On Friday November 15, 2019, Hackers and Founders, the world’s largest network of entrepreneurs with over 300,000 members that attend their events in 50 countries and 143 cities, inaugurated a new chapter in Lagos, Nigeria. It was an evening of fun, learning, and networking. The meetup had in attendance Victor Tubotamuno, the Chapter Lead; Robbert Walstra, a Hackers and Founders executive in Mexico, and some software developers and businesspeople.
Hackers and Founders, also known as H/F, hosts events where people – entrepreneurs, lawyers, businesspeople – meet up in an informal setting and have discussions about their work and their local ecosystem, with the intention of exploring partnerships and brainstorming solutions to common problems that they face. H/F meetups can be thought of as a support group for entrepreneurs.
H/F was founded by Jonathan Nelson in 2011. According to Mr. Walstra, H/F started with Mr. Nelson talking with engineers in bars about startups and programming. After the global financial crisis in 2008, many developers had lost their jobs. From conversations that Mr. Nelson had with them, he realized that many entrepreneurs experienced difficulties with getting their startups funded. In his manner of wanting to help out, he left his nursing career and began reading books on finance. Currently, he’s a finance expert having worked with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the US for several years.
Besides organizing events, H/F runs a Co-op in San Francisco which incubates startups and provides them with financial advice and support. Till date, H/F has made investments in 2 startups, has had 1 exit, and has raised a total of $120m across 6 funds. Mr Walstra noted that H/F sees huge potential for economic and social developments in Latin America and Africa and will be focusing on empowering young entrepreneurs from these regions in the coming years.
The vision of Hackers and Founders is to have quality chapters in different tech clusters across Africa. Mr Tubotamuno noted that the community presents a good opportunity for Nigerian entrepreneurs to connect with their global counterparts.