For the first time in the Africa, a tech hub has acquired another to become an innovation entity. Nigeria’s CcHUB has taken full control of Nairobi-based iHub in a transaction whose value remain under wraps. The deal will enable Co-Creation Hub form a Pan-African network.
The deal is significant on many fronts and happens at a very interesting time in the development of technology in the continent. First off, the merger will see iHub become part of CcHUB’s wider central support and strategy network.
While Bosun Tijani – CcHUB’s co-founder – now assumes CEO across both centers, the Lagos-based innovation hub retains its name and senior management structure.
iHub is arguably the best-known innovation center in Kenya. The center is rivaled in East Africa significantly only by Uganda’s Innovation Village. Earlier in the year, CcHUB got hold of Rwanda with the launch of Africa’s first creative space solely concerned about product design and technology innovation.
What About Innovation Village?
With the buying iHub, it’s unclear whether CcHUB has plans to acquire Kampala-based Innovation Village in time. This is especially as this development comes hot on the heels of Andela’s 400 developer layoff last week.
waThe Lagos-based outsourcing agency did say it was going to partner with CcHUB, iHub and Innovation Village to create opportunities for the laid-off developers.
Andela also said the partnership was meant to connect the junior software engineers with employment opportunities and allow them use the innovation centers three months for free. The cycle is a rather interesting one, so it won’t be strange to see CcHUB extending more reach to the Ugandan technology space.
However, the firm tells us the acquisition has been months in the planning and has nothing to do with the recent Andela development.
In an email to WeeTracker, Bosun said CcHUB’s intention is to build a deeply concerned and resourceful platform to support smart application of technology in leapfrogging development in Africa. “
We are thus focused on building reach, partnerships and relationships that will strengthen our ability to support not only startups but also large corporates, civil society organisations and government in taking good advantage of technology,”. he said.
CcHUB Going Forward
CcHUB will now make key hires in innovation consulting, people management, program management and community support to strengthen its pan-African network. The hub will mobilize its far-reaching resources, network and relationships to accelerate the growth of technology innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa.
Since it’s launch in 2011, CcHUB has built a community of more 14,000 people and has incubated and provided support to a portfolio of over 120 early-stage ventures, including Lifebank, Riby, BudgIT and WeCyclers. In 2012, the hub played a major role in converging key stakeholders to deliberate and action ideas that led to the emergence of one of Africa’s most organic technology clusters in Yaba, Lagos.
“We have created a strong innovation ecosystem with a deeply rooted network, global partnerships and cross-sector know-how that’s able to support entrepreneurs in building thoughtful, relevant and scalable solutions. This acquisition allows us to do more of the same, and extend our reach and networks, to thousands more businesses and entrepreneurs,” Bosun said.
So Far So Good
CcHUB is partnered by international companies such as Google for Start-ups, Facebook, Oracle and organisations including Omidyar Network and Ford Foundation. It is also Africa’s first open living lab and pre-incubation space, home to technologists, social entrepreneurs, government bodies, tech companies, impact investors and more.
iHub, on the other hand, was launched in 2010. The innovation center is home to globally recognized firms such as BRCK and Ushahidi, as well as start-ups such as Zayride, Eneza Education, Taimba and Optimetriks.
According to Nekesa J. Were, CEO, iHub ‘s startups has raised over USD 40 Mn in early and growth statge financing. It’s portfolio businesses, per her statement, have contributed to over 400,00 jobs to the East African economy.