By Martin Ekpeke
A lot of Venture Capitals at the just concluded Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) 2018 have picked interest in putting their money in Nigerian technology Startups, describing the startups ecosystem in Nigeria as having potentials and viable.
These interests are as a result of a well-packaged investment forum organised by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) at the global technology show, where the Nigerian delegation took turns to advertise huge potentials for investments in the country’s ICT sector to potential investors from across the world.
For instance, a Mauritius Venture Capital, ArifSaiyad & Associados Ventures has promised to invest part of the $15 million fund it has earmarked for African start-ups on Nigerian technology startups.
The Chief Executive Officer of ArifSaiyad & Associados Ventures, Mr Arif Sayad made this promise, wile speaking at the NITDA’s organised investment forum at the one-week show, which was held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
According to Sayad, there are a lot of potentials in Nigeria with viable start-ups in the country to invest part of the VC fund. “We have satisfactorily discovered good potentials in the Nigerian Startups ecosystem. Thus, we are ready to invest part of our 15 million Venture Capital fund in Nigeria,” he assured.
Another VC from Egypt, Endure Capital also expressed satisfaction with Nigeria’s pitch at the investor forum, adding that Nigeria is a place to be for the venture. Partner at the company, Waleed Khalil said the company would be partnering with other companies in Nigeria to invest in start-ups.
Other investors who listened to pitches from the six Nigerian start-ups in Dubai were impressed by the innovations of the young entrepreneurs and promised to engage them further to see how they could partner with them.\
NITDA in its bid to grow the ICT sector with local capacity has been empowering tech start-ups in many ways. Part of such efforts is the international exposures being given to the young entrepreneurs by sponsoring them to GITEX and other international events. This year, the agency had sponsored six start-ups, each from the geo-political zones in the country to participate Future Stars event holding alongside GITEX.
In his opening speech at the forum, the Director General of NITDA, Dr Isa Pantami , highlighted the potentials and opportunities in Nigeria for investors. According to him, Nigeria has a ready pool of young “digital natives” awaiting investors in the ICT sector.
“With a population having an average age of 18.2 years, Nigeria is the 22nd youngest country on earth. The youthfulness of our population is an asset and the fact that many young Nigerians are ICT enthusiasts even makes it better. Investors can be assured of accessing a large pool of youthful and skilful employees at a fair-price, more cost-effective than engaging employees in other parts of the world,” he said.
Funding has been a major challenge confronting many start-ups in the country.