Tunbosun Alake, the special adviser to the governor of Lagos State on innovation and technology, has said that 107 tech businesses operating in the State received $750 million in funding so far this year.
Alake disclosed this on Thursday at the opening of the 4th Art of Lagos (AOT) conference with the theme: ‘Talent Acceleration And a smarter Lagos.’
While noting that the state has become the number one startup capital in Africa, he said Lagos now ranks 81 globally as one of the leading hubs for startups. He said Lagos is also number one in Africa in terms of the volume of deals that have been sealed from 2019 to date.
Why investors are coming to Lagos: According to Alake, investors are coming to the state not just because of its large population but also because the state government has been deliberate about making the state conducive for investments. He said:
- “Investors are coming to Lagos because there have been many things we have been doing to encourage and to make sure the ecosystem is right for these investments. And Lagos is a place investor love to come to, not just because of the size of the market but also because of the potential of the returns on their investments.”
More startups/investments needed: Despite the record of the number of startups in the state and the investments they continue to attract, Alake said the state needs more startups and funding to develop because of its peculiar challenges.
- “Lagos State is one of the key economic drivers for Nigeria and as a result, about 77 new residents from all over Nigeria migrate to Lagos every single day. That is an enormous challenge in itself. How do we manage this enormous population with such a static landmass? We need to apply technology. And this is why we need more startups and more investments in the state,” he said.
AOT 4.0: Speaking on the significance of the 2-day annual event which brings together stakeholders in technology from across the globe, Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, said that preceding the event, the state has been able to foster value-creating contributions that have enabled a deeper and better collaborative relationship with the ecosystem.
Addressing participants at the event, he said: “With 25,000 online and offline attendee registrations this year, your participation has enabled this event to be one of the largest in Nigeria. The continuing success of this gathering is a testament to the platform it provides to both public and private sector stakeholders to co-create and drive value in this ecosystem.
- He added that since the first AOT gathering, the state has ignited the Lagos State Science Research and Innovation Council, a body consisting of private and public sector professionals tasked with intervening directly in the ecosystem through funding.
- “The result to date has seen over 60 startups receive funding of between 5,000 and 12,000 dollars in the two years. This funding constituted some of the initial runway rounds for startups that have gone to raise millions of dollars in funding. LASRIC gave many of these startups their initial funding opportunities,” he said.
- He further stated that the entrepreneurial environment and the open support for technology informed the Sanwo-olu administration’s increasing focus on innovation in a bid to drive value outputs for the startup ecosystem. “This administration’s contribution is evidenced in the different implementations and initiatives contained in Lagos States’ first Innovation and Technology Masterplan. The master plan contains multiple strategic pillars which cascade in multiple tactical initiatives,” he said.