Africa’s tech landscape is rapidly evolving and so is its startup culture. As a result, many African startups are now taking centre stage, with their innovations and creative ideas gaining recognition on a global scale. From Nairobi to Lagos, young entrepreneurs are leveraging technology to solve local problems and create innovative new businesses. These startups are not only addressing issues like access to healthcare, education, and finance but also driving economic growth and job creation.
Several factors are driving this rapid growth, including the continent’s young, tech-savvy population and regulatory environment. However, none of these has been enough to curb startup failure. As of 2020, more than half of African startups were failing, according to Statista. In Ethiopia and Rwanda, survivors were down to only a quarter (25%). So even though numerous startups are springing up to drive innovation, their chances of survival are not high enough.
One of the reasons is that many startups work in isolation. Africa’s startup culture is still very young and volatile, so it will take more than great ideas and coding skills to build sustainable businesses. That’s why incubators, tech hubs and accelerators have become more vital for the ecosystem than ever. They help businesses overcome obstacles such as lack of space, cash, mentoring, and training.
Amid this dynamic startup ecosystem, Gullit has emerged as a key player, mentoring and investing in scaleable early-stage African tech startups. The firm has backed several fast-rising ventures such as WellaHealth, BuuPass, Qene Games and Gebeya. Gullit also finances companies through seed, pre-seed, debt acquisition, and restructuring rounds. And now, Gullit is intensifying its impact strategy.
Gullit has now opened a new office in Addis Ababa with an accelerator program for startups. They provide access to free legal and financial services as well as a 300-meter co-working space. The space comes equipped with Coding pods, a Game area, a Cafeteria, an Outdoor garden workspace, two conference rooms, and a Yoga room. Gullit also has two offices it designates to selected startups.
Currently, G-Media and Kinetic Business Intelligence (KBI) are tenants of the spaces. G-Media is a dynamic Branding & Advertising agency in Addis with a small animation studio, while KBI focuses on the development of Business Intelligence Software in Africa.
G-Media, the media arm of Gebeya, a Pan-African talent marketplace, has built a reputation by providing digital marketing solutions to businesses across Africa. The company has worked with various clients, including Ethio Telecom and Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s largest telecommunications provider and Africa’s largest airline respectively. G-Media has been instrumental in promoting Ethio-Telecom’s digital marketing efforts and is set to launch its campaign for Ethio Telecom’s Mobile money super-app. It also collaborated with Carry1st to develop digital marketing content for African games.
KBI, on the other hand, is the US entity of ETM Software, an Ethiopian software development firm that specializes in developing custom software solutions for businesses. At present, KBI’s main focus is on constructing business intelligence software that utilizes Generative AI. This software assists corporations and Non-Governmental Organizations in comprehending, analyzing, and presenting their vast amounts of data. KBI works closely with the UNHCR, developing its refugee tracking software (Compliance and Service Request System), which it has deployed in East Africa.
“Gullit, for the past few years, has provided us with mentorship, advice, and exposure,” Mikiyas Amdu, KBI’s spokesperson said. “We are looking forward to the next stage of growth for our company in terms of making more revenue. Working with Gullit, we feel like we’re in this unique space where we can grow exponentially by working together and utilizing the services and coaching their teams provide.”
Gullit’s launched its incubator to provide startups with more than just an office space. Instead, it offers a comprehensive range of services to support startups. Its accelerator program will span for 18 months, after which it will start charging membership fees for startups that choose to stay.
Space at Gullit offices is very limited. Startups that want to apply can contact Gullit to register their interest through the firm’s website.