Japanese VC, Kazana to invest $100 million in Ethiopian startups

The Tokyo-based venture capital firm Inclusion Japan (ICJ) in partnership with the early-stage startup investor Kazana Fund, is set to fund startups in Ethiopia allocating $100 million.The two companies call on Ethiopian startups with pitch-ready ideas looking to secure significant capital funds, to take advantage of its upcoming exclusive event with an opportunity to secure capital ranging from $100,000 to $500,000.

Local startups applying for the opportunity will have the chance to meet and discuss with senior executives from ICJ and Kazana Fund, where they can pitch their ideas as well as have a chance to become one of the eight startup businesses to receive a 100,000-birr prize along with the prospect of future investment from ICJ for a winning pitch.Teams wishing to meet with ICJ and Kazan Fund are required to send a PITCH video no longer than 10 minutes until the 23rd of January 2023 via info@inclusionj.com.

The 10 minutes long PITCH video should include the following elements 1) Problem 2) Solution 3) Business Model 4) Market 5) Competitors, Competitive Advantage 6) Business Plan 7) Team.

The exclusive event is part of a $100 million budget investment by ICJ that is planned to go towards the top Ethiopian startups with ideas revolutionizing a wide range of sectors.ICJ has already invested over $3 million in local startups such as Gebeya Inc, a SaaS-enabled pan-African marketplace.

Remarking on the opportunity Yasuhiro Yoshizawa, Director and Co-founder of ICJ said” We are really looking forward to meeting more promising Ethiopian startups through this event.”Yoshizawa and his delegation will be traveling to Ethiopia to meet with representatives of local startups on issues like future investment plans among other topics.

Yoshizawa along with Nishiguchi, a world-renowned marketer and ICJ fund advisor, Addis Alemayehu, Founding Partner at Kazana Fund, and Group CEO of Kazana Business Group will be chairing the PITCH Day competition where participating teams will be presenting their winning ideas to secure the significant capital funding required to boost their business.

“It is crucial for the local startup environment that the private sector becomes a primary development agent that fosters an enabling environment for Ethiopia demographic dividend, mostly represented by the youth, to build innovative businesses and create much-needed job opportunities,” said Addis.

To date, ICJ has invested in 16 startups under their ICJ No. 2 Fund. The venture capital firm started its operations in Africa with its first investments being in Ethiopian-based startups. Kazana Fund for its part recently made a major move with the launch of its Angel syndicate in line with its mission to democratize access to capital and network for exceptional African founders and accelerate the Growth of the continent’s digital economy.

The former CEO of Ethio Telecom, Andualem Admassie (Ph.D.), has been appointed as the new CEO of Tele Mobile South Sudan (TMSS), a telecommunications service provider in South Sudan.Andualem, who led Ethio Telecom for five years, received his letter of appointment on January 18, 2023, at a ceremony held in South Sudan’s capital Juba.

According to a statement shared on the operator’s website, the company was founded by Ethiopian investor Aisheshim Teka and is currently the fourth largest provider of mobile communication services in South Sudan after MTN, Zain, and Digitel.Aysheshim Teka has spent the last 15 years residing in Juba, South Sudan, and is well known for engaging in a variety of business ventures.

In recognition of his contributions to world peace, development, and humanitarian aid while residing in South Sudan, the government of that country awarded him honorary citizenship in 2019.Andualem, who holds his Ph.D. in Business Administration from Bulacan State University, was replaced by Frehiwot Tamiru from his leadership position in Ethio Telecom in 2018 and was later appointed as Director for the Higher Education Relevance and Quality Agency (HERQA).

Andualem’s new chapter in Juba comes after Ethio Telecom’s senior management team, led by Frehiwot, visited South Sudan, which has one of the lowest mobile penetration rates in Africa, last month.Ethio Telecom also signed a strategic partnership agreement with Tele Mobile South Sudan to work together in the areas of international internet gateways and communication lines, telecom infrastructure expansion, and provisioning of telecom services, among others.

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