Nest opens Paris office to provide African startups with access to Europe


Early-stage VC firm Nest has launched operations in Paris in a bid to help early-stage French businesses in their pursuit of success and growth, while also offering Africa-based entrepreneurs access to potentially lucrative markets in Western Europe.

Disrupt Africa reported in July Nest, which services early-stage, high growth businesses, opened an office in Nairobi, which the company will use to roll out accelerator programmes and invest in startups across Africa.

It has already been busy in the months since, partnering co-working spaces Nairobi Garage and Cape Town Garage to offer startups a “soft landing” when visiting Hong Kong, and inviting African startups to apply to join its smart cities accelerator in Hong Kong.

Two African companies – Kenya’s SuperFluid and South Africa’s Creditable – are already taking part in another Hong Kong programme, held in conjunction with DBS Bank.

The Paris office, which will be headed-up by managing partner Ethan Pierse, will enable French startups to develop their offering and scale rapidly through sharing its knowledge, providing access to funding and facilitating connections with other successful entrepreneurs, including those from Africa.

“Nest has a strong track record of accelerating startups that scale globally and certainly throughout Asia. Launching in Paris – we are creating a pathway for startups from Africa to scale not just to Asia but also Europe. This will support Africa’s most capable entrepreneurs with the ambition to internationalize their businesses,” said Aaron Fu Nest Africa managing partner.

Pierse said the French startup scene had developed rapidly over the past two years and now is the optimal time for Nest to help startups reach their maximum potential through access to their global resources.

“Currently there are more than 50 accelerators and incubators and hundreds of co-working spaces in Paris plus the city is a focal point for European venture funding,” he said.

“We believe that Nest’s extensive global network and access to Asian capital will add another element to the entrepreneurial community here.”

Disrupt Africa reported in June the French government announced the Tech Ticket programme, aimed at persuading international entrepreneurs in the startup or scale-up phases to take their businesses to Paris.

Successful applicants will receive EUR12,500 (US$13,880) per founding team member, fast-tracked French residency, mentorship and incubation including workspace, and help in integrating into French life.

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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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