California-based start-up accelerator, Y Combinator (YC) will be in Lagos, Nigeria from the 23rd to 28th of September 2016 on a tour of the Nigerian technology ecosystem. The tour is in line with YC’s Office Hours in 11 countries where YC partners will meet with tech entrepreneurs across the globe to learn how they can be of help to start-up communities and also fund the next big tech start-up.
Recognised as the world’s most powerful start-up incubator, YC has investments in renowned start-ups like Airbnb, Dropbox and Stripe. From 2005 till date, YC has grown into a community of over 2000 talented founders from all over the world and has funded over 1,000 start-ups with recent investments in African start-ups like Paystack, OMG Digital and Flutterwave. “We want to fund the best startups from around the world,” said Qasar Younis, COO of Y Combinator.
The Lagos leg of the Office Hours tour is organised and hosted by Ingressive, an investment group that connects Africa’s top founders with Silicon Valley capital and expertise. The tour is set to begin on the 23rd of September with a speaking event at the fifth edition of Start-Up Friday at the Landmark Event Centre, Victoria Island.
The event is expected to have over 70 investors and 950 tech entrepreneurs in attendance, followed by an investors’ dinner for West African Angels, a visit to Cranium One, a press conference for start-up media, a CcHub luncheon, and a She Leads Africa accelerator brunch.
On this tour, YC will be represented by full-time partner, Michael Seibel, and COO, Qasar Younis. Both Seibel and Younis will also be at an event hosted by TechCircle on Saturday, September 24, 2016, at the Lagos Business School, Lekki. There, they will be sharing knowledge and experience on how to build a successful start-up.
“In the past couple of years we’ve seen a strong increase in Y Combinator applications from Nigeria and we’ve funded a number of great teams and products,” said Seibel, citing Paystack as an example – a Nigerian start-up founded by Shola Akinlade and Ezra Olubi, who are building a developer-friendly payments API (Application programming Interface) for Africa.
Speaking on the potential of the African market as a promising space for foreign investment, Maya Horgan-Famodu, founder of Ingressive said, “the recent successes of African technology companies including iROKO and Interswitch have encouraged foreign investors to get active on the continent.” And that the upcoming visit from YC partners and the recent visit of Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, validates Nigeria’s position as one of the key players in the African technology ecosystem.
With scarcity of capital and lack of relevant experience being major issues in Nigeria’s tech entrepreneurial ecosystem, tech entrepreneurs and investors definitely stand a lot to gain from YC’s visit. And who knows, they just might find the next big tech start-up here in this city.