440.ng to run “Deal Weekend” in Lagos

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Nigeria-focused startup investment fund 440.ng, a joint venture between L5Lab and 88mph, has announced Deal Weekend Lagos, a 24-hour event that will see startups compete for equity investment of between US$100,000 and US$250,000.

Startups can apply now until August 13 to take part in the event on September 4-5, with 440.ng saying it guarantees at least one deal will be signed in the 24 hours and startups will receive mentorship from respected investors in the ecosystem.

Investors confirmed so far are 88mph founder Kresten Buch, Chika Nwobi of L5Lab and Bastian Gotter of iROKO, with more to be confirmed soon.

440.ng held its maiden accelerator programme in Lagos last year, investing in nine startups, but said the decision to this year focus on Deal Weekend was borne out of the experience startups do best when they have investors who are experienced entrepreneurs.

“The startups we look at are often small teams who lack experience and the network necessary to quickly grow their businesses,” said Buch. “They often struggle to focus on their product and customers due to the multitude of other things that need time and attention, like admin tasks, office related issues and finding follow-on investment.”

According to 440.ng, Deal Weekend will ensure vetting, investing, and oversight of multiple startups’ accounts and actions can be more structured, with investors able to discuss deals with other like-minded investors. It will also allow startups more freedom and time to independently pursue an agreed direction, reaching out to investors how and when they see fit.

88mph pursued a similar path in South Africa this year, deciding against running a three-month accelerator and instead opting for a slimmed down DealWeek. It is not clear whether any investments were made during the week, but in June 88mph announced it was taking a break from investing in African startups.

“Besides capital, one of the biggest needs of startups is access to experienced mentors, we are bringing together an all-star set of mentors from different backgrounds to help our startups,” said Nwobi.

“The selected startups will be at the frontier of the evolving mobile/web industry in Nigeria. Their businesses will use mobile/web technology to scale and disrupt traditional businesses, and target African consumers. They will be a part of creating a new generation of tech giants,” said Buch.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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