Anna Ekeledo has spent the last six years as the Executive Director of AfriLabs.
She is the Regional Innovation Lead Africa at the EdTech Hub. She also chairs the Working Party on AfCFTA Negotiations, e-Commerce Forum Africa (EFA), and is a mentor on Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa for Entrepreneurs.
You’ve spent nearly six years as AfriLabs’ ED. How would you sum up your experience there?
A rollercoaster of highs, lows, failures, and immense impact and growth.
What’s your typical workday like?
I wake up at 5 a.m. every day. And then, for an hour, I meditate and do a yoga routine with positive affirmations to start my day. Then I have a cup of coffee while I read up on industry news and any urgent emails I need to attend to. After that, I get ready for work and share duties with my husband in getting my daughter ready for school and dropping her off at school. I am usually at work by 8 a.m. and I get straight to the business of the day, which is usually made up of meetings with partners and various departments within AfriLabs, reviewing and approving documentation, strategy sessions, responding to emails, and the occasional virtual speaking session. Of course, this routine is broken when I travel for speaking engagements or AfriLabs project activities. Most of 2020 and early 2021 involved working from home and we still maintain optional remote working arrangements at AfriLabs, but I prefer to come to the office.
Watching shows on Netflix, attending book club meetings, and spending time with my husband and daughter.
AfriLabs has experienced sensational growth since its founding 10 years ago. What would you say have been the key factors driving this growth?
I’d say the growth has been driven by three key things. One is community. We’re very strong on community building and are like a family at AfriLabs. Value comes second. We constantly work with and for our hub members and their community members to create and deliver value to them. Lastly, impact. We are impact-driven and focus on not only supporting hubs directly but also on taking a multi-stakeholder approach to building and impacting the African continent through the entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem.
What advice would you give entrepreneurs looking to build businesses that stimulate growth and development in Africa?
Build solutions, not products.
If there’s something you wish you knew or learned sooner in your career, what is it?
Absolutely! Act fast, fail fast! As cliché as it sounds, I wish I wasn’t so worried about making mistakes earlier in my career and just made decisions and acted faster. I would certainly have had more failures (which are really lessons that add to one’s experiences), but I also would have had more successes as well.
PAYSTACK PRESENTS ARTWORK
In Ep. 3 of Artwork, learn how to build a passionate community around your content.
Join the Future Africa Collective—an exclusive community of investors who invest in startups building the future. With a $300 quarterly fee, you get access to invest a minimum of $2,500 in up to 5 high-growth African startups.
This week, Busha, a Nigeria-based crypto trading platform, secured seed funding of $4.2 million in a round led by Jump Capital. Cadenza Ventures, Blockwall Capital, CMT Digital, Greenhouse Capital, Raba Capital, and other investors also participated in the round.
Here are the other deals for the week:
OnePipe, a Nigerian fintech API company, raised a $3.5 million seed round to double down on its embedded finance offering in a round co-led by Atlantica Ventures, Tribe Capital, and V&R Associates. Canaan Partners, Saison Capital, Techstars, Ingressive Capital, Acquity, P1, Raba, DFS Lab, and a few angel investors also participated.
Nigerian business accounting startup Kippa secured $3.2 million in a pre-seed funding round led by Target Global, with participation from Entrée Capital, Alter Global, and Rally Cap Ventures. Several prominent angel investors also participated in the round, including Sriram Krishnan (investor in Khatabook), Raffael Johnen (CEO, Auxmoney), Babs Ogundeyi (CEO, Kuda), Chris Bouwer (board member, Cellulant), Kyane Kassiri, Edward Suh (Goodwater Capital), and Sajid Rahman.
Asimilia, a Kenyan fintech company, secured $2 million in pre-seed funding. $1 million came from a wide range of investors, including two-time unicorn founder Fredrik Jung Abbou (co-founder of Kry and Lendo), Norrsken Impact Accelerator, and others, while $1 million came from a debt round that included Bpifrance and GreenTec Capital Partners.
Nigeria-based shared mobility startup, Treepz, closed out its seed round at $2.8 million by raising a further $1.6 million in funding from Google for Startups Black Founders Fund Africa, Uncovered Fund, Blanford Capital, and Jonomi Capital. Jedar Capital and some other investors also participated.
Egyptian edtech platform Career 180 received $200,000 from EdVentures to further enhance its services and reach for users.
Nigeria’s Mecho Autotech secured an undisclosed amount of funding from Ingressive Capital.
OuiCapital is excited to announce its OuiTalkTech conference taking place between December 2-4, 2021.
Ouitalktech is a proprietary invitation-only event designed to bring together key stakeholders in the global tech ecosystem. Over three days, tech investors, operators, and regulators will network, share ideas, collaborate, and explore Lagos Nigeria, on the theme – “Connecting the Dots“.