Why Lagos, Nigeria is Still The Best Place to Launch Your Tech Startup in Africa

Lagos - tech startups

 

Population: over 20 million.
Commercial capital of West Africa.
Founding city of former tech startups, now Pan-African names [think Jumia, Konga, iRoko].
Home to the largest network of angel investors for tech startups on the continent (Lagos Angel Network).
Optical fiber through Herbert Macauley Way, Yaba.
Incubator to some of Africa’s most successful tech startups.

The list goes on and on.

Lagos, Nigeria – megalopolis growing so fast, it’s already running into some of the problems New York and London face: it’s getting pretty expensive. Regardless, there’s a lot of room for even more tech startups. Every major tech conference in Nigeria either starts in Lagos or has roots there and while there isn’t an exclusive reserve to smart people in Lagos, it’s just easier to find talent there.

Still not convinced?

Let me go on…

LAN  - tech startupsLagos tech startup support:
The Lagos Angel Network (LAN), owned by Collins Onuegbu has invested early seed funding in 10  tech startup companies since its inception in 2014. The network provides not only funding, but “Mentoring and handholding are a key part of our investment” says Onuegbu. Sproxil, Pass.ng and Codeware are just a few beneficiaries from the support provided by LAN. “There is a lot of space to grow and our objective goes beyond investing to helping build this startup ecosystem,” says Onuegbu. Nigeria’s first startup incubator – “Co-Creation Hub” is home to over 50 tech startups. CcHub announced a $5 million social innovation fund to mark its fifth anniversary. The fund is meant to offer support for early-stage social enterprises solving local problems across various sectors of the Nigerian economy. Capital Square offers coworking space for budding tech startups with the essentials – wifi, desks, meeting rooms, office and event spaces. All these support structures for tech startups are currently the best in any African country.

Lagos population  - tech startupsLagos population:
20 million people provide fertile ground for a myriad of ideas in Lagos. When you have an audience that large, the possibilities as regards services to provide and products to develop are all but limitless. The Lagos population cuts across several demographics – from children to young people in high schools and universities to the working class and even the elite. More people means more organizations which in turn means more events in virtually every sector and more opportunities to reach an audience through them. Fashion, food, trading, education and event management are just a tip of the iceberg, ready and waiting to be exploited by tech startup companies.

Lagos Main One Fiber optic cable - tech startups
Former CBN governor Sanusi tours Main One landing station, Lagos

Lagos internet infrastructure:
It’s not possible to have a successful tech startup culture without robust internet access, and this has proven a major challenge, plaguing tech startups across Africa. Lagos has way too many fiber optic internet providers in the city. The fiber optics available at Yaba, the centre of the Lagos tech movement certainly makes broadband internet access easier. Tech companies in the city have projects focused on harvesting these infrastructures. A perfect example is CcHub’s i-HQ project. According to its dedicated site, the i-HQ Project is an industry-led initiative that aims to accelerate the growth of technology innovation and entrepreneurship for economic prosperity in Nigeria. The project will leverage the innovation assets within the technology cluster located around Herbert Macaulay Way, Yaba in building an ‘innovation city’ – a hotspot for creative ventures where all key stakeholders (academics, industry and government) find adequate infrastructure, resources and an enabling environment to thrive while collaborating.

While the Lagos tech startup scene is still relatively young, its future is very bright indeed. The combination of tech infrastructure, a population that provides just about any demographic you could possibly target and the support for tech startups involving funding and mentorship makes Lagos, Nigeria not just fertile ground for your tech startup, but the most startup-friendly scene in Africa.

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