Amid a slowdown in funding, African startups arrived at the GITEX technology fair in Dubai with diverse funding needs, from multi-million dollar aspirations to more modest early-stage investments.
We are having around 50 meetings with investors in just four days,” says Sachin Hanwate, CEO of Agrosahas, an agro-processing company operating in Uganda. Founded in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, Agrosahas initially began as a commercial company before evolving into organic farming, specializing in corn, soybean and sunflower products.
Hanwate started his venture with $60,000 of savings accumulated over 12 years of hard work. Now, he is at the GITEX technology fair in Dubai with the main objective of showcasing the latest advances in his business, in particular the integration of technology, including artificial intelligence, to empower the farmers he collaborates with.
My biggest challenge is the lack of working capital,” he explains. “Here in Dubai, we are looking to raise around $3.5 million to expand. “We currently work with 10,000 farmers in Uganda, and with that capital investment, we aim to reach half a million farmers across East Africa.”
At GITEX, considered the largest technology fair of 2023, African startups have taken the opportunity to interact with international investors, demonstrating their technological vision and their need for capital. According to figures released by the Dubai World Trade Centre, the event organiser, last year the fair welcomed approximately 35,700 visitors from Africa, which represented approximately 21% of its total audience.
But while startups like Agrosahas seek to raise millions to expand, others have come seeking more modest investments in the pre-seed stage, showing the diversity of business needs emerging on the continent.
I prepared a lot before coming here,” says Elias Tadesse, chief operating officer of Blue Health Ethiopia, a health technology company that provides a digital platform for ambulances to connect in case of accidents.
Tadesse seeks to raise approximately $270,000 in the pre-seed stage. Last year, he attended GITEX in Morocco and had high expectations for the global edition of the show in Dubai.
So far, I have had a few meetings with different investors using the GITEX plus app they gave us,” he says. The Dubai World Trade Center has provided entrepreneurs presenting their products with a mobile application that makes it easy to connect with registered potential investors attending the event. So, entrepreneurs stay busy, attending meeting after meeting and pitching their ideas to venture capital investors who come mainly from Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Whether this will bear fruit will only be seen in a few months.
Article source: african business