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Far East interest in Africa’s startups

Kenya , 14 Jul 2015

Far East interest in Africa’s startups

A new player in Africa's startup investment scene, Nest from Hong Kong, has opened offices in Nairobi to tap into startup opportunities on the continent.

The move will add impetus to the ongoing support of Africa's startup ecosystem, one that is showing maturity through the recent exits of Wezatele in Kenya and fresh funding of companies such as in Nigeria.

"The office in Nairobi will act as a launchpad for Africa and startups from across the continent will be encouraged to apply for funding and support," the company announced.

Aside from funding, the also plans to offer start-up mentorship and support.

Simon Squibb, CEO of Nest, said, "As part of Nest's overseas expansion strategy we made the decision to launch in Africa in order to be one of the first to offer access to Asia. We already have a presence in London and shortly the US, and will look to bring this extended network to Africa's entrepreneurs."

Squibb said that there is a lot of talent in Africa and a huge opportunity to scale businesses both on the continent and across the globe.

"We can enhance access to financial services and develop effective education and healthcare technologies that reach the bottom of the pyramid and directly impact people's lives," he said.

The Nairobi office will be headed by managing partner Aaron Fu, who was the regional digital strategy lead for Africa at Standard Chartered Bank and oversaw the bank's digital innovation.

As Nest makes its landing in Africa, 88mph recently announced that they would be taking a break from investing in African startups. The company had its wings spread in Nairobi, Cape Town and Lagos.

Nest happens to be setting up base at Nairobi Garage, which was where 88mph was located, and offers a vantage point over Lagos, Accra and Cape Town, where the startup scene is flourishing.

"By combining the best practices of two vibrant start-up ecosystems – Nairobi and Hong Kong – and connecting two continents, we are well placed to help founders internationalise their start-ups and scale innovations into, across and out of Africa," Fu said.

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