Transforming tech start-ups into world-class firms

Lawyer and Co-founder of Ventures Dialogue, Damilola Thompson is using her platform to train tech start-ups and entrepreneurs on how to raise funds and build sustainable enterprises. She works with an extensive network of incubators, accelerators, and young people to drive innovation for early-stage firms. DANIEL ESSIET writes.

She has a history of excellence and innovation in the venture capital business and is keen to partner with outstanding entrepreneurs and management teams to build world-class companies. Lawyer and Co-Founder of Ventures Dialogue, a platform that educates and trains tech start-ups and entrepreneurs on how to raise funds and build sustainable enterprises, Damilola Thompson, has indeed, achieved a lot by leveraging her platform to connect start-ups with funding and advice.

Damilola does this by educating, training and investing in entrepreneurs in order to build sustainable enterprises. She said her organisation invests across all early stages of start-ups and has supported hotbeds of entrepreneurial activities, backing passionate, serious-minded entrepreneurs who have the vision and unstoppable drive to make a difference in the world of business.

In doing so, Damilola draws her strength partly from Nigeria’s entrepreneurial ecosystem said to be booming in major cities across the country, thanks to a growing tech talent pool and access to venture capital.

This must be why in recent years, tech giants from the United States and Europe have been clamoring to get a piece of Nigeria’s juicy tech pie, which is home to about 120 million people and a growing Internet market. They often begin by financing local upstarts, which provide directional advice to their foreign corporate investors.

But, Damilola, a Law degree holder from the University of Lagos, and a Master’s in Business Law and Technology from the University of California (UC), Berkeley, is determined to see Nigerians get a piece of the action.

Accordingly, the growth investor searches for thriving start-ups to prime them for expansion and subsequent transition into sustainable world-class companies capable of holding their own in the world of business.

Her dream is to see unicorns and super apps emerge from Nigeria. She believes that as Nigeria’s Internet ecosystem is maturing, there are actually a lot of opportunities for start-ups across key sectors.

She is among a group of investors discovering Nigeria’s next generation of tech entrepreneurs and showing them what is possible. This she does by working with an extensive network of incubators, accelerators and young people to drive innovation at early-stage companies.

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Damilola was involved in building Grupa.io, a community of product teams, product owners and service providers collaborating to build high-growth global companies by leveraging on tools, resources and skills in the community.

She is also Vice President and Associate General Counsel/Co-Director, Corporate Development, EchoVC Partners, an early stage and high growth venture capital firm with offices in Lagos, Nairobi and London.

EchoVC Partners invests in African and Africa-focused tech startups. It is also an experienced seed, early-stage & growth technology venture capital fund focused on financing and cross-pollinating leading technologies, teams and business models in Sub-Saharan Africa and North America.

EchoVC’s team consists of entrepreneurial professionals who bring a combination of investment experience, domain knowledge and operations expertise across sectors with a passion for building companies that promote modern learning methodologies designed to create tomorrow’s leaders.

They invest in young, fast-growing companies across Nigeria in the media and Internet, IT, consumer and retail, healthcare, clean technology and education sector.

As Vice President of EchoVC, Damilola understands the venture capital industry. She noted that the funding gap in the ecosystem in Nigeria and Africa generally is glaring and widening almost on daily basis.

She, therefore, said it was crucial investors are equipped to support entrepreneurs with funding, partnerships and other opportunities that help them build global and sustainable businesses.