Microsoft, in partnership with 88mph, has announced the expansion of the Microsoft Ventures programme into Nigeria, aimed at improving startup productivity.
Part of the 4Afrika Initiative, the programme offers tools, resources, expertise and routes to markets around the world, and follows the first African launch of Microsoft Ventures in Kenya in October of last year, again through partnership with 88mph.
“There is a great opportunity to further develop the startup ecosystem in Nigeria and drive innovation,” says Amrote Abdella, director of startup engagement and partnerships at Microsoft Africa Initiatives.
“By expanding Microsoft Ventures into Nigeria, we hope to reinvent productivity for startups. This means equipping them with the technology that puts their businesses first, by providing affordable devices, cloud-based software and pay-as-you-go models, that enable anytime-anywhere access.”
Startups will be selected based on globally established criteria, which include having a full-time founding team, a bold vision for tackling a real problem, technology-driven solutions and less than US$1 million raised.
“While working with Microsoft in Kenya, we found we were very aligned on finding businesses that deliver value to consumers, helping bring them to profitability, and hopefully getting more investors interested in web and mobile businesses,” said Kresten Buch, managing director of 88mph.
88mph, which has also run programmes in South Africa, already has a presence in Nigeria, having in February launched a joint venture with L5Lab to form 440.ng.
The programme held its Demo Day earlier this week, with the participating startups pitching their products and services to the investor audience.
“It’s still early days here and not a lot of players in this space, so we are thrilled that Microsoft wants to support our efforts here as well,” Buch said.
“88mph is a leader in a region where entrepreneurship is thriving and a great source of economic good. The Microsoft Ventures team is proud to be partnering with them in Nigeria and we hope to contribute to the success of 88mph, the startups they support, and the country as a whole,” said Cliff Reeves, senior director of Microsoft Ventures.
One Nigerian startup has already benefitted from the partnership, mobile games company Gamsole.