The special advisor to the Lagos state governor on innovation and technology, Olatunbosun Alake, on October 11 at the GITEX 2020 in Dubai stated that the Lagos state government is planning to launch its own venture capital fund of bigger ticket sizes, to be available across sectors including fintech, agriculture, health, and most importantly, “research and development startups.
He stated that “Where normal VCs expect returns in 5 to 10 years, ours will run for a more extended period of time, as the aim is to build problem specific products that would serve the citizens.”
While the actual size of the funds and tickets was not revealed Alake mentioned that the Venture capital is set to launch in a few weeks with the state is already in negotiation with some local and foreign investors who would join as limited partners.
Lagos state, which was in Dubai to showcase blueprints of its smart city to investors said it’s implementing several initiatives to aid the growth of startups in the state, one of such initiatives being the Lagos state’s equity-free investments in startups in the state. The state also sponsored 15 startups to to the GITEX event in Dubai providing them with a robust platform to showcase their products and pitch their startups to hundreds of investors present at the event.
Comments from the Deputy Governor
Recognizing that one of the necessities of a smart city is strong internet infrastructure which Lagos state currently lacks, Femi Hamzat, the deputy governor of the state, revealed that the government is already putting into place fiber optics internet cable across the state in preparation for its digital future. He added that the government has launched the installation of closed-circuit television (CCTV) with 600 already installed and a benchmark of 1000 for the first phase of installation. It plans to install 20,000 cameras across the state to enhance security and control traffic.
The Venture capital initiative is coming at a much needed time, with most venture firms implementing strict measures on their investment strategies due to the economic meltdown hence providing one more fund for startups to fall back to.