As the world continues to reel from the far-reaching impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which has already caused nearly 8,000 deaths and infected just under 200,000 worldwide (as at press time), a Nigeria-based venture capital (VC) fund is looking to do its bit to tackle the scourge.
Ventures Platform, a Pan-African early-stage VC fund headquartered in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, has announced a financial/structural intervention aimed at checking the spread of the pandemic.
Led by Kola Aina, Ventures Platform is now calling on hackers, developers, enthusiasts, and founders to channel their skills, efforts, and expertise in support of the efforts of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
Tweeting from his verified Twitter handle, Aina, who founded Ventures Platform in 2016 originally, announced after late yesterday that Ventures Platform will be providing workspace, mentorship, and grant of USD 1 K to the first five projects green-lighted by the NCDC which is currently handling at least three cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria.
Projects / apps could be around reporting, tracing or anything else that helps in our fight against #COVID19
— Kola Aina (@kola_aina) March 17, 2020
According to Aina, the projects/apps could be around reporting, tracing or anything else that helps in the fight against COVID-19. All entries and ideas can be sent to Ventures Platform via email.
Since the announcement, there’s been an outpouring of ideas and products from tech industry leaders, founders, developers, designers, and enthusiasts.
Having originally started out as an accelerator programme for African tech startups, Ventures Platform has since morphed into a VC fund providing capital via VP-Fund, supporting communities of innovators via Venture Spark, and building capacity through VP-Impact.
Ventures Platform describes itself is an Africa-wide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed by offering a source of capital, capacity building, support and advocacy for under-served entrepreneurs, communities, and institutions, enabling them to enhance the creation of wealth and development in Africa.
To date, it claims to have made 20+ investments, sponsored 50+ programmes, supported 2000+ entrepreneurs, and created 17,000+ jobs across Africa. Some of its portfolio companies include Paystack, Tizeti, PiggyVest, Migo, Printivo, Kudi, ThriveAgric, and several others.
The aim of the intervention by Ventures Platform is to assist Nigerian health institutions in combating the spread of the coronavirus, especially as the country recorded its third case yesterday and investigative reports have uncovered a possible fourth case at the Dangote Refinery in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos, which appears to have since been confirmed by Dangote Group.