Competition in Nigeria’s tech space hits up as Facebook takes on Google with multi-billion project


The tech startup scene in Nigeria is hotting up — with the unveiling today by social media site Facebook of NG_Hub in Lagos, Nigeria and a new Facebook accelerator programme which will offer Nigerian startups $20 000 in equity-free funding.

The new hub sees Facebook taking on Google’s Lagos-based Launchpad Accelerator, which was launched earlier this year.

In a press release today Facebook said the hub — which it will run in partnership with Nigeria’s CcHub — is Facebook’s first community hub in Africa.

The launch today (with Ime Archibong, vice-president of partnerships at Facebook pictured above) is part of a week-long celebration by the social network which will bring together developers, startups, and the wider tech community across Lagos and Nigeria.

Facebook also announced partnerships with seven other hubs across the country including in Abuja (Ventures Platform), Jos (nHub), Kaduna (Colab Hub), Kano (DI Hub), Uyo (Start Innovation Hub), Enugu (Roar Hub) and Port Harcourt (Ken Saro Wiwa Hub).

The social network said these hubs would serve as “centres of excellence” and will feature dedicated Facebook spaces, where many of Facebook’s training sessions will take place, and a space where creatives and developers can book to help them advance their skills.

Facebook today unveiled NG_Hub in Lagos and a new accelerator programme which will offer Nigerian startups $20 000 in equity-free funding

Today’s launch followed a statement in November last year by Facebook that it planned to launch a hub in Nigeria with CcHub this year.

The launch also follows Google’s announcement in March of its first cohort to take part in the Launchpad Africa Accelerator.

The NG_Hub space includes workspaces, meeting rooms, games and chill out room, an event space and a well catered café, will also be the focal point for a number of training programmes.
Accelerator to offer $20 000 in equity-free funding

The hub will include Facebook’s Fb Start Accelerator programme – a research and mentorship-driven programme focused on those building solutions using advanced technology, with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

Facebook notes on its accelerator page that those accepted in the accelerator programme will get $20 000 in equity-free funding; product development and business support; access to technical experts and business mentors from the Facebook and CcHUB network and an office space with high-speed internet, meeting rooms and more.

To be eligible for the programme startups must meet the following criteria:

Have a functional product leveraging one of these technologies: artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), data science, artificial reality or virtual reality
Have gained some users or customers.
Have a technical lead and founder (s) that are fully committed to the business.
Have the potential to disrupt or greatly enhance their focus industries.

Startups that want to participate in the accelerator programme have until 22 June to apply (one can apply here).

As part of a week-long of celebrations, Facebook will host a number of events until Friday aimed at engaging the different communities in Lagos, and across Nigeria. This includes a community roundtable, a dev meetup, a VC and policy roundtable and an event aimed at women in tech.

Featured image: Ime Archibong, vice-president of partnerships at Facebook (Facebook Africa via Facebook)