HK’s Leading Startup Investment Firm Nest Expands Network to Africa
Hong Kong’s leading startup and early stage investment firm, Nest, exports its philosophies and know-how to Africa by opening an office in Nairobi.
Nest, Hong Kong’s only private, full service startup incubator, is growing its network to the African continent by opening an office in Nairobi today. Nest is the first Hong Kong-based venture capital firm to establish itself in Africa and will be working to foster the region’s top entrepreneurial talent.
Through sharing knowledge and experience, providing access to funding and making introductions to successful entrepreneurs, Nest supports startups on their path to success and enables them to scale rapidly.
Located at Kenya’s largest co-working space, Nairobi Garage, Nest Nairobi is headed up by managing partner Aaron Fu who previously worked as regional digital strategy lead for Africa at Standard Chartered Bank. There he spearheaded the bank’s digital sales framework across the continent and oversaw the delivery of multi-market digital security projects and mobile activation strategies. Fu has an MSc in Business in Emerging Markets from the University of Edinburgh and more than eight years of experience in financial services and technology across Europe, Asia and Africa. He has also founded, invested in and advised a succession of startups on their growth strategies. Bringing a wealth of experience to launching successful products and services, Fu will enable Nest to extend its startup eco-system and accelerator programmes to the rapidly emerging innovation hubs in Africa.
Having pioneered the eco-system in Hong Kong, Nest will continue to invigorate and champion entrepreneurship in centres of innovation across the world. The office in Nairobi will act as a launchpad for Africa and startups from across the continent will be encouraged to apply for funding and support. Fu’s primary focus will be to connect the region’s most promising entrepreneurs with Nest’s proven startup eco-system through the pillars of marketing, strategy, funding and network.
Simon Squibb, CEO of Nest, said, “As part of Nest’s overseas expansion strategy we made the decision to launch in Africa in order to be one of the first to offer access to Asia. We already have a presence in London and shortly the US, and will look to bring this extended network to Africa’s entrepreneurs. Our unique support system can make the difference between success and failure as we give entrepreneurs access to the right tools and resources to enable them to turn their dreams into a reality. Far more valuable than mere funding, we provide mentorship, advice, space to develop ideas as well as access to shared legal and accounting experts so they can focus on developing their products and growing successful businesses. There is a lot of exciting talent in Africa and there’s a huge opportunity to scale businesses both across the continent and also globally. We can enhance access to financial services and develop effective education and healthcare technologies that reach the bottom of the pyramid and directly impact people’s lives. ”
Aaron Fu added, “Kenya is an exciting frontier market and Nest has the opportunity to be one of the first overseas organisations to make an impact and accelerate the growth of startups in Silicon Savannah. Momentum is already building in Nairobi’s startup and thriving technology community and Nest can add to this by providing startups with access to Asian capital, global mentors and market opportunities and developing the right partnerships between Asian and African entrepreneurs and businesses. While we are based in Kenya we will be working across Africa to find the best ideas and talent, in particular Lagos, and Accra and Cape Town where the startup scene is already flourishing. By combining the best practices of two vibrant startup eco-systems – Nairobi and Hong Kong – and connecting two continents, we are well placed to help founders internationalise their startups and scale innovations into, across and out of Africa. I admire Nest’s holistic approach to accelerating startups and look forward to collaborating with key stakeholders and eco-system actors to spur innovation and accelerate the rate of growth of businesses out of Nest Nairobi in the months to come.”
In Hong Kong, Nest has also partnered with international brands including DBS Bank, a leader in SME banking and private wealth services across Asia and the Middle East and AIA, Asia’s pre-eminent insurer, to pioneer corporate accelerator programmes that connect corporates with innovation and entrepreneurs. Fu will be looking to develop similar programmes in Africa in the coming months.