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Why a Venture Building Model is Critical in Scaling Start-ups in Africa…

Updated: Dec 14, 2021

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) represents a new era of innovation in technology – one that’s enhancing human-machine relationships, unlocking new market opportunities, and fueling growth across the global economy.

This revolution that is characterized by the fusion of the digital, biological, and physical worlds, as well as the growing utilization of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, cloud computing, robotics, 3D printing, the Internet of Things, and advanced wireless technologies, among others—has ushered in a new era of economic disruption.

The question on a lot of people’s minds is “being that Africa has been left behind during the past industrial revolutions. Will this time be different?” I believe that this revolution has the potential to transform Africa in ways that will cover for what we missed out on in the past revolutions… it has a potential to leapfrog Africa into a developed economy. But, we must be intentional on how we capitalize on 4IR opportunities.

Without attempts to move beyond existing models of innovation, entrepreneurship, and digital growth on the continent, African businesses risk falling further behind, exacerbating the global “digital divide” and lowering the global competitiveness.

Adanian Labs understands this potential very well, and that’s why we established our “very specific” venture building model as a solution to actuate the technology revolution for Africa.

In our model we are addressing key things including:

  • building technology development capacity to ensure that there is a pool of talent needed to build solutions,

  • investing in tech entrepreneurs and giving them a 360 support in helping them scale their businesses to de-risk their potential for failure,

  • equipping business leaders with technical knowledge on how they can take part in the digital transformation to ensure that we create demand for the solutions built by innovators,

  • launch solutions that digitizes communities to ensure that we bring the masses into the digital economies,

  • support policy makers and decision makers with relevant information and knowhow to ensure that they create the right policies and environments for innovation to thrive and become a critical part of the value creation.

Fortunately, the African landscape is full of opportunities masked by a lot of challenges. To unlock these advantages, one has to address the challenges head on and take part in finding the right solutions. And one critical solution is empowering the youth of Africa with the right skills and providing them with the resources they need to thrive. We don’t want to end up in a situation where the 4th Industrial revolution in Africa is being driven by everyone but Africans.. Our vision if for Africa to innovate its own solutions, create employment and wealth for the continent and own its own data. Data is the new oil, the new currency, we must keep it home.

In our mission to actuate the tech revolution in Africa, we aim to build 300 tech powered, impact driven, commercially viable start-ups; train 10000 data scientists, 10000 blockchain developers, 100,000 technology developers and 10,000 animators and creatives.

To facilitate this, we need to build a strong ecosystem that will enable the companies that we are building to derive value and scale efficiently across the continent in a “borderless Africa’’ concept. Our key advantages are the youth, and the population of Africa.

This is why we are intentional and deliberate in how we invest in and nurture start-ups in our Venture Building model. We provide start-ups with a 360-support solution that transcends funding including: technology development, technical know-how, go to market strategies, access to consumers, partnerships and all key resources needed to build a solid product, launch and scale in multi markets while de-risking the start-ups' probability of failure.

As we roll out our second season for the 2022 Cohort Venture Building Program, we plan to recruit and select innovative start-ups that are leveraging or looking to leverage smart technologies like blockchain and AI in the deployment of their solutions. We are looking for start-ups that cover a broad range of sectors including agriculture, energy, environment, financial services, gaming, health, mobility, smart cities, SMEs, and beyond.

The program lasts for 12-months and rolls across Africa in countries including: Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Nigeria and South Africa. It is carefully designed with monthly KPIs under support and supervision that includes: fine-tuning the tech solution using relevant technology like AI and blockchain; building and training a team for the start-ups and providing expert support; getting the start-ups investor-ready and exposing them to a wide investor networks; and guiding the start-ups with go to market strategies and growth support among other things.

When the start-ups leave the Adanian Labs at the end of the 12 months, they would ideally have launched a product, onboarded consumers, unlocked their revenue models, closed, or are closing seed deals with investors. We there after continue to work remotely and through governance structures with the start-ups to help them further grow and raise their series A and B funding.

Since our establishment in January 2020, we have invested in and built 15 start-ups and have a presence in 5 African countries; Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Nigeria and South Africa. Some of the start-ups that have participated in Adanian Labs’ programs include:

eCOBbA – A Blockchain FinTech Platform for Africa’s underbanked that is digitizing over 80% of Africans in the informal sector who access finance through community savings groups. eCOBbA is so necessary as it provides the informal economy an opportunity to create value for themselves by giving them visibility and transparency of their activities, access to finance and access to market, helping the members create wealth for themselves and their communities. (

Afya Rekod - A first-of-its-kind, decentralized, patient-driven platform that allows users to store and manage their health records solving the issue of health data accessibility and mobility that are key in delivering quality healthcare. Afya Rekod is ground-breaking in its approach to providing an eHR platform for hospitals to make health data patient-centric, a timely intervention in healthcare delivery. (

Paylend - A fintech company helping micro-MSMEs across Africa solve the problem of access to continuous capital while bridging the consumer data gap by connecting consumers to products and services. Paylend digitizes MSMEs by helping them manage their credit and by doing the get to understand their value through digital recording of their transactions, making them credit worthy, thus making it easy for them to access credit. Paylend is exciting because it collects last mile consumer data that allows for a thorough understanding of consumer needs as it creates value for them Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) in its ecosystem. (

Ada Animation - Ada Animation is an innovative African entertainment Tech company with a mission to develop top-tier animators across Africa by empowering creatives with the necessary skills, tools, mentorship and platforms to create and share African stories with Africa and the world. The company produces content in 2D & 3D Animation, Motion Graphics, White board animation, VFX, Content Creation, Character Design, Voice Overs, Infographics and runs Ada Animation bootcamp in partnership with world renowned animators to train, mentor and upskill African creatives. (

Other exciting start-ups include; TWAA: A women-only social networking platform for community mobilization and mentorship ( RewardAdz – (A high engagement and consumer interactive mobile advertising platform ( and Bloow (A self-sustaining music ecosystem that empowers artists with tools to commercialize their art).

Also, I would like to shine light on two centers of excellence that we launched; The Artificial Intelligence Center of Excellence (AICE) and The Africa Blockchain Center (ABC) to build AI and Blockchain capacity respectively and promote adoption of smart technologies in Africa.

Adanian Labs recently partnered with EMURGO; The commercial arm of Cardano via their EMURGO Africa Venture. EMURGO’s mission to grow the blockchain ecosystem in Africa through the adoption of its Cardano protocol means that we are capable to enhance our tech solutions with blockchain technologies to achieve tangible social empowerment in areas of financial inclusion, agriculture, education, governance and health.

In the forthcoming year, through this partnership, we look forward to incubating blockchain start-ups and providing blockchain solutions for corporate enterprises and government entities in Africa. This means we will build massive capacity on blockchain development and drive adoption of the technology on the continent.

We foresee Africa becoming a mega exporter of technology to the world, and Adanian Labs is excited to be in the driving seat of this transformation.

Interested start-ups can apply to the program via our website – Shortlisted applicants will present a live pitch to the investment committee in their respective countries in January and up to five start-ups per country will be selected to enter the program housed at the various Adanian Labs offices across the five countries.

The Application Deadline is 15th December 2021.

Youth and women are encouraged to apply.

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