From Silicon Valley to Africa: Pronomos Capital and Two Lions CEO, visits Itana

June 19, 2023

In his first trip to Africa, the multi-Billion dollar venture capitalist visits Itana with a commitment to invest in founders and entrepreneurs building solutions on the continent. His visit sparked excitement and signaled a bright future for Africa's tech ecosystem. In this article, we delved into his impactful visit, and uncovered the untapped wealth potential that triggered his decision to make Nigeria his destination in Africa.

Bradford Cross, serial entrepreneur and investor, who notably founded Prismatic, a personalized news feed that became a portion of the IP underlying LinkedIn’s newsfeed and content classification, visited Nigeria in May 2023. During his visit, he met with a number of founders, government officials, entrepreneurs, and investors. He also gave a speech at the Itana Founders Mixer in Lagos.

Bradford's visit to Nigeria was part of a larger effort by Pronomos and TwoLions to support innovation and growth for founders building on the continent. The company, which boasts of over $2b in assets, has invested in a number of African startups including Itana.

Impressed by the enormous potential of the African tech ecosystem and future cities, Cross said: "I'm really excited about the future of Africa, the energy here among founders is high and different from any other part of the world. There's so much energy, determination and resilience to build in the talent and founder’s ecosystem here, and I think that’s a major driver for innovation."

Bradford's visit was met with a great deal of enthusiasm by the Nigerian tech and startup community. Many industry stakeholders and founders  saw it as a sign of the growing importance of Africa as a hub for innovation.

"Bradford’s visit makes a remarkable statement globally," said Victor Ndukwe, the Development lead at Itana. "It shows that the world is taking notice of the amazing things happening in the Nigerian tech space."

Networking with founders and Investors in Nigeria

Bradford’s visit to Nigeria was a “Big Deal” for founders and investors. From a tech investment perspective, Bradford’s decision to visit Nigeria is relatively straightforward. Investments from Global Venture Capitalists and Private Equity firms in Africa have skyrocketed over the past few decades. In the year 2022, African tech startups raised over $6.5 billion in investments with Nigeria taking center stage.

Bradford Cross at Co-Creation Hub, Lagos

Bradford's visit is just one example of the increasing interest in Nigeria from the global tech community, and with the Nigerian government signing the Nigeria Startup Act into Law, Nigeria is well positioned as the continent’s base for tech and startup innovation. Bradford took a tour at Co-Creation Hub (CcHub), one of Nigeria’s leading tech innovation hubs, founded by Bosun Tijani. He met and shared practical growth ideas with various mission driven founders building diverse industry tailored solutions for Africa. 

Bradford, continuing his tour, had a series of discussions over lunch and dinner with Industry stakeholders, founders and investors in Nigeria.  He met with founders and stakeholders from Africa’s Biggest enterprises, like Kora, Binance, Bvnk, African Finance Corporation, LocalRamp and much more.

Itana, Future Cities and Network States

Bradford’s deep interest and core belief in future cities and special economic zones, playing a vital role in driving global change, foreign direct investments and boosting investors confidence tailored his tour in Nigeria. In this trail, Bradford met with over 200+ founders, investors, ecosystem operators and tech talents at the “Builders of Africa’s future” mixer organized by Itana.

Bradford Cross at Itana’s Builders of Africa Mixer

"Itana’s mission of building a tech city  here in Lagos with a community centered approach driven by experienced founders is quite commendable” Bradford remarks at the Builders of Africa mixer. “It’s really exciting meeting founders in the Itana Digital Residency community and learning about the products they are building on the continent”.

Bradford strongly believes future cities and special economic zones like Itana will significantly serve as a major investment vehicle for global venture capitalists and investors who are looking to tap into Africa's large and growing population, its young and increasingly tech-savvy workforce, and its rapidly developing economy.

Bradford Cross visits Aliko Dangote; alongside some Itana team members

Victor, development lead at Itana believes that Bradfords’s visit will also draw more attention to Africa from Silicon Valley. “He could have gone anywhere else, but he understood the diverse opportunities yet untapped in Africa '' he said. “Visiting Nigeria and specifically Itana sends a message to the global tech players off the sidelines.” 

Here are some of the key takeaways from Bradford's visit to Nigeria:

  • The Nigerian tech community is thriving, and there is a lot of potential for innovation.
  • Global Venture capitalists are taking notice of Africa, and there is a growing interest in investing in African startups.
  • Bradford's visit is a sign of the untapped potential and opportunities that can be harnessed to solve critical problems across africa.

As for what to expect from Bradford after his visit, strong indications show his deep interest in investments into African startups, Crypto, and Future Cities as he met relevant stakeholders in these industries. “Africa’s potential for growth is largely untapped and with what Iyinoluwa Aboyeji has done at Andela, Flutterwave and Future Africa, I believe in the rise of hundreds of Unicorns on the continent in a few years”. Bradford said in an interview with Itana.

The future of Africa is looking bright, and Bradford's visit is just one sign of that. With the continued support of the global tech community, Africa is poised to become a major player in the global tech scene.

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