Three idea stage startups operating in the Lagos tech space have been awarded equity investments. This development took place after the startups emerged winners at the Art of Technology Lagos 3.0 which was held recently.
At the event, 8 startups pitched their products for a chance to receive up to $100,000 in equity investment from Eko innovation Centre via its Collaborate Lagos project. The project is an initiative that seeks to give visibility to the best startups in Lagos.
The selected startups include healthtech startups, Drugstore.ng and Healthstack; mobility startups, ThinkBikes and EonsFleet; greentech startup, Eko Carbon Exchange; eCommerce startup, Retailar; edtech startup SabiTeach and Vinsighte. The startups pitched to 8 judges, 50 VCs, and a global audience.
After pitching, three of the startup emerged winners. SabiTeach, an edtech platform clinched third place and got N250,000. Retailar, an online trading platform emerged second and received N500,000. Vinsighte came first and was presented with N1,000,000. Beneficiaries of the LASRIC grant were also presented with cheques at the event.
“Over the years, we get blown away by the number of startup entries for Collaborate Lagos. This year we had 168 top quality applications and we are lucky to have the best minds to help with the difficult task of selections. The creative ideas of the startups are designed to address local issues and eye global expansion,” Founder of Eko Innovation Centre, Mr Victor Gbenga Afolabi said.
The Art of Technology Lagos 3.0
Art of Technology (AOT) Lagos is the largest tech conference in Nigeria which brings together key stakeholders from the public and private sector to discuss policies and initiatives that will pave way for the evolution of a smarter, digital, efficient, and competitive Lagos.
The two-day hybrid conference curated by Eko Innovation Centre was themed “Funding and a Connected Lagos”. In attendance were key government officials like the Lagos state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
Also in attendance were experts in the technology ecosystem who spoke on investment readiness, intellectual property, startup bills and other regulations, and policy formulations for tech startups in the tech ecosystem.
Dr Isa Ali Pantami, Nigeria’s Minister of Communication and Digital Economy who spoke at the event via a virtual platform commended Lagos and Eko Innovation Centre for making the state the Silicon Valley of Africa stating that it would continue to support the state in its quest to achieve much more.
He explained further that technology deployment is changing the world, stating that the ICT sector was instrumental for the country’s exit from recession. He, therefore, urged startups to deploy technology to ease their operations in the interest of growing their business remarkably
In the same vein, he said the government is determined to support the growth of startups and businesses especially with the many government agencies working closely to fund and grow the business landscape.
He also pointed out that the country has the highest number of venture capitalists and pointed that the Startup bill currently up for consideration by the federal Executive council, would further help accelerate the growth of Startups when made to the law.
Some of the experts at the conference stated that they are optimistic that the bill, when it becomes a law, will contribute to the creation of an enabling environment for growth, attraction, and protection of investment in tech startups.
On his part, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Executive Governor, Lagos State said that his administration has been deliberate about deploying technology to make governance seamless and has been funding the technology space in line with its smart city agenda which has further helped the state to be the 5th largest economy in Africa.
He added that from traffic management to security, the state is deploying technology to make the state better. As regards supporting businesses with funding, he explained that the Lagos State Science Research and Innovation Council (LASRIC) raised the bar in assisting the state to its smart city agenda of making Lagos a 21st-century economy to transit to a smart city through the application of science and information technology and by also providing grants to innovators.
Some of the decisions from deliberations are calls for more government and private support for startups through funding, friendly policies, leveraging technology, adopting sustainability in business, taking the opportunity of sectors they belong among others.
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