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Ampion, Plutos Ventures Launch New Venture for Africa-focused Start-ups

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Africa-focused Ampion and Berlin-based Plutos Ventures Holding announced the founding of Ampion Ventures.

The goal of the new project is to build scalable digital business models in selected African countries by providing seed capital and strategic expertise support. Plutos Ventures will provide Ampion Ventures with its first seed financing.

Ampion Ventures is led by Fabian-Carlos Guhl, founder of the non-profit organization Ampion.org. Guhl has been working for years on the African continent with founders and early-stage start-ups.

Through his very successful start-up bus, with which he has travelled through more than 16 African countries and coached and supported founders in the development of digital business models, Guhl has been able to build up a large network of founders and start-ups in different African countries.

Together with Plutos, Ampion is now taking the next logical step to build digital business models in Africa.

“With Ampion it was our mission from the very beginning to initiate technological development in the African continent and thus contribute to the well-being of the African people and the continent’s economic development.

“Now is the right time to further develop our model and scale selected business models. With Plutos Ventures, we are pleased to have an experienced investor on board who will support us strategically in addition to providing capital,” said Fabian-Carlos Guhl, Managing Director Ampion Ventures GmbH.

“With Ampion and the start-up bus, Fabian and his team have demonstrated how strong their network is on the African continent and how immensely the will to found start-ups is there. Now, it is a matter of establishing true digital business models to support the development of the African economy,” Oliver Riebartsch, Managing Director Plutos Ventures GmbH.

Over the past six years, Ampion has supported over 80 start-ups in 16 African countries with the help of partners such as MTN, SAP, Merk, Microsoft and international development cooperation institutions.

One of the many success stories, for example, is the Nigerian fintech start-up, Accounteer, a smart cloud accounting platform that is now one of the leading accounting software systems in Nigeria and recently secured investment from Meltwater, a US investor.

The founder of Accounteer is Merijn Campsteyn and the co-founder Gbolade Emmanuel, an Ampion Alumnus who has turned his vision into reality and now co-leads one of Nigeria’s most successful tech start-ups.

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MainOne Pledges N25billion to Digitization of Lagos

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MainOne has launched its “Digital Lagos: Broadband for All” campaign initiative to enable the digital transformation of Lagos state through deployment of ubiquitous broadband infrastructure across the state.

MainOne’s ambition for Lagos is inspired by the vision of Lagos Governor-elect Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who noted presciently that “Technology will improve the rule of law, education, ease of doing business and government processes of Lagos”.

At the campaign launch organized in Lagos to announce its plans earlier in the week, Funke Opeke, Chief Executive Officer, MainOne, said, the company is keen to collaborate with the Lagos State Government and all other relevant stakeholders to build Digital Lagos and help citizens from all walks of life realize the benefits of broad, sustainable economic growth, modernized education, health, and other services delivery, and improved quality of life.

“MainOne is pleased to have the opportunity to present its plan for Digital Lagos, a proven path to ubiquitous broadband connectivity. This plan will involve the investment by MainOne of over N25 billion over the next 2-3 years to develop critical fiber optic infrastructure to enable broadband services across Lagos state,” she said.

A presentation was made by Mr. Judah Levine, CEO HIP Consult, a Washington DC based, independent, management consulting firm with specialization in ICT in emerging markets. HIP Consult worked with MainOne in developing a concept paper and implementation plan for Digital Lagos. Mr. Levine touched on the research done for Digital Lagos, its implementation plans and subsequent impact in Lagos State.

Opeke said MainOne has pioneered investments in critical internet-enabling infrastructure across West Africa, Nigeria, and Lagos. To date, the company has invested over N120 billion funded by leading African banks and has proven its capabilities in expanding and densifying localized fiber networks in neighboring Ogun and Edo States by deploying almost 1,000kms of fiber in partnership with Facebook to expand broadband access and connect government institutions and other areas of interest.

Opeke said, as the licenced InfraCo for Lagos zone, the resulting network to be built by MainOne would provide essential connectivity to critical State institutions, cover over 300 government agencies, up to 10,000 State CCTV locations, Telecom operators and ISPs, public Wi-Fi hotspots, Smart City components / IOT devices, in addition to Enterprises.

In Lagos, MainOne’s existing 700-kilometer network already covers major population centers and Yaba, where it provides connectivity for the majority of the Yabacon ecosystem and has connected startups like Andela, ccHub, Paga, and Flutterwave and others that have raised up to USD500million Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Nigeria.

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How to Accelerate the Growth of Your Startup

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By Adeniyi Ogunfowoke,

Launching a startup is one thing; accelerating growth and expanding it is an entirely different challenge. While patience is certainly a virtue, it’s not necessarily the best skill for entrepreneurs to adopt. Instead, the focus should be on rapid growth, return on investment and long-term success. How do you accelerate or boost the growth of your business? The following tips offer some insights.

Monetize early

Monetization may be the most important aspect for all startups. Many founders battle with the idea of whether to build an audience or monetize first. Don’t hesitate to monetize as early as possible. Put your revenue model to the test early and see if your idea holds weight in real market conditions. People only value what they pay for. And paying customers is the quickest way to validate your idea. Growing your audience to high numbers is comforting, but the product/service remains an unvalidated idea until you monetize it.

Experiment with pricing

Pricing should evolve as your company evolves. Only by charging money and testing pricing strategies can you truly understand how your audience values your product and their readiness to pay for it. You’ve found your optimal price when: a relatively small percentage of people complain that you are too expensive, another small percentage that doesn’t hesitate at all before paying and the biggest segment says the product is quite expensive but they are ready to buy because they see its value.

Add new streams of revenue

After you’ve been in business long enough, you’ll likely begin to understand your customers more and be able to hone in on what they really want. This gives you the unique opportunity to add additional streams of revenue. Jumia, Nigeria’s no 1 shopping destination started as a platform for ordering electronics, gadgets and other household items. Today, the ecommerce platform is earning revenue from logistics, hotel and flight booking, payment gateway and online food ordering.

Increase capacity

The problem for most startups is that they quickly reach capacity and can’t perform at a higher level. If a startup can only hire enough employees to remain open 12 hours a day, it’s going to be difficult to increase revenues. The obvious answer to increase capacity is by hiring additional employees and staying open another five or six hours.

Narrow down customer acquisition efforts

Sometimes, time, effort, and money don’t bring about desired results. In fact, it may be a targeting problem, not a product problem. You can’t be all things to everyone so if you’re trying to market to everyone it’s simply a waste of resources. To accelerate growth focus on a niche audience that has expressed genuine interest in your brand.

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Only Disruptive Entrepreneurs Can Save Nigerian Economy – Ekeh

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Leo Stan Ekeh, serial digital entrepreneur and Chairman, Zinox Group has declared that the only way the Nigerian economy can realize the desired impetus to survive is for the Federal and State Governments to support disruptive entrepreneurs who are now the corporate miracles of every progressive economy.

 

He cited America as an example which has produced the known whizkids of the century and raised global giants such as the Googles, Facebooks, Amazons and Microsofts, etc. of this world.

 

He said this while delivering an incisive talk at the Access Bank-sponsored 2019 African Fintech Disrupt Conference held at the Landmark Centre.


Leo Stan Ekeh, Chairman, Zinox Group, speaking at the Access Bank-sponsored 2019 African Fintech Disrupt Conference held at the Landmark Centre.

 

Ekeh, whose talk kept the huge crowd cheering for more, noted that Nigeria has a huge stock of smart kids who can change and sustain the developmental story of this country, adding that all they require is an enabling environment which is not too expensive for the government to provide.

 

While advising entrepreneurs not to see hope as a strategy in business, he reminded them of a critical configuration required for a self-audit before deciding if they really want to be entrepreneurs.

 

According to Ekeh, who also doubles as a global advisor to Microsoft, success as an entrepreneur in Africa requires 40% common sense, 20% spirituality and 40% knowledge of the business.

 

In his opinion, the 21st century has defined two types of entrepreneurs – disruptors and regular entrepreneurs.

 

While advising startups and other budding business owners, he noted that their passion must pay their bills, else there is no justification for the business they are launching.

 

He reminded startups of the essential few ingredients of success, humility, ability to see the end from the start, an eye for the bigger picture, creative mindset, knowledge and energy to occupy the sector as well as the capacity to manage cash and excitement.

He, however, cautioned that they must be prepared to take reasonable pains before pleasure as they must postpone luxurious life until when they have built enough reserves to sustain such a lifestyle.

 

Counseling female entrepreneurs, the self-professed disruptive entrepreneur assured them that they will lead in the second quarter of this century as informed women are known to operate efficiently in structured environments with auditable systems.

 

He affirmed that no government has a choice to deny the youths of progressive infrastructure, except they want to face the wrath of this dominant segment of the populace.

 

With a round of applause punctuating his speech, Ekeh ended by advising those leaving the country for supposedly greener pastures not to waste their time as the population and lifestyle of Nigeria holds unquantifiable demand structure which is wealth on its own.

 

 

 

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