MEST & the ATF Team up to Bridge the Gap between African Startups and Tech Forces in Silicon Valley and Beyond

MEST | Monday, February 2nd, 2015

Today we’re thrilled to announce an innovative partnership with the African Technology Foundation (ATF) that teams the regional strengths of each of our respective companies to unlock opportunities for the next generation of great African technology entrepreneurs.

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The landmark partnership aims to redefine the future of African technology entrepreneurs, address key sectorial challenges and spark a new wave of investments and innovation in African-led technology enterprises. Specifically the partnership will:

  1. Foster a mutually beneficial relationship between the parties to develop their respective and collective business interests in the internationalization of African technologies;
  2. Develop global opportunities including the establishment of partners for the investment and mentoring of aspiring African entrepreneurs;
  3. Identify and introduce opportunities to leverage existing partnerships and networks to broaden footprints in Pan-African technology ecosystems and advance the collective mission.

“There are quite a number of synergies between our organizations that make this partnership rather timely. Central to this theme is the bridging of knowledge gaps for aspiring African entrepreneurs that are either starting new ventures or scaling up their existing operations,” said Stephen Ozoigbo, Founder and CEO, African Technology Foundation.

The ATF – MEST partnership swells the current wave of excitement digital entrepreneurship across the continent and services to promote and incentivize foreign investment in Africa’s technology sector. With both organizations having a presence in Silicon Valley, it is anticipated that this collaboration will allow ATF and MEST to work with in-country partners to select and evaluate suitable technology related opportunities and support scholarship and mentorship activities for African entrepreneurs.

MEST and ATF most recently collaborated to support four of the winning teams from DEMO Africa while they toured Silicon Valley and did everything from pitch 500 Startups’ Dave McClure at an emerging Markets Forum in Napa Valley to present their businesses on the main DEMO Silicon Valley stage following the likes of presenters including Steve Wozniak and Peter Thiel.

The selected four – Chura, Nerve, PaySail, and SpacePointe included one of MEST’s very own portfolio companies, Ghana-based PaySail.

Prior to their big pitch on the DEMO stage, the four companies were also treated to a pre-pitch feedback session hosted at Meltwater’s HQ in San Francisco with a judging panel comprised of executives from Visa and Avaya as well as Gwendolyn Floyd, CEO of ShopSOKO and winner of the first-ever DEMO Africa event in 2012.

“The tour of the Silicon Valley was phenomenal, and it was a really great learning experience. The chance to pitch on the DEMO US platform was a huge step for PaySail,” said Osborn Adu Kwarteng of PaySail.

Byron Sitawa of Chura added to Osborn’s sentiments confessing that the biggest takeaway from the experience was gaining the courage to step out of the world. “The atmosphere in Silicon Valley is unlike anything I had ever experienced. The energy, the sense of opportunity and adventure, the belief in entrepreneurship was all worthy. Everything was properly shaped to see the success of the tour.”

With the recent formalization of a partnership between MEST and ATF, you can expect much more collaboration that bridges the gap and connects the dots between innovators in Africa and tech forces in Silicon Valley and beyond.