2017: A Year of MEST Expansion

Sylvana Lewin | Monday, January 1st, 2018

2017 was a year to remember at MEST. It featured guest lectures from experts like DataSift CEO Tim Barker, AMAs with industry leaders such as Y Combinator CEO Michael Seibel, and visits from international industry stakeholders. Following our pan-African vision, MEST also began recruiting in two new countries as well as expanded to two new major markets. The year was filled with exciting moments. As we enter 2018 and start celebrations for our tenth anniversary, join us as we take a look back at the ten top moments from 2017!

 

Facebook CPO Chris Cox visited MEST

In March, Facebook’s Chief Product officer visited MEST in Accra to see innovation in motion. The visit was part of his week long trip to Nigeria, Ghana, and Senegal to understand how creatives, developers, and entrepreneurs were using mobile technology to create service content that addresses local needs. Cox met with several MEST startups.

 

Geeks on a Plane came to MEST

In March, Dave McClure, Monique Woodard, and other members of Geeks on a Plane visited MEST as part of their first tour of sub-Saharan Africa. The group of 25 met with six MEST portfolio companies – DevLess, Loystar, TroTro Tractor, meQasa, Asoriba, and Kudobuzz. They also spoke with the EITs, even hearing pitches from three EITs who have since then become founders of MEST companies.

 

First cohort of Ivorian EITs joined MEST

MEST expanded recruitment of EITs to Cote d’Ivoire for the first time, welcoming the first Ivorian cohort in August. Ivorian EITs came to Accra early for English prep courses at Lancaster University to ensure a smooth transition.

 

First cohort of South African EITs joined MEST

Just as MEST expanded recruitment of EITs to its first Francophone nation, it also welcomed the first EITs from South Africa. MEST now recruits from Kenya, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, and South Africa covering East, West, and Southern Africa. Applications to join the next cohort are now open!

 

Aaron Fu joined MEST as Managing Director

September saw Aaron Fu, a former managing partner of NEST, join MEST as Managing Director. Fu came to MEST with a clear vision and wishlist for the tech scene in Africa.

 

Four new AgriTech companies joined the Accra Incubator through the Kosmos Innovation Center

Kosmos Energy announced the winners of the Kosmos Innovation Centre (KIC) Agritech Challenge in September. Through the competition, AgroInnova and QualiTrace won $100,000 in seed funding, while CompleteFarmer was provided with a sponsorship for 12 months of incubation at MEST. AniTrack, a MEST AgriTech company is also working out of the KIC office on the third floor of the MEST Incubator Accra.

 

MEST Incubator Lagos launched

In November, MEST was thrilled to welcome Lagos into its Pan-African Incubator community with the launch of the MEST Incubator Lagos in Nigeria. We’re excited about this development as it has allowed us to strengthen our presence in Nigeria. The space has already become a popular spot for the tech community with MEST Lagos Talks featuring guests like Victor Asemota and MEST Tech Conversations.

 

MEST Incubator Cape Town launched

Not only did MEST welcome Lagos to its Pan-African Incubator community, but it also welcomed Cape Town with the launch of the MEST Incubator Cape Town in South Africa. The Cape Town tech and startup community including investors, corporate executives, and more joined the celebration led by MEST CEO and founder Jorn Lyseggen, MEST MD Aaron Fu, and Cape Town Community Manager Victoria Jackson.

Image by Greg Beadle

 

MEST Kenyan alum found a home with Metta Nairobi

A new partnership for MEST with Metta in early November now means that Kenyan based alumni will now have a space to work. MEST alumni in Nairobi will receive access to working space, events, and Metta’s global network.

 

French President Emmanuel Macron met with MEST Head of Operations Celine Duros

In December, French President Emmanuel Macron visited Impact Hub Accra. During his visit he met with MEST Head of Operations Celine Duros. The visit was part of a trip to West Africa, including Togo, Ghana, and Cote d’Ivoire.