By Emeka Aginam
Silicon Valley’s leading venture capital seed fund and startup accelerator, 500 startups, in partnership with African Technology Foundation and Ingressive will Monday next week in Lagos host the inaugural African edition of the world renowned Geeks on a Plane program alongside a select group of Silicon Valley investors and ecosystem stakeholders.
It would be recalled that since 2009, Geeks on a Plane has hosted 17 exclusive tours across the globe for startups, investors, and executives to learn about high-growth technology markets, and explore cross-border opportunities for venture creation.
Accordingly, the the Geeks will make their way to Lagos, Accra, Johannesburg, and Cape Town, where they will be immersed in some of the continent’s most prominent technology innovation ecosystems.
From March 20th – 23rd, the Geeks will be hosted in Lagos, Nigeria, where they will engage local thought leaders and ecosystem drivers in a series of curated events and activities that will celebrate Nigeria’s entrepreneurial talent, highlight disruptive technologies, and showcase the investment opportunities.
“The African region is definitely of interest to 500 as we continue to look for and source deals from traditionally underrepresented ecosystems. While we invest 70% in the US, 30% of our deals are spread across 60 different countries currently. Through Geeks on a Plane we are looking to build stronger relationships with investors on the ground, maybe even find a few startups to invest in, and have a LOT of fun with local nerds.” – Dave McClure, Founding Partner at 500 Startups, said.
“Much has been said about Nigeria’s potential to consistently create Africa’s leading technology ventures that have the potential to scale globally.” Oluseye Soyode-Johnson, Regional Partner, African Technology Foundation, and Innovation Hub Expert at Ericsson., said, adding that, “This tour will expose the Geeks to the depth of innovation activities in Lagos, and showcase the diversity of entrepreneurial activities.”
“We are excited to host 500 in Nigeria. We hope to facilitate these relationships further, and showcase high quality Nigerian startups to international tech experts and investors. Trips like these open doors and change businesses – ecosystems, even.“ Maya Horgan-Famodu, Founder of Ingressive, added.
The international tech interest is complemented with growing local corporates looking toward the tech space for innovation, and also new clients. This trip is supported by Venture Garden Group, Mall for Africa, AFFRIFF, Filmhouse IMAX, Imaginairum, EchoVC, Printivo, Growth Capital and Aluko & Oyebode, positioning itself as the go-to firm for startups, as well as top tech and VC-focused firm, Olaniwun Ajayi, First City Monument Bank through their SME banking program, and SWIFT Networks.
Key tour activities in Lagos will include:
*Taste of Nigeria – A techno-cultural journey across major ecosystem and culinary touch points.
*Seedstars World – A pitch event showcasing diverse and game-changing Nigerian startups.
*Geeks Meet Nollywood – A star-studded red carpet event that explores the intersection between African Media and technology solutions.
*Space Apps Nigeria – A showcase of the next generation of Africa’s youthful innovators.
*VC Unlocked – Where Dave and team will unlock the secrets of Silicon Valley Investing.
Following their visit to Lagos, the Geeks will travel to Accra, Ghana, where they will be further immersed in innovation activities across West Africa.
They will meet with business leaders, attend conferences, visit coworking spaces, and share venture creation ideas with key ecosystem leaders and investors.
The tour will move on to South Africa, where they will learn how innovation actors in Johannesburg and Capetown have blazed the trail and led entrepreneurial activities in Southern Africa.
500 startup is a Silicon Valley venture capital seed fund & startup accelerator.They have ~$250M under management, and have invested in over 1,700 companies in more than 50 countries around the world. Some of their more successful companies include Credit Karma, Twilio, GrabTaxi, Ipsy, Udemy, TalkDesk, Intercom, ToutApp, and Mayvenn. Our largest exits to date are MakerBot ($400M by Stratasys), Wildfire ($350M by Google), and Viki ($200M by Rakuten).
Silicon Valley based African Technology Foundation (ATF) globalizes African technologies and introduces global technologies to the African ecosystem. They support a broad range of initiatives around innovation,venture creation, and entrepreneurship.