Business Opportunity: Africa’s Largest Tech Incubator Has A Wish List

By Peter Pedroncelli Published: September 15, 2017, 6:35 pm
tech incubator - Aaron Fu is the new managing director of Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology. Photo - ForbesAaron Fu is the new managing director of Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology. Photo - Forbes

Aaron Fu was recently appointed as the new managing director of Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology, a training program, seed fund and Africa’s largest tech incubator based in Ghana.

The Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology has links throughout Africa, and since launching in 2008 it has already invested over $20 million in African startups, according to GhanaWeb.

Over 350 individual entrepreneurs have graduated from the training program and over 30 tech startups have been launched via seed funding and mentorship courtesy of the incubator.

Entrepreneurs in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Cote D’ivoire have benefited from the incubator, with the likes of Kudobuzz, meQasa, Tress, ClaimSync and Saya Mobile finding success under the incubator’s watchful eye.

As far as expansion plans are concerned, Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology will soon be launching physical incubator spaces in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa, and Fu is the person who will be driving this expansion, AfricaBusinessCommunities reports.

Tech incubator led by Fu and his wish list

Fu is a former managing partner of NEST.vc, an early stage venture capital firm specialising in startups that develop world-changing technologies that make a positive impact, and he has joined Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology with a clear vision and a wish list for the tech scene in Africa.

“My wish list for the tech startup landscape in Africa in the next few years has to start with some significant exits. The good news is we’re well on our way this year, already seeing both Kenya’s Twiga (a B2B commerce and logistics platform) and Nigeria’s Flutterwave (a Pan-African payments platform) raise more than $10 million in a single round,” Fu said, according to Forbes.

“Substantial exits will first create rockstar role models, figures of success the next generation can be inspired by, and second, it will unlock capital both locally and globally as the pathway to returns for tech investors becomes proven and clear,” he added.

“My second wish is for more founders in Africa to continue to keep a razor sharp focus on building businesses, not apps. Like the entrepreneurs I have the privilege of working with, I share fascination and enthusiasm at the tremendous and exciting new technologies they have at their disposal, the desire to just explore, test and experiment with the possibilities of the technology is tough to resist for sure. But a tech startup I believe needs to be about business first and technology second,” Fu explained.

“For us as an ecosystem, to achieve the exits we want, we need to channel and focus these energies of experimentation to key customer problems and build robust, localized business models around technology,” he said.

“My last wish, if you’ll indulge me, is really that the landscape becomes a much more collaborative and interconnected one. By collaboration I mean local startups sharing knowledge around customer acquisition and ESOP structuring, with hubs and ecosystems across Africa regularly collaborating to share opportunities,” said Fu.

“By interconnectivity I mean where more entrepreneurs in South Africa actively look at Ghana as an expansion opportunity ahead of Europe, and more entrepreneurs in Ghana look at South Africa as a base for their engineering team ahead of India,” he explained.

“Obviously we are proud of the global reach many MEST startups have already achieved, but there’s so much opportunity for markets and resources right here in Africa which have often been overlooked,” Fu added.

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