Start-up due diligence visits: Insights from 15 African and Asia Pacific markets

In December 2018, the GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator programme announced the third cohort of its Innovation Fund. The third cohort of 11 start-ups emerged from a pool of 699 start-up applications, having gone through a rigorous selection process. Before the selection, between June and September 2018, we conducted due diligence on more than 25 start-ups across 15 African and Asia Pacific markets/tech ecosystems. We’d like to share a few things that we learnt about each tech ecosystem.

For clarity, we define start-up due diligence as the process that aims to give the technical, legal and financial grounds upon which a start-up can gain investor or donor support. It is an activity that investors undergo to evaluate a potential investment opportunity. To capture our learnings, the maps below highlight some opportunities and challenges shared by local stakeholders we spoke with (entrepreneurs, investors, mobile operators, tech hubs etc.) in each ecosystem.

Some of the common challenges across these markets include limited access to funding and mentors, limited access to technical talents, infrastructure deficit and little or no government support. However, each market has its respective opportunities. Some enjoy a large total addressable market, growing pool of investors or active mobile operator partners willing to work with local start-ups, among others.



We would like to conclude this blog by thanking all the 699 start-ups that applied to the third round of the GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund. We would also like to congratulate the 11 selected start-ups.

Interested in meeting any of our 35 portfolio start-ups? The Ecosystem Accelerator team will be running a bootcamp from 21 – 23 February in Barcelona, Spain. Following the bootcamp, our start-ups will be at Mobile World Congress and 4YFN, also in Barcelona, between 25 – 28 February.

The Ecosystem Accelerator programme is supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Australian Government, the GSMA and its members.

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