Historically, women have played prominent roles in the advancement of technology, amongst the first programmers in the world, pioneering algorithms, language programmers and other invaluable technologies without which life today would be unimaginable. However, in the sexist ’60s, as the tech industry grew into a lucrative, socially imperative venture, women have been ostentatiously shut out and grossly underrepresented in leading positions. In the 60 years since, things have hardly changed for women in tech, but the future looks increasingly bright thanks to budding Nigerian entrepreneurs who are investing in women in African tech.
Boasting that they’ll be the ones “writing first checks for audacious female founders, with bold ideas, at the “ridiculously early” stage,” FirstCheck Africa is a female-led angel fund, founded by PiggyVest Co-founder and COO, Odun Eweniyi and Eloho Omame, Managing Director of Endeavor Nigeria.
Today, we launch FirstCheck Africa (@FirstCheckHQ), to invest "ridiculously early" and open doors for female founders, and to help women invest in tech. 🎉🎉
Our vision is an African future that women have an equal hand in leading & shaping through tech & entrepreneurship.
— Eloho 🌱 (@ElohoGM) January 25, 2021
It is no secret, even to those outside the tech world, that female entrepreneurs are grossly under-funded. Especially in the early stages of pitching, women face difficulties securing investments at a largely disproportionate rate to men. As FirstCheck cite, “in 2019, less than five per cent of global venture capital went to female-led companies.” Due to the effects of the global pandemic, things have only gotten worse for women in tech, worldwide, and in Africa too. This is why it is important for Omame and Eweniyi to focus on women in the ideation stages of their start up, however they also wish to provide opportunities “for the middle tier of women, who are millennial or in their mid-careers.”
In the long run, FirstCheck Africa’s mission is for women to have an equal role and responsibility in shaping the future of African technology and entrepreneurship – especially as investment into Africa multiplies over the years, more women need to be counted amongst the founders of highly-valued startups. To achieve their goals, Omame and Eweniyi realise that the tech ecosystem in Africa need to focus on “[increasing] the pipeline of female entrepreneurs.” Furthermore, African tech needs to openly address and resolve the biases women in the industry face, and also work to “close the gender confidence gap.”
Putting their money where their mouth is, this year, FirstCheck will invest up to $25,000 in six women in the ideation stage of their start-up in African tech. With a sprawling network, FirstCheck will be taking advantage of their connections to collaborate and uplift women in their community. Appreciating the importance of role models in career development, FirstCheck will also be combatting representation issues, both by platforming women in high-ranking roles and existing themselves.
FirstCheck Africa is playing an important role in expanding opportunities for women in tech, and in diversifying the industry they will also achieve “better long-term outcomes for the technology ecosystem.”
Learn more about FirstCheck via their Medium page.