Valentine’s is fast approaching and so is the race to win people’s hearts with gifts. For many, the outcome of February 14 will decide if Christmas this year will be celebrated wearing matching pyjamas, or joining unnamed Zikoko team members blocking and muting words like “love” and “me and mines” later. 

For Christmas, we gave you a guide to help you navigate gifting during the holiday season. Now we’ve created this one to help you navigate Valentine’s. 

There’s tech in everything, even gift-giving. If you’re looking to steer clear of basic gifts like one-time food platters that will be consumed in single sittings, this is the guide for you. For example, James Wardle created a $1 million game—Wordle—for his partner who loved video games. Locket, an app that helps users share their photos to their friends’/lovers’ home screens, was built by Matt Moss as a present for his girlfriend. Even Zoom was the product of a founder who wanted to connect with his girlfriend long distance. 

Last year, the African tech ecosystem raised a whopping $4 billion+ so we know things are working. As we invest and build more startups, it’s also important to invest and build relationships. And that’s why you should move away from chocolates and roses to…

1. Professional courses

Level: Series C

If you can’t build your partner apps The New York Times will later buy for millions of dollars, at least enrol them in courses where they can learn to build, design, market or manage those apps—for themselves or future lovers. 🤭

There are a few online schools where you can pay for courses like software engineering, design, product management, marketing, or content creation. Check out AltSchool, Moringa School, Decagon Institute, Coursera, and Pluralsight

You should also sign them up for TC Daily, a daily newsletter that can give your lover comprehensive insight into tech. 

We’re always talking about getting more people into tech. Use this Valentine’s and help people kick-start their journey into tech. 

Price range: > $99 

We’ve labelled this a Series C-type gift because it’s a long-term investment beneficial to all involved. It’s expensive but also profitable in the long run. Unless, of course, the giftee gets acquired by another gifter. 💀

2. Music streaming subscriptions

Level: Seed

Valentine's gift music streaming
Image source:

This one is a given. 

Music heals our body, soul, and mind. It’s also one of the greatest ways to connect with people. Over the past 5 years, the growth of streaming services—indigenous and foreign—has doubled.

For Valentine’s, get your loved ones subscriptions on Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube Music, and Boomplay

Price range:  $2 – $4 (for Individual plans)

We’re labelling this a seed-type gift because, any way you dice it, you’re sowing seeds. You’re either sowing seeds of “This is how we chose our wedding songs”, or breakfast seeds that will lead to many Adele playlists. Happy planting. 🌱

3. Video streaming subscriptions

Level: Seed

Valentine's gift video streaming
Image source: The Streamable

Ever heard of Netflix and Chill? Well, here’s how you can someday build up to that: get them video streaming subscriptions for Valentine’s Day. 

With multiple plans to choose from, Iroko TV and Netflix have been giving us really amazing African content in the past few years. 

Get a Nollywood lover an Iroko or Netflix subscription for Valentine’s. 

Price range: From $7 (+ Free basic Netflix plans in Kenya)

This is also a seed-type gift because it’s affordable and useful if things go sideways. Renewing the subscriptions marks the token of your shared love, and not renewing can be a new way to end the relationship, instead of ghosting. 

4. Data subscriptions

Level: Pre-seed

Data is life. And the more of it you have, the more you can access information available online. Data on the continent is still relatively expensive, and in some countries, people can pay as much as $7 for 1GB of data. 

All the digital gifts we’ve listed above are data-dependent so make sure you’re getting your loved ones access to the gifts you give. 

With data, people can stream as many movies and videos as they possibly can.  Log on to your MTN, Safaricom, Airtel, or Ethio Telecom services and gift your loved one gigabytes of data.

Price range: From < $1 

This is the only pre-seed gift here because you can decide how much or how little you want to invest here. 

5. Home services

Level: Series C

Image source: Yung Nollywood

What’s better than one-time food platters? Daily food packages that trump the time-consuming activity of cooking. 

There’s tech in everything, and that includes automating home services like laundry and cooking.

Startups like Eden Life have created platforms where you can subscribe to monthly packages for laundry, cooking and cleaning services. If you’re going to go with the food option for Valentine’s, then go all the way. 

Price range: From $50

This is labelled Series C because it’s also a long-term gift. Every time your loved one eats or steps into clean rooms and clothes, they’ll think of you and how much you’ve made their lives easier. 

6. Crypto

Level: Series C

10 types of cryptocurrencies you should know
Image source: Corporate Compliance Insights

Roses are red, violets are blue. Crypto is here, and its promise is true. 

We don’t need to talk much about crypto. Like your relationships, it has its ups and downs, 💀 but that’s what makes us love it. 

For Valentine’s, add to your loved one’s crypto stash and help them build their way into digital wealth. There are many cryptocurrencies to choose from, like bitcoin, ethereum, and doge. And if you’re worried about the chances of the coins depreciating, remember that even your relationship is a gamble. 

Get on BuyCoins, Yellow Card, Quidax, Nestcoin, or Bitsika to mine your way into people’s hearts.  

Price range: From $1 (invest as required).

This is a Series C gift because it’s long-term for both of you. If the relationship dips, you can take comfort in knowing that whenever crypto dips, so will your ex’s happiness. 

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Timi Odueso Senior Editor, Newsletters

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