TechInAfrica – Itanna, a corporate venture capital platform supported by Honeywell Group. It’s a platform purposed to support tech startups through investment and mentorship programs, nurturing their ideas, visions, expertise, as well as resources.
Itanna invests in the early stage of tech businesses, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. The company offers two ways of investment: through a direct investment and through an accelerator program. The accelerator program will support selected tech startups with financial investment as well as business insights from experts to boost business growth.
Itanna was established as a Honeywell Group’s innovation as well as long-term strategy. Through Itanna’s accelerating program, startups will be provided with some training and mentorship through UI/UX sessions, workshops, technology expansion classes, business and marketing, as well as reviews of revenue model and operational metrics. Meanwhile, during the program course, the startups will hear some success stories and take lessons from business experts.
The Itanna’s Accelerator Program has two kinds of criteria: primary and secondary. The main criteria are public while the secondary is private and the company’s secret key. The main criteria include:
- Startups with a potential market to expand across the continent
- Startups with strong and clear vision, technical capability, high integrity, and sector knowledge among other skills.
- Startups with a launched Minimum Viable Product (MPV) to measure their user growth or partnerships.
According to Tony Idugboe, the Vice President, Head of Investment of Itanna, there are four main areas of Nigerian ICT startup sector that need improvement the most, including:
- Potential talents. Identifying and attracting talents is one of the biggest challenges in the ICT startups sector. Most talents prefer to work for larger companies where they’re paid higher for their service. Consequently, ICT entrepreneurs have to spend an expensive cost to find qualified and good talent.
- Capital funding. The growth of startups in Nigeria’s ICT sector relies on capital funding. However, it’s still a major challenge for startups since obtaining funding is not an easy task. Therefore, Honeywell Group with its Itanna’s platform trying to address this.
- Regulations. The regulations made by the Nigerian government is one of the biggest challenges facing ICT startups. Many government regulations put tech startups at a disadvantage. It seems like the regulations don’t have a full understanding of how technology can bring positive impacts on Nigerians’ lives
- The basic infrastructure like power and electricity, roads, and internet infrastructure are fairly poor in Nigeria resulting in a high cost of doing businesses. Therefore, startups have to work really hard to grow and develop their business while facing the challenge.