Ekovention, a venture capital initiative that aims to ease the path of accessing funding for start-ups with potential for growth and competitiveness, hopes to provide the visibility needed to scale their businesses further, one of its principals, Victor Afolabi, said Tuesday.
The event launches in June and will welcome companies desiring at least $500,000 in capital to a funding round where pitches will be reviewed.
Ekovention opened call for applications from interested firms on April 4 with the terms and conditions detailed on its website. Applications will be received till April 18.
“You will find out that informal retail exists in Africa and some parts of Asia. Most other continents. This is where technology can be used to scale,” Mr Afolabi, whose company Eko Innovation Centre is organising the event with San Francisco-based Tuyo ventures, told PREMIUM TIMES during a virtual call.
“There is a massive problem in terms of financial inclusion … There is a gap in the market but there are opportunities in those gaps.”
One One out of every three persons in Nigeria, with a population of over 211.4 million as of last year, is between the ages of 15 and 34, according to market data aggregator Statista, a major feature that has enticed investors from places as far-flung as Sweden and California, United States, and has positioned the country as the tech capital of Africa.
Ekovention will be looking to tap the appetite of that youthful group for digitalisation to deepen activity within the start-up ecosystem.
On concerns that some start-ups could be in danger of being taken over by international venture capitalists as in the case of U.S.-based Stripe’s $200 million block acquisition of Paystack in October 2020, Mr Afolabi noted that private equity is also providing the financing companies need to widen their shor.
“We might not be totally sidelined. It brings in the much needed employment, knowledge transfer, it brings in the much needed FDIs. I think there are more upsides and downsides,” he said.
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