2017: A Year of MEST Expansion2017 was a year to remember at MEST. It featured guest lectures from experts like DataSift CEO Tim Barker, AMAs with industry leaders such as Y Combinator CEO Michael Seibel, and visits from international industry stakeholders. Following our pan-African vision, MEST also began recruiting in two new countries as well as expanded to two new major markets. The year was filled with exciting moments. As we enter 2018 and start celebrations for our tenth anniversary, join us as we take a look back at the ten top moments from 2017!
Facebook CPO Chris Cox visited MEST
In March, Facebook’s Chief Product officer visited MEST in Accra to see innovation in motion. The visit was part of his week long trip to Nigeria, Ghana, and Senegal to understand how creatives, developers, and entrepreneurs were using mobile technology to create service content that addresses local needs. Cox met with several MEST startups.
Geeks on a Plane came to MEST
In March, Dave McClure, Monique Woodard, and other members of Geeks on a Plane visited MEST as part of their first tour of sub-Saharan Africa. The group of 25 met with six MEST portfolio companies - DevLess, Loystar, TroTro Tractor, meQasa, Asoriba, and Kudobuzz. They also spoke with the EITs, even hearing pitches from three EITs who have since then become founders of MEST companies.
First cohort of Ivorian EITs joined MEST
MEST expanded recruitment of EITs to Cote d’Ivoire for the first time, welcoming the first Ivorian cohort in August. Ivorian EITs came to Accra early for English prep courses at Lancaster University to ensure a smooth transition.
First cohort of South African EITs joined MEST
Just as MEST expanded recruitment of EITs to its first Francophone nation, it also welcomed the first EITs from South Africa. MEST now recruits from Kenya, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, and South Africa covering East, West, and Southern Africa. Applications to join the next cohort are now open!
Aaron Fu joined MEST as Managing Director
September saw Aaron Fu, a former managing partner of NEST, join MEST as Managing Director. Fu came to MEST with a clear vision and wishlist for the tech scene in Africa.
Four new AgriTech companies joined the Accra Incubator through the Kosmos Innovation Center
Kosmos Energy announced the winners of the Kosmos Innovation Centre (KIC) Agritech Challenge in September. Through the competition, AgroInnova and QualiTrace won $100,000 in seed funding, while CompleteFarmer was provided with a sponsorship for 12 months of incubation at MEST. AniTrack, a MEST AgriTech company is also working out of the KIC office on the third floor of the MEST Incubator Accra.
MEST Incubator Lagos launched
In November, MEST was thrilled to welcome Lagos into its Pan-African Incubator community with the launch of the MEST Incubator Lagos in Nigeria. We’re excited about this development as it has allowed us to strengthen our presence in Nigeria. The space has already become a popular spot for the tech community with MEST Lagos Talks featuring guests like Victor Asemota and MEST Tech Conversations.
MEST Incubator Cape Town launched
Not only did MEST welcome Lagos to its Pan-African Incubator community, but it also welcomed Cape Town with the launch of the MEST Incubator Cape Town in South Africa. The Cape Town tech and startup community including investors, corporate executives, and more joined the celebration led by MEST CEO and founder Jorn Lyseggen, MEST MD Aaron Fu, and Cape Town Community Manager Victoria Jackson.
[caption id="attachment_5893" align="aligncenter" width="665"] Image by Greg Beadle[/caption]
MEST Kenyan alum found a home with Metta Nairobi
A new partnership for MEST with Metta in early November now means that Kenyan based alumni will now have a space to work. MEST alumni in Nairobi will receive access to working space, events, and Metta’s global network.
French President Emmanuel Macron met with MEST Head of Operations Celine Duros
In December, French President Emmanuel Macron visited Impact Hub Accra. During his visit he met with MEST Head of Operations Celine Duros. The visit was part of a trip to West Africa, including Togo, Ghana, and Cote d’Ivoire.
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Due to COVID-19, MEST postpones training program to next year and doubles down on growing portfolio companies
At MEST, we continue to be deeply concerned about COVID-19 and have been closely monitoring developments locally and globally. Our number one priority remains the health and safety of our community and we will continue to follow local authority and health official guidelines.
Due to the ongoing nature of the pandemic and the uncertainty that the future of travel holds, we have been unable to conduct in-person interviews and host recruitment around Africa for our next cohort. For this reason, we have taken the decision to postpone the Training Program to next year.
While these circumstances are indeed unfortunate, we see this as an exciting opportunity at MEST to double down on providing support and mentorship to our existing portfolio companies and the African ecosystem.
Congratulations MEST Class of 2019: Graduation Weekend Recap
A recap of the MEST Africa Class of 2019's Graduation weekend