Connecticut Innovation, a United States’ organisation that provides strategic investment for early-stage technology companies, has said that Lagos will be its next location for its VentureClash global venture challenge.
In a statement obtained on Monday, the organisation said it had chosen Lagos as an ideal location to expand the footprints of the VentureClash global venture challenge because it identified Nigeria as a promising hub of innovative, high-growth potential businesses.
“VentureClash is Connecticut Innovation’s worldwide competition for companies that are actively advancing disruptive solutions in digital health, financial technology, the Internet of Things and insurance technology,” it stated. The firm said that during its upcoming tech fair in Lagos, it would bring together the most promising companies from Africa to compete for one of three semi-finalist spots in VentureClash.
It added that there would be $150,000 investment from Connecticut Innovations for the first-place winner, and $5,000 grant award each for the three top winners to visit and explore Connecticut as a place to live and grow a business.
To be considered, it added, companies must have been in business for at least one year, have been paying customers or customers who were actively testing their products, and agreed to the terms and conditions, which included maintaining a presence in Connecticut.
The statement said, “The top 10 or 20 companies among those applicants will be invited to pitch at the event in Lagos. They will each be given eight minutes to present their companies to a live audience followed by a brief question and answer by a panel of judges. After deliberation by the judges, the three winners will be selected to move on to the semi-finals round of VentureClash.”
It added that the Lagos event was inspired by Oni Chukwu, a Nigerian native who, after emigrating to the United States 25 years ago to pursue advanced education, went on to achieve remarkable success in several entrepreneurial ventures. This was said to have included his current role as chief executive officer of etouches, a Connecticut Innovations portfolio company that was recently acquired at a highly attractive premium.
According to the statement, he has played a pivotal role in three companies and has been part of six software company exits in total.
“Chukwu is a technology investor via his investment company, Frontiers Acquisitions. Among his vast professional accomplishments, Chukwu also established the AfricaPlan Foundation, which assists aspiring entrepreneurs in developing countries,” it stated.