In the middle of talking about the African tech startups space at a dinner with Steve Case (Founder, AOL) last year, he said “I think it’s time for African startups to go from Startups to SpeedUPs” …and I went “BOOM” #MajorKeyAlert — that’s how SpeedUPAfrica was born.
I knew we could not do just another “ecosystem event”, it had to be Impactful, it had to be Epic. Our focus was going to be Mentors + Workshops + Investments but with some twists. 5 key decisions we made;
1. Actual Startups: We decided that we had to work with startups that had actually “Started UP”, already existing products/services with traction, and not 2 people and a powerpoint.
2. No Panels: I love panels and have spoken on many, but for SpeedUPAfrica, we decided to keep it execution driven by replacing Panels & Speeches with Hands-on Workshops, and solution oriented Q & A sessions.
3. Peer-to-Peer: The usual gig is to have a domain expert droppin knowledge like it’s hot, and that’s great, and yes we’ll have epic experts spitting fire, but we also see these startup founders as CEOs; our bet is that they totally have some major keys to share too.
4. No Demo Day: Hate to break it to you but VCs hardly make investment decisions on Demo Days (VCs can I get a witness). If we wanted startups to actually have a chance of getting funded, we had to put them in one-on-one deal meetings with investors.
5. Turning Up: Dude, we totally had to get turnt up. From dance battles to awkward jokes to fun games, and everything in-between, we had to create a space for unlimited creative expression.
35 Days to ~ SpeedUPAfrica ~
Fast forward to today, SpeedUPAfrica is on track and promises to be Africa’s Most Epic 4 Day Startup Bootcamp aimed at transforming Startups to SpeedUPs.
We’ve got folks from Google, 500 Startups, Singularity University, and the likes coming to conduct intense execution driven workshops. Major local & international investors will also be coming to “make it rain”, but most major of them coming over is the Legendary Tim Draper (Founder, Draper Associates,Draper University, DFJ) — how cool is that!
About me: I am the Managing Partner, DraperDarkFlow, a silicon valley VC fund (backed by Tim Draper) that invests in African startups that can change the world. I’m also the Curator of SpeedUPAfrica — Africa Most Epic Startup Bootcamp. I’m really just a clueless dude trying to do the cool stuff.