Silicon Valley-based VC firm and startup accelerator 500 Startups is to kick off its Geeks on a Plane tour of African cities over the weekend, taking startups, investors and executives across Africa to learn about local ecosystems.
Disrupt Africa reported in December 500 Startups, which has around US$200 million in assets under management, had partnered the African Technology Foundation and Ingressive to host the inaugural Geeks on a Plane programme.
Since 2009, Geeks on a Plane has hosted 17 exclusive tours across the globe for startups, investors, and executives to learn about high-growth technology markets, and explore cross-border opportunities for venture creation.
The trip begins on Sunday, March 20, and will see participants visit Lagos, Accra, Johannesburg and Cape Town over a two-week period. In Lagos, from March 19-23, they will engage local thought leaders and ecosystem drivers in a series of curated events and activities.
“The African region is definitely of interest to 500 as we continue to look for and source deals from traditionally underrepresented ecosystems. While we invest 70 per cent in the US, 30 per cent of our deals are spread across 60 different countries currently,” said Dave McClure, founding partner at 500 Startups.
“Through Geeks on a Plane we are looking to build stronger relationships with investors on the ground, maybe even find a few startups to invest in, and have a lot of fun with local nerds.”
Oluseye Soyode-Johnson, regional partner at the African Technology Foundation, said much has been said about Nigeria’s potential to consistently create leading technology ventures with the potential to scale globally.
“This tour will expose the Silicon Valley Geeks to the depth of innovation activities in Lagos, and showcase the diversity of entrepreneurial activities across the continent,” said Soyode-Johnson.