Microsoft and 88mph have announced the launch of the Microsoft Ventures program for entrepreneurs in Nigeria which will help improve startups’ productivity by offering tools, resources, expertise and routes to market around the world.
The two partners decided to launch Ventures in the West-African country as a result of the success of the first partnership in Kenya that was announced in October 2013.
“While working with Microsoft in Kenya, we found we were very aligned on finding businesses that deliver value to consumers, helping bring them to profitability, and hopefully getting more investors interested in web/mobile businesses,” said 88mphs Kresten Buch.
“There is a great opportunity to further develop the startup ecosystem in Nigeria and drive innovation,” says Amrote Abdella, director of Startup Engagement and Partnerships, Microsoft Africa Initiatives. “By expanding Microsoft Ventures into Nigeria, we hope to reinvent productivity for startups. This means equipping them with the technology that puts their businesses first, by providing affordable devices, cloud-based software and pay-as-you-go models, that enable anytime-anywhere access.”
Startups applying to join Microsoft Ventures will be scrutinised based on the following criteria:
- Having a full-time founding team
- A bold vision for tackling a real problem
- Technology-driven solutions
- Less than $1 million in capital raised to date
Microsoft Ventures accelerators currently operate across the globe in Bangalore, Beijing, Berlin, London, Paris, Seattle and Tel Aviv with partnerships with third party accelerators in Moscow, São Paulo, Washington DC, Chicago, San Francisco, Rio de Janeiro, Bulgaria and Kenya.
“88mph is a leader in a region where entrepreneurship is thriving and a great source of economic good. The Microsoft Ventures team is proud to be partnering with them in Nigeria and we hope to contribute to the success of 88mph, the startups they support, and the country as a whole,” says Cliff Reeves, senior director, Microsoft Ventures.
One Nigerian startup who has already benefited from the partnership with 88mph is Abiola Olaniran whose company Gamsole has over 9 million game downloads making him Nigeria’s highest paid Windows game developer.