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Big opportunity for tech start-up support on the African continent

Deon Lewis10 April 2017: Tech start-ups in South Africa together with, Nigeria and Kenya remain the top three most attractive destinations for investors on the continent, followed by Egypt and Ghana, according to the Disrupt Africa’s second Tech Start-ups Funding Report for 2016. This report displays comprehensive data on the tech investment ecosystem across the continent which notes that African tech start-ups raised almost US$130 million in funding in 2016.

 

The report noted that Fin-tech became the most popular sector for tech investment in 2016, with start-ups in that space raising 24 per cent of the overall total, the report says. Agri-tech ventures are reported as the fastest growing sector.

 

“Funders and corporates are acknowledging the huge growth potential these ventures hold in bringing critical services to previously unserved or underserved Africans,” says Deon Lewis Co-founder and CEO of Futureneers™, a South African based start-up accelerator and venture capital company. “There has been great investment in telecommunication infrastructure on the continent which is fuelling the development of technology that meets important needs. This is the gap that many innovative and resourceful entrepreneurs are filling.”

 

Futureneers™ specialises in attracting, mentoring and fast-tracking start-ups in order to eventually scale them for international growth, according to their global bridge model. The company also renders these services on behalf of several corporate and private investors who see potential in the African tech start-up sector.

 

Although Futureneers™ agrees with the findings of the report, Lewis says that the education space should not be underestimated. “In our view Ed-tech will become the next Fin-tech in terms of the most invested sector,” says Lewis. “On a continent where 30 million children miss out on primary school education yet there is 73% mobile phone penetration, there is little question that the fusing of technology with education in Africa has the potential to expand the educational horizons of millions. The question is just how to implement that in challenging and varied local contexts.”

 

Lewis adds that Bill Gates, through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has already poured billions of dollars, into what he calls the “future of learning” – and Mark Zuckerberg recently announced a new US$50 million Ed-tech investment. Both with a big push towards personalised learning for African students. Other investors are surely to follow notes Lewis.

 

“The growing interest and activity in African venture capital signifies an evolving and expanding opportunity for investors and entrepreneurs to make good on the opportunities in this space as well as provide much needed jobs and economic development to local economies,” concludes Lewis.

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