We have just concluded an amazing business tour of Europe, thanks to Google and Co-Creation Hub in Nigeria.
On Monday 14 August, representatives from 14 African start-up companies set out for PitchDrive – a
whirlwind tour of London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Zurich and Paris, in which we met some of the biggest investors
in the world.
PitchDrive was an innovation competition powered by Google for Entrepreneurs and dreamed up by
Nigeria’s leading social innovation centre, Co-Creation Hub (CcHub). With it, we headed to the
biggest names in innovation that Europe has to offer – Google’s London campus, TQ in Amsterdam,
Factory Berlin and the Impact Hub in Zurich, before le grand finale at NUMA in Paris on
Unsurprisingly, the ‘venture capital goes on tour’ competition received a whopping 118 entries from
all over Africa. Of those, just 14 companies were chosen from 7 countries – only one of them South
African. And that startup was us.
“Being able to represent Africa as the only South African start-up was a double honour,” said
GoMetro’s founder and CEO Justin Coetzee. “Africa as a continent is experiencing really significant
economic growth, especially in the digital space. This tour complemented the launch of our London
office and our market expansion into the EU. This is the moment for GoMetro – and PitchDrive is
only going to accelerate our existing strategies. As part of our initiative to step outside of South
Africa into rest of Africa, this exciting tour helped us get to know those markets and our fellow
In this, the trip was also a five-star networking opportunity. PitchDrive also saw cream
of the innovation crop mentorship and support for the start-ups from notable tech founders such as
David Grunwald of Google for Entrepreneurs, Saidah Nash Carter of Reuters, Iroko founder and CEO
Jason Njoku and Stephen Newton of Illuminate Africa.
“Entrepreneurs from across Africa are building world-class tech companies, and we are delighted to
be able to use the power of the Google for Entrepreneurs network to showcase their fantastic
products to some of Europe’s most important tech ecosystems,” said David Grunwald.
Co-Creation Hub Nigeria (CcHub) founder and CEO Bosun Tijani added that, “upon completion of the
tour, each company has pitched to over 300 investors, with the specific goal of raising over €20M. This
is the first tour of its kind connecting African tech companies with European capital, and the
PitchDrive team is aiming to open up the sector to investors who desire to include emerging markets
in their portfolios. Through this platform, we hope to help secure a number of breakthrough
capital deals for the selected 14 start-ups, like the ‘Garage story’ of Google.”
We are all down for that… GoMetro’s garage dreams lean strongly towards providing safe, dignified
and affordable transport solutions for South Africa’s working class. GoMetro’s calling card is unique data mapping of public transport routes – in fact, our work in Rustenburg recently became the biggest case study of transport to ever be informally data mapped and regulated in history. Not only that, but we have a very specific plan to roll out in the rest of Africa.
We had a blast in Europe but, in the end, it’s all about Africa for us – specifically South Africa right now, as we try to get affordable, first world access to transport – and the dignity that comes with that – for more of our people.
“The raising of funding we did in Europe, the chief beneficiary of that is Africans,” said Coetzee. “We
will roll out into other African areas. During PitchDrive, we could speak to these people from Kigali from
Gaborone and such that are doing business in those areas.” This is in line with GoMetro’s current
mapping out Tyger Valley in Cape Town which, in both population density and size, is scalable to
Kigali, Gaborone, Addis Ababa and more – all areas we hope to break in to.
Watch out, world. GoMetro is coming to make it all better. And by the looks of how we took on Europe, it’s nothing we can’t handle.
Stay tuned for next week, when we discuss the lessons we learned in Europe and share more photos!