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Two major ecosystem builders in the region, GrowthLab and Seedstars are joining forces to open up Seedspace GrowthLab, an exclusive platform for entrepreneurs and executives in Africa to collaborate and learn.

Lagos, Nigeria – July 25th, 2019 –  GrowthLab, formerly known as Starta, a membership platform for educating entrepreneurs in Africa on how to build high growth business, has partnered with Seedstars, the leading emerging market startup community and investor, to launch Seedspace GrowthLab on September 20, 2019.

Located in the brand new business centre at Circle Mall, it is the second Seedspace location in the city and an exclusive platform for entrepreneurs and executives in Africa who are committed to building high growth businesses in Africa.

Globally, there are currently 14,411  coworking spaces today. The number of coworking members will rise to 3.8 million by 2020 and 5.1 million by 2022.  In Africa, over 250 coworking spaces have sprung up in the last 3 years and Nigeria has not been left out. However, this evolution is not a perfect reflection of the fast-growing startup ecosystem in the region, as African entrepreneurs structurally need more than co-working space to grow. That’s why Seedspace Growthlab was conceived; to help birth more inclusive and interconnected spaces where corporate and startups can learn, collaborate and grow.

In total, African startups raised a record $725.6 million across 458 deals in 2018, according to WeeTracker. More specifically, Nigerian startups raised $17.6m in Q1 2019, a 8.5% raise compared to Q1 2018.

As the capital raising rounds get larger and larger, the ecosystem is quickly entering a more mature phase. Indeed, there is increasing confidence by ecosystem builders and capital providers that these companies and their founders are capable of delivering returns. For the past few years, Nigeria has steadily attracted around a third of all startup funds available in the continent. To keep the momentum growing, Seedstars announced the launch of its Seedstars Africa Ventures in April, in partnership with First Growth Ventures. The sub-Saharan Africa fund targeting $100mn will make early-stage minority investments from USD 250,000 to USD 5 million in the most promising and innovative ventures across sectors and countries. The fund is expected to make its first investments by the end of this year.

When it comes to African ecosystems, according to StartupBlink (a 2018 global startup ecosystem map with tens of thousands of registered startups, coworking spaces and accelerators in 100 countries and 1000 cities), South Africa ranks first on the continent and 51st globally. Kenya is ranked 52, Nigeria at 56, Egypt at 60, Rwanda at 64, Morocco at 65, Tunisia at 74, Ghana at 75, Uganda at 81, Cameroon at 84 Botswana at 90, Zambia at 92, Algeria at 99 and Ethiopia at 100.
Lagos ranks at 99, as the very first African city (in front of Cape Town and Johannesburg). An encouraging sign that the environment is improving drastically.

Alessia Balducci, General Manager for Seedspace Lagos, states “As Seedstars started looking at emerging markets, Nigeria has always been a country of primary interest. I joined the Lagos team in 2017 and since then I have been amazed at the great opportunities and interactions with the local startups and innovation ecosystem. It’s great to see the drive to grow and have an impact through innovation and entrepreneurship. I think this partnership embodies just that drive for us to come together and do something that matters.”

African entrepreneurs still face many challenges: from the cost of talent, inadequate infrastructure, lack of affordable broadband internet, unreliable power supply, market maturity, to fundraising know-how and funding availability. All these elements have had a constraining effect on the growth of Nigerian (and African) tech companies.

However, ecosystem builders like Seedspace Growthlab are necessary to support this evolution. VC4A research on 3,360 ventures shows a clear relationship between venture performance and the support these ventures receive from the Nigerian startup ecosystem. For example, companies participating in ecosystem support programs are 23% more successful in securing investment, and are more likely to be generating new jobs.

Dotun Olowoporoku, Co-Founder and Non-executive Director at GrowthLab, states: “We founded Starta on a simple idea of supporting entrepreneurs who are building high growth businesses in Africa with the relevant content, community and connection to capital that will help them succeed. GrowthLab is the next logical step to achieve what we set out to do since 2016. This partnership with Seedspace takes us several steps closer to that goal.”

Through its growth-driven platform and programmes (like the Investment Readiness Program or GrowthLab e-learning and membership platform), Seedstars and Growthlab are empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs and executives in Nigeria and Africa to identify their true north, build high growth businesses, get access to investment and a global network of mentors and experts.

Being part of the largest network of campuses for entrepreneurs in emerging markets, Seedspace GrowthLab is the 13th hub by Seedstars in more than 10 cities around the world including: Abidjan, Bogota, Cairo, Cape Town, Casablanca, Dar es Salaam, Geneva, Lima, Medellin, Mexico City, Nur-Sultan, and Yangon.

Besides the upcoming opening of the hub, Seedstars is also ecstatic to host the Amazon AWS Startup Day in the new Seedspace GrowthLab on August 20th. The event is open to the public and registrations can be done through this link.

Moreover, Lagos will proudly host the seventh edition of the Seedstars World local competition on October 18th, inviting all the local early-stage startups to run up for the prize of USD 500,000 awarded at the Seedstars Global Summit in Switzerland in April 2020. Applications are already open through this link.

To engage with Seedspace Growthlab, interested parties can write to or contact Alessia Balducci.

Featured Image Source: Medium

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This article was first published on 15th August 2019

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