As a managing partner Aaron Fu saw the growth and expansion of Nest across Africa through partnerships with innovation hubs and he helped connect the region’s most promising entrepreneurs with Nest’s proven startup ecosystem through the pillars of marketing, strategy, funding and network. Fu was at the forefront of Ongair’s raise and expansion to Asia. Fu will drive MEST’s Africa expansion plans in Kenya and South Africa.
“All this couldn’t have happened without you, you’ve walked this journey with us because, like us, you believe in an African ecosystem that’s strong, vibrant, collaborative and globally connected, you believe that together, corporates, government, academia, NGOs and entrepreneurs can give rise to innovation that will not only transform Africa, but the world,” said Aaron Fu.
Though based in Kenya, Nest works across Africa to find the best ideas and talent, in particular Lagos, and Accra and Cape Town and is actively connected to its headquarters in Hong Kong where Nest was founded in 2010.
As Fu leaves, Nest’s corporate innovation and investment streams in Africa will continue to be spearheaded by Minhaj Adil, who the firm says has been instrumental in working with its strategic partners to deliver collaborative and rigorous world-class programmes. Minhaj will also be taking the lead on the group’s overall strategy and partnerships in Africa.
The Mettā platform in Nairobi will continue engaging with the startup ecosystem in Kenya, Africa and the World.
Nest recently launched the World Bank AgriTech Challenge, the first co-creation focused open innovation programme of it’s kind in the region. The initiative brings together promising AgTech innovators with a large, home-grown, & vertically integrated agribusiness partner to prototype solutions that drive efficiency and accountability in the value chain. After completing bootcamp last month, Nest is now working with three exceptional startups, namely Annona, Virtual City and Agronomy+, to co-create and potentially commercialise a transformational supply chain solution. In close collaboration with the World Bank, this pilot programme also involves the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives as observers to address their future models of private sector capacity building in the Kenya.
In March, Nest launched Visa’s first startup program in Africa, the Visa Bootcamp. This FinTech and financial inclusion focused programme was the culmination of a partnership between VISA and Nest to source and catalyse promising innovators solving critical challenges in the financial services ecosystem. The initiative facilitated a structured platform for FinTech startups to explore partnerships with VISA and its member banks, gain invaluable insights into the payments ecosystem and VISA’s APIs, as well as conduct 1-on-1 discussions with potential funders. 10 startups from Kenya, UK and Belgium were chosen to participate in the 4-day bootcamp, followed by a live pitch day that resulted in 50+ partnership and investment conversations.
Mettā recently celebrated its 350th member in Africa and launching the second batch of its successful Fashion Product Lab. The programme helps designers define and improve their fashion value chain. From design, personal and product branding, to go to market strategies. The Fashion Product Lab is for upcoming fashion designers with a focus on intentionally turning their talent into a sustainable venture.