In recent times, the African tech ecosystem has been on a steady upward trajectory. This year, venture funding on the continent is projected to cross the 7 billion mark with almost a thousand deals, establishing the continent as an outlier in the current global downturn in funding. 

Despite the constant rise in funding—Africa recorded $5.2 billion in funding across 650 deals last year—startups still fail because of limited access to capital, mentorship, and a solid network of support. According to the 2020 Better Africa report, 54% of African startups founded between 2010 and 2018 shut down. 

This year, several companies on the continent, including Kune, Sendy, and Capiter, have struggled with issues like lack of funding, lack of product-market fit, and management issues. To remedy this and support new founders, over 50 African founders have partnered to launch Pando DAO, a community of founders with a mission to accelerate Africa’s startup ecosystem and drive development across the continent. 

Founding members of the community include over 50 founders and early builders from startups across Africa, including the founders of mPharma, Wasoko, Pariti, SunCulture, Africa Health Holdings, Stitch, Marketforce, 54Gene, Mara, VertoFX, Turaco, Raise, Carry1st, Jetstream, and more. These founders represent companies currently valued at over $2B and have raised over $500M in capital. Pando member companies also employ over 10,000 people across 15 African countries. 

The community has also joined Silicon Zanzibar as an official community partner. Silicon Zanzibar is a government initiative launched earlier this year to turn the island into a hub for tech talent and companies. Pandos’ member companies will be supported in opening operations and relocating staff to the island as part of this initiative. 

Additionally, Pando DAO will assist the government of Zanzibar in creating a legal and policy framework that will promote innovation and the island nation’s digital economy, along with a plan to foster the growth of local tech talent. In doing so, it will enable Silicon Zanzibar to serve as a model for digital economic enablement for other African governments. 

The community will also launch a venture capital fund for early-stage tech companies in Africa, which will leverage the expertise and network of its members. There are also plans to open a hub for Pando DAO members and a Pando CEO Summit, which will launch later this year. 

Speaking on the launch of the partnership, Yacob Berhane, CEO and co-founder at Pariti and a founding member of Pando DAO, said, “We are thrilled to be partnering with the government of Zanzibar on this initiative. We believe that through this partnership, we will be able to drive the tech ecosystem in Africa forward, with Zanzibar serving as a key part of that story by attracting tech companies and talent, and developing homegrown companies and talent as well.”

Zanzibar’s Minister of Investment & Economic Development, Mudrick Soraga, said, “We are excited to officially partner with Pando to co-create the policies and initiatives that will transform Zanzibar’s economy. Working with Pando DAO presents us an opportunity to work side-by-side with the leading players in the African tech ecosystem.”

To solidify its claim as the strongest and most impactful founder community on the continent, Pando DAO is only accepting founders that have raised over $2 million to join in its mission to accelerate the African tech ecosystem.

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