Lagos, Nigeria – 2017 was a record-breaking year for African start-ups. According to research from Disrupt Africa, $195.1 million in venture capital funding was invested in African start-ups compared to $129.1 million in 2016 – an increase of 51%. With $63.3 million in startup investments in 2017, Nigeria was the top investment destination in Africa followed by South Africa and Kenya. As Nigeria continues to emerge as a technology hub, one thing is clear – women are missing on the playing field. Of the 25% of women in tech, only 21% are tech executives and of these, only 11% are African technology officers. Currently, more than half of global executives report a shortfall of tech workers which slows or prevents businesses from growing. As Nigeria moves full-speed ahead towards a technology-driven future, a capable and well-represented tech workforce will be critical to ensure continued economic growth across all sectors and industries. In addition to being under-represented in the tech space, women are also severely under-funded. In 2017, women-led start-ups received just 2.2% of all available venture capital dollars although women-led start-ups have been found to produce over 30% higher return on equity.
The first of its kind in Nigeria, GreenHouse Lab is a three-month accelerator focused solely on early-stage, women-led technology start-ups in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as African run start-ups domiciled in the US or UK with products that are scalable in African markets. The application portal for the 2018 cohort opens on July 2, 2018 at www.greenhouse.capital/greenhouselab and closes on July 20.
GreenHouse Lab is run by GreenHouse Capital, an investment holding company within Venture Garden Group (VGG) – a leading provider of innovative, data-driven, end-to-end technology platforms to solve real socio-economic challenges in impact sectors critical to sustainable economic development. As one of Africa’s leading technology focused venture capital firms, GreenHouse Capital is uniquely positioned to offer expertise, a strong investor and mentor network and resources to grow strong companies. Over the past three years, GreenHouse has invested in 15 companies and combined, they’ve raised $40M in capital.
According to Tosin Durotoye, Director of GreenHouse Lab, “without women at the tech table, we’ll fail to tap into the vast brainpower and opportunity for innovation necessary to propel Nigeria and Africa as a whole, forward. Our mission at GreenHouse Lab is to level the playing field by providing early-stage, women-led, high-growth technology start-ups with investments and support infrastructure within the range of 250k USD and provide exceptional teams with the resources and mentorship network they need to drive growth and scale their companies both in emerging and international markets.”
GreenHouse Lab features an intensive curriculum delivered in-person and virtually and leverages existing entrepreneurship education frameworks focused on a variety of key topics including, but not limited to, product development, market segmentation, human capital, marketing, and fundraising. Other channels of engagement include weekly lunch presentations, guest lectures, and office hours with the Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIRs).
The program is residential and will be hosted at Vibranium Valley – VGG’s tech campus in Lagos. The accelerator ends with a demo day where companies get to pitch their businesses to a wide network of local and international investors. As a VC firm with a portfolio of companies, GreenHouse Capital will also invest a minimum of 100k USD in companies that qualify and reach specific milestones at the end of the program.
GreenHouse Lab seeks companies with the right team to build a successful company and as such, will select startups that are extremely passionate about their chosen vertical and demonstrate the necessary commitment to build the company of their dreams. Each start-up must have at least one woman on their leadership team which should consist of at least two members and at least one technical member. Beyond this, eligible companies must be early-stage, investment-ready tech startups that have identified a critical need in Africa and are building an effective, sustainable and scalable solution. Each company must have developed, at a minimum, a beta-product and be in the process of refining their go-to-market strategy, building out sales channels and generating revenue.
The three-month accelerator begins in mid-August and ends in mid-November. Selected start-ups will be required to commit full-time to the program.
Interested applicants may apply from today onwards at http://greenhouse.capital/greenhouselab.