Prominent tech blog, Techpoint Africa is moving out of its Yaba office into an undisclosed location. The move came to light after the startup’s founder, Adewale Yusuf, tweeted a picture of the new space under construction.
Although the tweet didn’t reveal the location of the new space, one thing it does reveal is that the new office is not in Yaba.
Founded in 2014, Techpoint Africa is a leading media platform dedicated to startups, entrepreneurship, innovation and technology in Africa.
Techpoint Africa becomes one of several startups to move away from the Yabacon Valley.
Notable tech businesses that have left the Yaba ecosystem include Konga which moved to Ikeja, iDEA Hub, Andela, and SureGifts that all moved to the island. With Techpoint Africa following suite and with Adewale Yusuf considering it important to point out the new location isn’t in Yaba, it begs the question of whether Yaba is still a valid tech cluster for Nigerian startups.
But Why the Exits?
The frequent exit of these companies from what is believed to be the ganglion for startups in Lagos, has put a dent in Yaba’s standing as a leading African tech cluster. But what could be the cause of this?
One major reason for these exits is poor infrastructure. The most modern commercial real estate development areas in Lagos are on the island. And for tech startups that require bigger and better spaces, Yaba may not be most accommodating. Hence the move to places where spaces can be gotten.
Co-creation Hub boss, Bosun Tijani summed it up in a statement to Quartz.
“Like any cluster, you need infrastructure and Yaba needs investment in big enough, befitting structures.”Bosun Tijani
So unless something is done about the infrastructural developement of Yaba, the exodus won’t stop. Thankfully, the state government recognizes this need hence its plan to develop a well-structured technological hub in that area.
Asides infrastructure, there’s still no significant input from the institutions of higher learning in the area to technological innovations in Nigeria. This is despite its proximity to two major institutions of higher learning; the University of Lagos (Unilag) and Yaba College of Technology (Yabatech).
This means that tech startups outside of the zone do not really miss out on anything. After all, brands like Paystack and IrokoTv didn’t start from Yaba.
So until the ecosystem is developed well enough to ensure sustainability, we may not just be able to replicate the Silicon Valley kind of tech cluster in Nigeria.
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