As you can see below, there are growing ties between Silicon Valley and Nigeria.
Goldman Sachs is a major backer of Jumia, the Nigeria headquartered e-commerce venture that became the first VC funded tech company in Africa to IPO on a major exchange, the NYSE in 2019.
Goldman also led a $20 million round last year for Nigerian trucking logistics company Kobo360 .
The U.S. bank’s investment in tech companies operating in Nigeria runs parallel to those by Visa, Mastercard, and SalesForce Ventures.
Nigerian tech is also home to a growing number of founders with ties to the U.S. and startups with operations in both countries. Nigerian fintech company Flutterwave, whose clients range from Uber to Cardi B, is headquartered in San Francisco with operations in Lagos. The company maintains a developer team across both countries for its B2B payments platform that helps American companies operating in Africa get paid.
MallforAfrica — a Nigerian e-commerce company that enables partners such as Macy’s, Best Buy and Auto Parts Warehouse to sell in Africa — is led by Chris Folayan, a Nigerian who studied and worked in the U.S. The company now employs Nigerians in Lagos and Americans at its Portland processing plant.
Africa’s leading VOD startup, iROKOtv maintains a New York office that lends to production of the Nigerian (aka Nollywood) content it creates and streams globally.
Andela, a tech-talent accelerator with over $180 million in VC, was co-founded by American Jeremy Johnson and Nigerian entrepreneur Iyinoluwa Aboyeji. The company has offices in New York and Lagos and employs over 1000 engineers.
Over the last five years, Silicon Valley’s ties to Africa and Nigeria have grown. There are a number of Nigerians working in senior positions in the Bay Area, such as Ime Archibong at Facebook — the U.S. company that opened an innovation lab in Nigeria in 2018, called NG_Hub.
But it is not enough. Not nearly enough. Why? No PayPal to receive payments if you are based in Nigeria and don’t have a New York office. Now, that’s severely limiting.