For African tech startups, finding investors means getting into the spaces where venture capitalists gather. Seven companies received exactly that by attending two of the world’s biggest tech events: Web Summit in Lisbon, and Slush in Helsinki.

At Web Summit, which gathered 70,000 attendees from November 1 to 4, Muchu Kaingu, CTO of Lupiya, went with startup funding already in place. Lupiya, a micro-finance company, had already raised $1 million in 2020 and was looking for a new round of funding to grow the business and expand into markets beyond their home country, Zambia.

Through ITC’s #FastTrackTech Africa project, Lupiya and Zambian food delivery platform AfriOnline each had a booth for a day. Kaingu also received a coveted slot to pitch on stage for about 80 people.

In Helsinki, NTF V and #FastTrackTech sent five companies to network among the 12,000 attendees that gathered during Slush, which has established its reputation on its high investor/startup founder ratio and its focus on being an event “by founders for founders”.

Representing Senegalese online insurance company Assuraf, Souleymane Gning, Abdoulaye Maiga pitched his ride-hailing app Teliman, which lets users find motorcycle taxis and Tigabu Abriham showcased Eshi Express, an online delivery service in Ethiopia. From Uganda, Eric Nana Agyei represented MobiPay, which provides small farmers with digital payment solutions. Also in agritech, Jean-Delmas Ehui brought ICT4Dev from Côte d’Ivoire, to showcase how his company uses data to help small farmers improve their harvests.

They all held meetings with other company founders, as well as potential partners and investors. For many of the African businesses, Slush opened a window on how to scale businesses that they had often bootstrapped with their own money to bring services that hadn’t previously existed in their countries.

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