the capital.

On one hand, sharing investment capital points to African values of equitable distribution of ideas. In another light, it makes great money sense.

In a TechCrunch article, Adedana Ashebir, Africa regional manager at Village Capital says, “Local capital, diaspora capital and peer selection by entrepreneurs are key to bridging funding gaps.”

Start up Mania

Some of the programs in Africa receive backing from big names. Like the Pan-African coding school, Andela, which secured US $40 million, with a total of venture funding shooting just over $80 million.

Most of the $40 million was received from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a venture program launched by tech baron, Mark Zuckerberg and American pediatrician and philanthropist, Priscilla Chan.

Andela trains developers in Africa and hires them out to global tech firms. While in training, trainees make minimum wage, but then receive competitive rates according to local economies. Andela schools are in Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda. Launched in 2014, the company becomes the highest funding tech venture in Africa.

Another heavy investor in tech Africa is billionaire philanthropist, Tony Elumelu. Annually, he hosts about 1,000 entrepreneurs from 54 African countries to meet business persons and policy makers at the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum in Lagos. Elumelu, an entrepreneur and economist,  committed $100 million to identify, train, mentor and empower 10,000 African entrepreneurs over 10 years.

Tech for Simple Solutions

African start ups often focus on tackling every day issues. For example, Mr. Green Africa, a tech-enabled plastic recycling startup, works on the build up of plastic bags and bottles in Africa.

In South Africa, MyBraai is an online butchery offering customers high quality cuts of meats popular in the region.

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