Expert after expert has hailed Nigeria as a success in terms of technology consumption, but described the country as weak in the area of creating technology. The latter is easier said than done. Although none would compare the country’s tech terrain to Silicon Valley, many developers argue that the enabling environment that tech start-ups need to thrive is almost non-existent in the country.
Green House Capital, a venture capital firm, seeks to change that. The company has commenced the implementation process of investing $10million in 13 technology startups that have great locally developed solutions with global appeal. Although the venture capital firm plans to invest the money in two tranches of $5 million each, it has already spent well over $3 million, spread across the 13 startups. One of the founding partners of GreenHouse Capital, Mr. Bunmi Akinyemiju who made the disclosure, while showcasing the 13 startup companies at a technology show in Lagos, weekend, said “the future is about virtual technology and no longer oil and gas, and that is the reason we are investing in tech startups.
We have invested over $3 million out of the $5 million that we planned to invest in the first tranche. In all, we plan to invest a total of $10 million in the next two years.” Giving reasons behind the zeal to raise seed funds for tech startups, Akinyemiju said the VC firm decided to invest in them in order to support young entrepreneurs with brilliant ideas, who do not have the right funding to scale up. The list of top global companies today by market capitalisation, is made up of technology companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple. Gone are the days when oil and gas companies used to top the list and that is the direction of the world today, so we need to guide and support Nigerian tech startups in that global direction, Akinyemiju said. We are investing big in technology startups companies, because the financial gain is going to be exponential in the future. A VC firm like GreenHouse only needs about three successful startup companies, out of 20 sponsored companies to settle the amount of money spent promoting 20 tech companies, and still make huge turnover, Akinyemiju added.
Also, Managing partner of the company, Nichole Yembra said that promotion and support of tech entrepreneurs in Africa that have great talents but do not have the encouragement and funding to actualise their dreams are the core missions of the company. “Big entrepreneurs that are behind big brands like Uber, Google, Microsoft, among others, started as very small entrepreneurs and they got support to arrive at where they are today. “So we want to replicate that kind of success out of Nigeria and Africa”, she said.
Akinyemiju had earlier chorused same opinion when he said, “We need to scale-up their business but all the money needed for scale-up will not come from Nigeria, because we will source for funds from outside Nigeria and Africa, from places like the US, UK, China, Hon Kong among others. But the money from these countries will not be made available unless African investors are able to support the initial funding and that is exactly what GreenHouse Capital is doing with investment on these 13 technology startups.”