Startups in East Africa have a new source for investment and mentorship.
Sweden’s Norrsken Foundation—a coworking space and investment fund based in Stockholm—opened its tech fund and entrepreneurship hub in Rwanda today to support ventures across the region.
Norrsken’s Kigali center is located on the former École Belge campus and will begin with seed investments of $25K to $100K for early stage startups in all sectors starting this year, Norrsken CEO Erik Engellau-Nilsson told TechCrunch.
The fund size is still being determined and Norrsken Kigali will extend the fund to larger series-stage investments from $100K to $1 million in the future.
Norrsken’s Fredrika Wessman is the head of Africa expansion and the organization is in the process of hiring a local director for its new Kigali operation.
The Swedish foundation’s move into Rwanda is strongly connected to the organization’s focus on the power of tech entrepreneurs to solve problems and generate capacity.
“We believe the single most important thing we can do here is help people get wealthy, because if that happens more investors will start to look at this region and see there’s business opportunities and bring more capital,” said Engellau-Nilsson.
“The aim is to build the biggest hub for entrepreneurship in East Africa.”
Startups that receive Norrsken funding from its Kigali center will receive mentorship and support of the overall Norrsken organization and network. “That includes unicorn founders, leading tech founders, and developers. We also look to expand that network to local accelerators and incubators,” said Engellau-Nilsson.
The Kigali center is Norrsken’s first launch outside of Sweden and the organization looks to open in 25 markets globally over the next decade.
Norrsken was formed in 2016 by Niklas Adalberth, the founder of Swedish payments solutions unicorn Klarna. Engellau-Nilsson was an exec with Adalberth at Klarna from 2013 to 2017, and both aimed to do more to support impact-driven, early stage ventures.
“We wanted to use our experience and tech to solve real problems instead of finding another way to do things like deliver burrito’s faster,” said Engellau-Nilsson.
Over 340 entrepreneurs and 120 companies currently work out of Norrsken’s Stockholm location. The organization’s fund has invested in 17 ventures, including three Africa focused startups—agtech company Wefarm, digital publisher Kognity, and weather forecasting firm Ignitia.
Norrsken chose Rwanda as the base for its East African for the country’s progress over the last decade on infrastructure, increasing internet penetration, and improving its business environment. In 2019, Rwanda ranked higher than any African country on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business list, 29th, before Spain.
Though the country has a relatively small population (12 million) and tech scene, the government of Rwanda has prioritized tech events and development in the country. This includes becoming a leader on drone delivery and regulatory systems, working most notably with San Francisco based UAV startup Zipline.
Of the East African countries from which Norrksen will source investments, Kenya stands out as one of the continent’s top hubs for tech startup formation, VC, and exits.
As for how ventures can reach out to pitch to Norrsken’s new fund, “If there are entrepreneurs who want to reach out to us, we’re ready to go,” said Engellau-Nilsson. Norrsken posted an informational and contact link for its Rwanda hub today.
Major Espresso Machine Brands Ranked Worst To Best
Made in Italy, Lelit holds a prominent position among top-tier espresso machine manufacturers. While it may be one of the smaller Italian brands, Lelit has made a name for itself by crafting high-caliber machines. The company takes pride in its Italian roots and every Lelit machine is designed and manufactured in Italy.
Given the quality Lelit upholds, their machines come with a premium price tag. They fit the needs of businesses and quaint cafes. However, their cost might place them beyond the reach of the average household unless they have considerable disposable income or have been saving up for one. The Victoria, Lelit’s entry-level model, costs about $1,000, while their flagship, the Bianca, can be priced upward of $3,000. For such an investment, owners receive a café-grade espresso machine laden with top-notch features. Lelit’s machines are known for their precision in temperature regulation via electronic sensors, strong stainless steel construction, and sleek design.
They’re not as large as industrial-designed espresso machines, but they produce the same quality in a compact and aesthetically pleasing design. The higher-end model comes with carved wooden handles and knobs while their entry-level products use plastic in their design.
It Sure Looks Like Microsoft Will Get To Buy Activision After All
Although consultation on this new proposal doesn’t end until next month, the government body said this new plan overall “makes important changes that substantially address the concerns it set out” when the first proposal was submitted. It noted that it would quell the concerns that big franchises such as “Overwatch,” “World of Warcraft,” and “Call of Duty” would be under the sole control of Microsoft for cloud gaming.
However, the CMA still worries that certain aspects of the deal might not be fully upheld. It noted that Microsoft has assured that this would not be the case, as the terms will be enforceable by the CMA. Colin Raftery, senior director of mergers and Phase 1 decision maker, said, “With additional protections to make sure that the deal is properly implemented, this will maintain the structure of the market, enabling open competition to continue….”
If the CMA finds this proposal to be acceptable, Microsoft is still not in the clear. Another ongoing consultation about the acquisition determines if Microsoft can purchase any part of Activision, excluding the previously mentioned cloud services. Both consultations will be open until October 6. With the FTC’s go-ahead and the CMA’s acknowledgment that Microsoft is headed in the right direction, this deal could be getting off the ground sooner rather than later.
Why The iPhone 15 Pro Max Might Just Win You Over Even Before You Turn It On
The recent downside to that, though, came with the switch in Apple’s design language to squared-off edges. That transition, on the iPhone 12, wasn’t exactly new — in fact, it was heralded as a welcome nod back to one of the most popular designs in the Cupertino firm’s back catalog, the iPhone 5 — but it was the first time we’d seen that crisp aesthetic with such big screens on the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
As anybody who has used any of the Max-scale models since then will probably have discovered, there can be a downside when it comes to your fingers.
To be blunt, the iPhone is sharp. Whether using the iPhone 14 Pro Max one- or two-handed, I’d typically support the bottom edge with the little finger on my right hand. 240 grams may not sound like a lot, but when it’s all pressing down on one narrow edge, on the sensitive skin of your weakest finger, after a while you notice it.
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