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This article was published on June 22, 2012

    Funding East African startups: Interview with Savannah Fund’s Founding Partner, Mbwana Alliy [Video]

    Funding East African startups: Interview with Savannah Fund’s Founding Partner, Mbwana Alliy [Video]
    Nmachi Jidenma
    Story by

    Nmachi Jidenma

    Nmachi Jidenma is a tech and business leader. To get in touch, follow her on Twitter or email her at [email protected] Nmachi Jidenma is a tech and business leader. To get in touch, follow her on Twitter or email her at [email protected]

    One of the oft-cited reasons for the lack of globally successful startups coming out of Africa is funding. As the Africa technology startup space matures, a number of incubators, accelerators and venture funds have sprung up to provide the much-needed funding and mentorship support African startup founders direly need.

    One of such funds is Savannah Fund. Founded by Mbwana Alliy, i/o Ventures founder Paul Bragiel and Ushahidi co-Founder Erik Hersman, Savannah Fund is an accelerator fund focused on finding and investing in East Africa’s highest potential pre-revenue startups.

    The accelerator fund aims to bring the Silicon Valley accelerator model to East Africa and provide angel funding to high potential East-Africa-focused entrepreneurs. So far, it has investment commitments from Tim Draper, Dave McClure of 500 Startups and Roger Dickey of Zynga.

    However, getting the commitments did not come easy. Mbwana told us he had to pitch hundreds of investors and that he gained the most ground with Silicon Valley investors who had previous ties to the continent.

    In the Google+ hangout below, he tells us more about Savannah Fund, how he came about with the concept of the fund and how East Africa focused entrepreneurs around the world can best position themselves to be funded by the accelerator. Check out the interview below and share with all those interested in building Africa focused startup companies.

    Image credit: Benh Lieu Song