Startup accelerator platform, Techstars Toronto organised a physical demo event for participating startups in the Techstars Toronto Winter 2022 cohort in Lagos last week. The pitching session, held on the sideline of the ongoing Entertainment Week Lagos (EWL), was designed to give the investor community a look at the companies participating in its programme.
Techstars announced that 12 participating startups graduated from its Winter 2022 programme at the event. This consist of 9 African companies and 3 non-African startups.
The graduating companies include last-mile delivery solution, Fez, African financial asset platform, GIGXPAD, digital asset marketplace, Glover, EdTech platform, Klas. B2B software-as-a-service platform, Simpu, hiring and payroll platform, Raenest, e-commerce enabling company, Renda, tested and certified workers repertoire, LaborHack and elegant eyeglass offering startup, Mamy Wear.
Upon acceptance, companies admitted into the program get an investment worth $120,00 (a $20,000 grant and a $100,000 convertible note), curated startup programming, and access to Techstars’ vast network of 7,000+ mentors, 20,000+ investors, alumni, and corporate partners.
Techstars has been active in the African tech space since 2011, hosting more than 400 Techstars Startup Weekends across 40 countries. Beginning in 2015, Techstars Toronto has invested $120,000 in 29 African startups in 7 years.
Alisha Golden, investment lead at Techstars Toronto shared Techstars’ passion for supporting startups in Africa. According to her, the entire portfolio of Techstars Toronto startups has raised $139 million to date, at a growing market cap rate of 1.25 billion USD.
The accelerator increased the number of participating startups in its 2 annual cohorts to 12 per cohort. This makes a total of 24 startups. We have seen an increased number of African startups participating year after year.
For instance, the accelerator in 2022 has admitted 3 more African countries than in 2021. Other startups that Techstars have impacted include Treepz, Healthtracka, Lenco, AltSchool, Quidax and Mycover.ai and Rent Small Small.
The Demo Day Watch Party
Of the 9 participating African startups in the Winter 2022 cohort, two startups (Glover and Klas) presented to the audience at EWL. It also featured a brief one-on-one session with alumni founders: Adebowale Banjo of Mycover.ai, Muyiwa Faulkner of BlackCopper, Foluso Ojo of Truq and Senami Hundeyin, Co-founder of Glade.
Chief Executive Officer Damilola Layode explained how Glover allows Africans from anywhere to access and easily trade global digital assets while getting value within minutes. According to him, the platform helps young middle-class Nigerians to navigate the challenge of the $20 spending limit placed by the Central Bank on Nigeria on cardholders.
Glover allows users to buy gift cards for popular subscription services such as iTunes, Steam, Amazon and other store cards using their local currency, Naira.
Glover has over 80,000 active users and has an Annualized Revenue Run Rate of $2.6m with an Annual Revenue Growth of 12%.
Co-founder and CEO Nathan Nwachuku describes how Klas is building a “Shopify for learning” in Africa by bringing learning tools together- live classes, quizzes, payments, and community- all in one place.
Nathan (19 years old) particularly bears an interesting story of passion and accidental discovery. He suffered a traumatic experience on his 15th birthday (4 years ago) that made him lose his right eye.
As a result, Nathan was out of school for 6 months. During that period, he looked for a way to teach physics online to keep him busy. Not knowing how to produce or edit pre-recorded content, he opted for live classes.
Klas has an Annualized Revenue Run Rate of $40,000 and 55,000 Monthly Active Users. It raised a $130,000 angel round that saw participation from Tola Adesanmi of Spleet, Nadayar Enegesi of Eden Life, Odun Eweniyi of Piggyvest, and Leonard Stiegler of Jumia.
Techstars X EWL
EWL is a week-long (December 11-18) of Impactful workshops, exhibitions, panel sessions and parties organized by the Livespot X Festival in Lagos.
Some of the exciting features of the event included “The Exhibition”, a creative hub with an emphasis on tech, fashion, art, and music. It also featured an array of immersive experiences. It also featured four nights of great music, heart-lifting comedy, and nightly performances from popular African artists from December 16th to 18th.
The Techstars demo day happened at one of the event’s exciting features, “The Deal Room”. It was designed to provide the ideal environment for pitching, negotiating, and knowledge and resource exchange for those in the entertainment industry and for content creators and marketers.
In a chat with Technext, the organiser of EWL and Chief Creative Director, Livespot360, Darey Art Alade, revealed that the collaboration between EWL and Techstars is a natural outgrowth of Livespot’s vision to promote creativity and innovation.
“Although when Livespot360 started out some years ago, we aimed to be one of the most prominent entertainment hotspots in the country. From a 2-day event in 2019, the Livespot festival has grown to become a week of not just entertainment and exhibition but a platform for innovative showcases, conversations and transactions. This year, attendees have had the opportunity to experience innovation such as digital art exhibitions, AR, VR and gaming.”
“So, the partnership with Techstars to showcase promising African startups to investors and alumni aligns perfectly with our overall vision of showcasing the best of Africa”, he concludes.
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