Nigeria’s Passion Incubator rethinks model


Nigeria’s Passion Incubator has reformatted its model to focus on partnerships and thought leadership as it looks to achieve sustainability.

Launched in Lagos in 2014, Passion Incubator was founded to support high potential startups at an early stage, and accelerated the likes of Talking Bookz, WaraCake, MedRep, and BeatTraffik.

Things got put on hold as co-founder Olufunbi Falayi joined iDEA Nigeria, taking Passion Incubator’s startups with him, but he is now back as the incubator focuses on sustainability via its LeadSpace co-working space and by attracting a better quality of startup.

“With this renewed focus on better quality founders with an ability to execute and build a strong team around them, we started looking for founder teams that met this profile. We have since invested in Riby and AdsDirect. Both startups have awesome founders and in both instances, we came in as their first institutional investor,” Falayi said.

“Since Passion Incubator’s investment, both startups now have solid revenue and both have attracted follow-on investors.”

Falayi also revealed the incubator’s plans for the next year, with revolve around partnerships.

“Over the years Passion Incubator had developed a couple of important partner relationships where Passion Incubator designed and ran special incubation cohorts on behalf of its partners with great success. As a result of our learnings, we have now decided to develop our Innovation Consulting business and, as its core, our Corporate Innovation Practice,” he said.

“With this new model, we can now work with corporates, government agencies, international donors, embassies and universities to co-design and implement incubation and acceleration programmes.”

Passion Incubator has already piloted this model with the Innovating Justice Accelerator, as well as the the Delft University of Technology (TUDelft), the Dutch Embassy in Nigeria and The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) to implement the Dutch-Nigerian Student Business Challenge.

“Our newly formed consulting business  –  Passion Consulting Services – will be launching primary research effort to determine the Future of Work in Africa. The report seeks to find the type of jobs that would be available in Africa in the next decades, how and where people will work and most importantly, what Africa needs to do to prepare its future workforce for high performance. This research study is supported by Accenture, Dalberg, Facebook and Union Bank,” Falayi said.

Passion Incubator is also involved in the Fastforward Student Innovation Fund.

“We are fully aware of the scale of our ambitions for the next phase of work that Passion Incubator will be embarking on, and we will be collaborating with even more partners than we have over the past few years,” said Falayi.

“It’s been a rough, exciting and extremely rewarding ride. We are proud of our contributions to the Nigerian tech startup ecosystem. We have learnt valuable lessons along the way and look forward to working harder and smarter going forward.”


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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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