Techstars, the global accelerator for early-stage startup entrepreneurs, is bullish on expanding to key cities in Africa in a move to discover excellent founders and startups with great potential out of Africa.
This is not Techstars’ first time in Africa as the accelerator has been heavily involved in the African startup scene before.
In 2016 and 2017, the company partnered with Barclays Bank to host an accelerator programme in Cape Town and invested in 21 startups. Techstars has also invested in close to 100 African startups through its accelerator programmes including Nigeria’s Farmcrowdy, Healthtracka, TalentQL, Quidax, OurPass, RentSmallSmall, and Treepz; and Kenya’s Bamba Group, Duhqa, iNuka Pap, Flexpay, and +Scale.
Techstars intends to build on this by launching accelerator programmes across the continent with Lagos, Nairobi, Johannesburg and Cairo all mapped out. Techstars is bullish about Africa and it can help unearth the next set of unicorns out of the continent due to its market size, growing consumption rate, and numerous opportunities.
According to Techstars CEO Maëlle Gavet, Techstars will help startups in Africa with capital, which matters to pay bills and run a company then launch programs and services, which include the three-month program itself, events, training, and other forms of support for a strategy that the startups can access for life. Lastly, it’s network; which is considered the best in the world.
In April 2022, Techstars partnered with ARM Labs, a Lagos-based fintech accelerator to launch the ARM Labs Lagos Techstars Accelerator Programme which saw Techstars CEO Maëlle Gavet, visit Lagos in late July.
The programme, set to commence in December 2022 and culminating in a demo day in March 2023 is still open for applications until September 7. The Lagos accelerator programme will run for three years, and up to 12 startups will be selected annually to benefit from up to $120,000 in funding – $20,000 equity and an optional $100,000 convertible note investment in exchange for 6–9% equity.
Currently, the programme is open to only proptech and fintech startups.
Maëlle Gavet is a strong advocate for ‘empatethic tech’ and the author of Trampled by Unicorns: Big Tech’s Empathy Problem and How to Fix It. Gavet has been a leading tech executive and entrepreneur for over 15 years. Before joining Techstars in January 2021, she had successful stints as Chief Operating Officer at real estate platform Compass, valued at over $6 billion; Executive Vice President of Operations of the Priceline Group, the largest online hospitality and travel agency in the world which includes brands like OpenTable, Kayak, and Booking.com; and as CEO of OZON.ru, Russia’s largest e-commerce site valued at over $9 billion.
Since joining Techstars, Gavet has led the expansion of the Techstars accelerator programme to Stockholm, Paris and now, Lagos. She has also initiated two new initiatives to invest in underrepresented founders – an $80 million fund raised through the J.P Morgan Private Wealth platform and an $8 million Rising Star pre-seed pre-accelerator fund for entrepreneurs of colour in the United States.
Founded in 2006, Techstars worldwide network helps entrepreneurs succeed and is now on a mission to enable every person on the planet to contribute to, and benefit from, the success of entrepreneurs. In addition to operating accelerator programs and venture capital funds, we do this by connecting startups, investors, corporations, and cities to help build thriving startup communities. Techstars has invested in more than 3,000 companies with a combined market cap of more than $172B.