Nigerian tech hub partners with Google to embark on fundraising European tour
Co-creation Hub (CcHUB), the leading technology innovation centre in Nigeria and Google for Entrepreneurs, have announced the launch of PitchDrive, a three week, five-city European tech hub tour across London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Zurich and Paris. This partnership will bring 15 elite African tech companies together to pitch to investors, explore international opportunities and learn about frontier technology markets.
African startup founders looking to raise Series A funding and above will be selected by the PitchDrive team to embark on a landmark tour that aims to build stronger networks between European investors and African tech talent. Starting in London on 14th of August 2017, the cohort will visit Google’s Campus London, TQ Amsterdam, Factory Berlin and Impact Hub in Zurich, concluding at NUMA Paris. Upon completion of the tour, the inaugural cohort will have pitched to over 300 investors, with the specific goal of raising over €20M in the three week period. This is the first tour of its kind to connect African tech companies with European capital, and the PitchDrive team is aiming to open up the sector to investors who want to build their portfolios to include emerging markets.
‘Bosun Tijani, CcHub Founder and CEO says, “PitchDrive will hit the road in August to connect Africa’s tech elite with Europe’s most influential investors. Applicants will be subjected to a rigorous selection process, and those selected will go on to have their business models scrutinised and analysed by some very shrewd and highly experienced investors at a Demo Day on each stop of the tour. It will be tough, but ultimately, we hope to help secure a number of breakthrough capital deals for those who embark on this journey with us. This is an incredible opportunity, and applications for just 15 places on the PitchDrive bus, are now welcome.
Google started in a garage two decades ago. Our bus is the equivalent of their garage. We hope that with the support of Google for Entrepreneurs on the PitchDrive tour, we may secure capital to launch a new trajectory for one or two African unicorns of the future”.
PitchDrive will provide all travel, accommodation and visa support, as well mentorship and support from notable tech founders well versed in fund raising, including Iroko Founder and CEO Jason Njoku, Saidah Nash Carter of Reuters, Stephen Newton of Illuminate Africa and David Grunwald of Google for Entrepreneurs.
David Grunwald, Head of Global Partnerships Google for Entrepreneurs, adds: "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 audiences in some of Europe's most important tech ecosystems"
Applications are now open for African tech startups who are in a position to fundraise at seed stage and above. Those looking to apply must have been running for at least two years, and be a legal, registered enterprise able to demonstrate a minimum of 12 months revenue-generating operations and must be based in Africa. Ideally, startups will also have a strong management team who have worked together for at least 12 months and the founding team should own between 30-60 percent of the business with a high quality board. Founders must also be available for a three week period through the Summer of 2017.
Automation of repetitive tasks leads to higher value work
Two-thirds of global office workers feel they are constantly doing the same tasks over and over again. That’s according to a new study (2021 Office Worker Survey) from automation software company UiPath.
Whether emailing, inputting data, or scheduling calls and meetings, the majority of those surveyed said they waste on average four and a half hours a week on time-consuming tasks that they think could be automated.
Not only is the undertaking of such repetitious and mundane tasks a waste of time for employees, and therefore for businesses, but it can also have a negative impact on employees’ motivation and productivity. And the research backs this up with more than half (58%) of those surveyed saying that undertaking such repetitive tasks doesn’t allow them to be as creative as they’d like to be.
“When repetitive, unrewarding tasks are handled by people, it takes time and this can cause delays and reduce both employee and customer satisfaction,” Gavin Mee, Managing Director of UiPath Northern Europe tells Business Chief. “Repetitive tasks can also be tedious, which often leads to stress and an increased likelihood to leave a job.”
And these tasks exist at all levels within an organisation, right up to executive level, where there are “small daily tasks that can be automated, such as scheduling, logging onto systems and creating reports”, adds Mee.
Automation can free employees to focus on higher value work
By automating some or all of these repetitive tasks, employees at whatever level of the organisation are freed up to focus on meaningful work that is creative, collaborative and strategic, something that will not only help them feel more engaged, but also benefit the organisation.
“Automation can free people to do more engaging, rewarding and higher value work,” says Mee, highlighting that 68% of global workers believe automation will make them more productive and 60% of executives agree that automation will enable people to focus on more strategic work. “Importantly, 57% of executives also say that automation increases employee engagement, all important factors to achieving business objectives.”
These aren’t the only benefits, however. One of the problems with employees doing some of these repetitive tasks manually is that “people are fallible and make mistakes”, says Mee, whereas automation boosts accuracy and reduces manual errors by 57%, according to Forrester Research. Compliance is also improved, according to 92% of global organisations.
Repetitive tasks that can be automated
Any repetitive process can be automated, Mee explains, from paying invoices to dealing with enquiries, or authorising documents and managing insurance claims. “The process will vary from business to business, but office workers have identified and created software robots to assist with thousands of common tasks they want automated.”
These include inputting data or creating data sets, a time-consuming task that 59% of those surveyed globally said was the task they would most like to automate, with scheduling of calls and meetings (57%) and sending template or reminder emails (60%) also top of the automation list. Far fewer believed, however, that tasks such as liaising with their team or customers could be automated, illustrating the higher value of such tasks.
“By employing software robots to undertake such tasks, they can be handled much more quickly,” adds Mee pointing to OTP Bank Romania, which during the pandemic used an automation to process requests to postpone bank loan instalments. “This reduced the processing time of a single request from 10 minutes to 20 seconds, allowing the bank to cope with a 125% increase in the number of calls received by call centre agents.”
Mee says: “Automation accelerates digital transformation, according to 63% of global executives. It also drives major cost savings and improves business metrics, and because software robots can ramp-up quickly to meet spikes in demand, it improves resilience.
Five business areas that can be automated
Mee outlines five business areas where automation can really make a difference.
- Contact centres Whether a customer seeks help online, in-store or with an agent, the entire customer service journey can be automated – from initial interaction to reaching a satisfying outcome
- Finance and accounting Automation enables firms to manage tasks such as invoice processing, ensuring accuracy and preventing mistakes
- Human resources Automations can be used across the HR team to manage things like payroll, assessing job candidates, and on-boarding
- IT IT teams are often swamped in daily activity like on-boarding or off-boarding employees. Deploying virtual machines, provisioning, configuring, and maintaining infrastructure. These tasks are ideal for automation
- Legal There are many important administrative tasks undertaken by legal teams that can be automated. Often, legal professionals are creating their own robots to help them manage this work. In legal and compliance processes, that means attorneys and paralegals can respond more quickly to increasing demands from clients and internal stakeholders. Robots don’t store data, and the data they use is encrypted in transit and at rest, which improves risk profiling and compliance.
“To embark on an automation journey, organisations need to create a Centre of Excellence in which technical expertise is fostered,” explains Mee. “This group of experts can begin automating processes quickly to show return on investment and gain buy-in. This effort leads to greater interest from within the organisation, which often kick-starts a strategic focus on embedding automation.”