Saturday, 2nd December 2023

Nigeria attracts $1 billion tech funds in 2022 as firm secures $3.7m for expansion

By Adeyemi Adepetun
21 June 2023   |   4:04 am
Nigeria is said to have attracted about $1 billion funding to the technology startup ecosystem businesses in 2022.

A typical tech hub

• Country has capacity to attract $10b yearly as tech hubs rise to 150
Nigeria is said to have attracted about $1 billion funding to the technology startup ecosystem businesses in 2022.

This was disclosed yesterday by the Founder of CcHub, Dr. Bosun Tijani, who featured on a television programme to intimate the public about Pan African Youth Innovation Forum 2023, with the theme: “Unleashing Africa’s Innovative Future with Bill Gates,” an hybrid event happening tomorrow, which will feature Microsoft Co-Founder, Bill Gates, among others.
Tijani said the technology ecosystem is fast becoming big and currently has the capacity to attract over $10 billion in funding.

He recalled: “When we started CcHub about 14 years ago, it was difficult for folks to actually get funded. People struggled to find $5000 to back their businesses. But it was then we reached out to a billionaire, who created a fund that is now funding firms across Africa.
“As of last year, Nigeria alone raised over $1 billion in funding technology businesses in the country. But about six years ago, we were struggling seriously to get about $200 million into this economy. This is not from government and I don’t think it is necessarily government’s role to actually fund businesses. Government is to create an enabling environment for investors and investments to come in,”   
Tijani said there has been significant progress over the years, but lots of works still need to be done. He stressed that there are so many things that still need to be done to inspire confidence and drive much more money into the ecosystem.
“Going by the trajectory of what we have seen lately, Nigeria is a country that can be attracting $10 billion to technology companies almost on a yearly basis. For this to happen, we need to plug into innovation communities around. When we started CcHub 14 years back, we were the first in the country and today I think Nigeria has over 150 technology hubs spread across the country, doing amazing things, developing solutions and solving problems. It is about been part of the community because that is where things happen. With that opportunity, one can gain access to resources, know how to build businesses, how to scale them and make them sustainable thereafter. The most important thing is how you eventually gained access to funding,” he stated.

Speaking on the Startup Act, the CcHub boss said it shows that something is happening in the country’s technology ecosystem. He however, said there is still the need to further create the right policies and regulations to back it up because innovation is expensive and intentional.
According to him, the normal law of doing business doesn’t really support innovation, explaining that innovation is not entrepreneurship, “but innovation cannot be completed without innovation. So, the laws that will drive innovation have to be intentional, which is what the Startup Act is all about. In more advanced countries, they have what is called the National Innovation System, the Startup Act needs to be in this regard to be able to strengthen innovation across board, where there are vast opportunities not just for startups but to large corporate, micro businesses, been also able to innovate. This is because when more people innovate, we are going to see more people solve our problems.”
On the programme, where Gates will be addressing the technology ecosystem, Tijani said the forum is the gathering of some of the brilliant people on the Continent, especially those based in Nigeria, to be to be led by the Microsoft boss, who is highly inspirational and has been committed to developing people.
He said the idea behind the forum is to bring young people together, to innovate and help us develop solutions that can help solve some of the world’s problems through science and technology.
On his part, the MBA Director, Lagos Business School (LBS), Chinedum Ewuzie, said the school is partnering CcHub on the forum because a major function of the LBS is to create programmes and also platforms.

Ewuzie said the forum is a platform for likes mind to come discuss issues around the globe. He said the expected outcome include knowledge transfer, “we all know that the industry has grown, so also is science and technology. It has driven out innovation in Nigeria and across Africa. The question now becomes how do you turn these things into sustainable businesses and that is the question we are trying to answer by bringing people together to discuss knowledge, investments and partnership.  How you can build businesses, get funding. It is basically how to build a sustainable business.”

On the outcome of the conference, he said by design, the programme is hybrid, which will be broadcasted across the whole world. According to him, there are other opportunities including investments, because so many people are coming together to discuss issues.
According to him, the challenges in Nigeria are not unique to the country, but the fact remains that the industry is growing, which is an opportunity for youths to come and learning new things.
Speaking on the Startup Act, Ewuzie said the law has been signed and it is hoped that it will improve access to funding and attract more players in the industry.
“One key thing for the industry is actually the need to have a balance ecosystem of innovators, investors and governments. There is also the importance of guidance in business decision making,” he stated.

MEANWHILE, a startup, Eze, a wholesale marketplace for used and new electronics, has secured $3.7 million in seed funding to develop its technology infrastructure, broaden its product offering and expand into new markets in Africa, Europe and South America. Right Side Capital Management led the funding round, with participation from C2 Ventures, Boro Capital, EVPI Investments and other angel investors.

The global market for consumer electronics is projected to grow to reach $1.70 trillion by 2028, driven by rising disposable incomes of consumers, the growing tendency towards digitization and the increasing utility of personal electronic devices such as smartphones, wearables and other devices.

However, the process of buying and selling these devices in wholesale quantities still remains heavily manual, especially in emerging markets. This heavily manual process leads to various inefficiencies and adds to the cost burden for buyers which they typically pass on to consumers, raising the barrier to access potentially life changing products.

Headquartered in Los Angeles, California, Eze connects thousands of buyers across the world to used and new smartphones, laptops, tablets and other electronics. Buyers can purchase from the largest electronics inventory repository in the world with over 200,000 SKUs available at any time and have their orders delivered as quickly as the next day, depending on where they are ordering.

According to CEO and co-founder of Eze, Josh Nzewi, “Our mission is to power unfettered access to consumer electronics across the world, enabling users to maximise their potential with the experiences provided by these devices. We are thrilled to have the support of our investors, and we look forward to using this funding to enhance our platform and provide even more value to our customers. Our goal remains to become the go-to destination for B2B buyers and sellers in the electronics industry, especially in emerging markets, and this investment will help us achieve that goal.”

“We believe that Eze has the potential to revolutionise the wholesale electronics marketplace,” said Chris Cunningham of C2 Ventures. “Their platform is user-friendly, with integrations that enable an excellent buyer experience. We are excited to support them in their expansion journey.”