By Prince Osuagwu
At 25 years old, technology company, Signal Alliance is beginning a new phase of life. The company is on the verge of completing a holding company (holdco) structure that will see it become even a bigger player in the IT sector.
The proposed holdco structure would have three subsidiaries – one focused on cloud business, another on technology consulting while the third, Sasware, which is already operating as a venturing company, would harmonise current investments and further invest in tech start-ups and tech-enabled businesses.
Signal Alliance is looking to make an emphatic statement in the tech ecosystem in Nigeria. Foreign investors have dominated the venture activities in Nigeria and Africa and they are increasing their positions in the Nigerian tech market.
Executive Vice-Chairman of the company, Collins Onuegbu, said: “Diversification of our business portfolio is imperative and we believe that these activities, in line with our medium to long- term strategy, would produce compelling returns. Size and efficiency are key factors for our new outlook.”
Onuegbu also believes the tech market in Nigeria is still evolving despite the strides it has made in recent years, adding that there is still a lot of room for growth and the company is being positioned to be part of that growth process.
He revealed that in the coming months, the company will be looking to either acquire a majority stake in promising ventures or minority interest.
“There is no more sitting on the fence while the good deals get done. We need to gain a foothold in the tech space venturing in Nigeria and are targeting 50 tech and tech-enabled companies within a 3-year horizon,” he said.
For him, “last year, Stripe, the second-largest payment company in the world, acquired Nigerian-based payment gateway company, Paystack. Nigerian startups also dominated the venture capital activities in Africa in 2019 only to fall behind South Africa in 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are also local venture capital firms and equity funds that are springing up and positioning for the market. In January, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, founder and CEO of Future Africa, a new venture capital that launched in 2020 said it has returned $3.7 million to some of the firm’s limited partners and invested over $1 million in 16 startups. So, there is a need to consolidate and grow our investments in technology-enabled start-ups”
Signal Alliance said it would also be looking to grow its cloud market position – a market it knows very well given its partnership with Microsoft.
Signal Alliance is a Gold LSP Partner of Microsoft; among the other three partners in Nigeria and intends to utilise this partnership for its cloud business focus.