The first quarter of 2014 isn’t over, and three technology startup accelerators have come into the space, engines ablaze.
While some of them have been around for a while, the launches of 440, Leadpath and Passion Incubator within weeks of each other suggests that a fast and furious trend is at play here. Others are sure to follow soon.
Right now, we are aware of six active startup accelerators, and at least one more on the way. Let us introduce them to you, one after the other.
“We are not a fund and we are not an incubator; we are a company that builds companies”, says SPARK’s about page. Yes, yes, so they are an accelerator. One that has raised $3 million in total with which it supports twelve startups.
SPARK’s investments range from $50k – $150k, so between commitments to the startups, infrastructure and overhead, the fund must be approaching the terminal end of its life cycle by now — except they raise more, that is.
Update: Jason Njoku has reached out to say that typical investments are now between $100k – $250k…and that the SPARK fund is “far from terminal”, because they are always fund raising.
The most successful of the SPARK bunch is looking to be Hotels.ng, in spite of having to take on competition from a significantly better funded Rocket Internet counterpart.
Kresten Buch’s 88mph and Chika Nwobi’s L5Labs came together and had a baby. The result was 440, a 1.5 million dollar fund that will deploy into early stage tech startups in Nigeria.
Both bring cash to the table. 88mph brings an international network. L5Labs bring the local startup filter and support infrastructure. 88 will have to prove that they can keep their international patrons motivated by succeeding in Nigeria. L5 will have to prove that they can pick more clear winners after striking it rich with Jobberman.
3. Leadpath Nigeria
You had no idea who these guys were until last week. Neither did I until a couple weeks ago. But anyone with a $1.5 million funding war chest is suddenly a serious contender, as the trio of Olumide Soyombo, Tope Ajao and Kazeem Tewogbade (right to left in the picture), managers of the new Yaba-based accelerator have become.
The accelerator aims to invest anything from $25k to $100k, office space and hands-on business support in return for anything from 20 – 40 percent equity.
Leadpath Nigeria is currently accepting applications for enrolment into its first batch of five startup “Pathfinders”.
An initiative of the Nigerian ministry of communications and technology, TechLaunchpad graduated its first class of tech startups on the 7th of March. All eight received undisclosed amounts of funding during the acceleration period and were given use of the iDEA facility that was opened early in 2013 in Yaba for that purpose, among other things.
Whereas the first edition of the TechLaunchpad accelerator was focused on banking, financial services, oil and gas and enterprise solutions, TechLaunchpad 2.0 is targeting startups that are working on solutions in telecommunications, agriculture and logistics, building and construction and health. Registration is ongoing.
5. Wennovation Hub
Launching on the heels of the Co-Creation Hub, the Wennovation Hub adopted a markedly different approach from the former’s incubator model and is one the earliest if not the first technology startup accelerator in Nigeria. Managed by Wole Odetayo, the accelerator currently operates out of the iDEA Hub in Yaba.
Update: Wole Odetayo is still on the Wennovation board but has ceased to manage its day to day operations. He now works as Operations Manager at iDEA
6. Passion Incubator
Also one of the new accelerator kids on the block, Passion Incubator is offering a 3 month accelerator course to five startups. There is no mention of investment on the website, only talk of access to investors. We’ll be watching keenly to see how things proceed.
7. Savannah Fund
We’ve got it on good authority that like 88mph, the Nairobi-based seed capital fund and accelerator is about to throw its hat into the Nigerian tech startup fray and come to Lagos. In 2015. But before then, they want startups in Nigeria to come over to Nairobi for their three month accelerator programme.
Founded in 2012 by Mbwana Alliy, Erik Hersman and Peter Bragiel, Savannah Fund has invested in nine startups and is currently on its third accelerator class. At $25k a pop (only BiNu has raised more), they’ve barely dented their $10 million fund, so things will still be interesting on that end for some time to come.
Did we miss anything? Let us know.