On boarding 7 years of rich South African experience with Startup Safari
Weetracker, a global tech media with a marked focus on the African ecosystem, has announced the acquisition of Cape Town based Startup Safari, an ecosystem immersion programme for entrepreneurs in emerging economies. Terms of the deal remain undisclosed.
Launched in January this year with an incisive funding report of the African entrepreneurial ecosystem, Weetracker not only aims to bring the rapidly budding tech space to limelight with news and data backed insights, but also aims to serve as an enabling platform, bridging emerging markets to developed eco-systems around the world.
This is where an alignment of vision was singled out by serial entrepreneur turned VC Rishabh Lawania, who is leading Weetracker along with Keshu Dubey, a serial Entrepreneur and Investor based out of USA. The duo had previously founded Xeler8, a market intelligence platform for VC/ PE firms, in the shape of a startup & investor database for India, Malaysia and Singapore, sold successfully to a Chinese VC.
Nayantara Jha, with extensive experience in the Media and Communications Industry is steering the company as Co-Founder & Editor in Chief.
Commenting on the development, Lawania says, “This represents a strategic value addition to our mission of bridging the World Emerging Economies, giving us an opportunity to physically connect the entreprenuers/ ecosystems apart from doing so virtually. It also helps us kickstart our plans to scale to multiple economies very soon.”
Led by Apoorv Bamba, Startup Safari enables international growth and scale for entrepreneurs across the globe, and facilitates cross border investment, technology transfer and joint ventures. In the last 2+ years it has managed to immerse 100+ African entrepreneurs in India ,Israel and Western Europe. The focus remains on grass root programs especially across Africa, to skill early stage entrepreneurs through a travel immersive curriculum and give them access to mentors, validation and investment.
Apoorv has extensively worked towards developing the Entrepreneurial eco-system in South Africa over the last 7 years through his work with Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, South African Institute of Entrepreneurship, University of Cape Town and others. Being a curriculum design expert in entrepreneurial frameworks, he has been a passionate advocate of bringing access and exposure to the young African entrepreneurs through experiential skill development and travel immersion programs. Apart from heading Startup Safari, he currently also leads the Skill Development portfolio at Silicon Cape and guest lectures at universities across Africa, India and Europe.
Bamba reckons, “The acquisition journey with WeeTracker just felt like the automatic next step to move closer to our bigger vision and bring further scale to the African ecosystem through media, research and insights. With WeeTracker and Startup Safari, we aim to becoming the African window to the world and enabling emerging market opportunities and growth for both sides of the table. Africa is the Silicon Valley of the (very near) future and we want to welcome the World to our home with the right content, resources and opportunities when they knock!”. Post acquisition, he will be joining team Weetracker, spearheading the skill development programs and scaling the safari model to newer heights.
African tech eco-system has shown tremendous growth in the last 2-3 years. In 2017 itself, 201 African Startups raised $167.7 million in disclosed risk capital, a 28% jump over the last year figure. The eco-system has all the ingredients ready: market opportunity, access to technology and human potential. It’s just waiting to be disrupted and connected to the innovators around the world. Though, Africa is made up of 54 countries, global entrepreneurs and investors need to look at it as one connected eco-system with certain jockeys in the lead: South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana.