USD 20 Mn Startup Fund To Be Raised By Ethiopia’s iCog Labs And U.S-Based Kudu Ventures Alliance

By  |  July 28, 2019

iCog Labs, an Ethiopian Artificial Intelligence-focused company, has joined hands with U.S-based VC firm Kudu Ventures to launch a funding initiative that will provide seed support for tech startups. 

According to the information following this development, up to USD 20 Mn will be provided for the coalition to invest in scalable technology-driven startups.

Kudu founder Noel Daniel says the collaboration with iCog has yielded a startup accelerator program that will provide about 18 innovation-oriented startups with the opportunity to get a three-month intensive mentorship alongside the financial assistance.

Noel said Kudu has for far contributed up to 100 Mn Ethiopian Birr (USD 3,466,300), five percent of which is earmarked for investing in the iCog Labs startup initiative, which was established six years ago. 

It is no longer news that a radical economic and technological revolution is going on in Ethiopia. Of the many drawbacks, the East African country’s lack of venture capital policy.

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The landlocked nation also does not have incentives that could channel sizable investments in its industries. Of the many efforts made by the government, the most recent was the announcement that it was preparing a new investment policy. 

The stratagem is being designed to enable venture capital funds set up in Ethiopia. The country recently got a massive USD 100 Mn from UAE’s Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development to boost its SME and tech sectors. The iCog-Kudu scheme joins the efforts made to improve Ethiopia’s overall economy. 

iCog Labs is a local name nearly synonymous with AI. The software development firm’s CEO, Getnet Assefa alongside his team made history by programing 70 percent of the storied humanoid called Sophia.

With assistance from the face of female tech in Ethiopia, 19-year-old Betelhem Dessie, the group has made several headlines and inspired accolades. 

Assefa and Dessie currently run Anyone Can Code (ACC), a grassroots coding program the sheds the limelight on teenagers and school kids. In a bid to rev up IT enthusiasm and activities in Ethiopia, the duo launched a robot soccer tournament across 30 universities. 

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