About Us

The SEA Network is dedicated to improving East Africa through disruptive innovation. Grounded in reality and the limitations in which we work, the Network offers a unique and informative perspective on the dynamics of innovation at the intersection of technological, strategic and economic development in frontier markets. 

Our mission is both ambitious and aspiring: to provide the infrastructure for a value-driven startup ecosystem. We believe startup ecosystems are the most effective mechanisms for channeling innovation capacities towards locally relevant, transformative and economically viable solutions. Our purpose is founded in developing these ecosystems and disseminating the tools, models and lessons learned to the broader community for maximum socio-economic value creation.

Who we are

We’re not an incubator, not a VC, not an accelerator. We’re a network-on-demand. We are the network for the innovators of East Africa.

It is time to stop looking for the African panacea to development, it’s already embedded in the DNA of the citizens that call it home. Through smart work, the use of innovative technologies, cross sector collaboration and a deep sense of purpose, we can build something even better than imagined; an innovation ecosystem that is diverse, dynamic, open and ready to take on the challenges yet to come.

Where we are

We focus on 8 urban regions across 6 nations of East Africa with populations greater than ~1 million.

We focus is on the rapidly urbanizing regions of East Africa, specifically urban areas with populations greater than ~1 million in Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda & Somaliland. We believe these cities will be the engines driving regional social and economic growth due to their connectivity and density, in turn, offering tremendous untapped potential for value creation.

| Kenya

Kenya has and continues to play a pivotal role for the development of the broader East African region. Challenges such as poverty, inequality, governance, climate change, low investment and low firm productivity will be major hurdles for Kenya and the broader region for the years to come. Its growing youthful population, dynamic private sector, skilled workforce, improved infrastructure development, political reforms, and strategic geography offer much reason for a positive outlook.

Nairobi

Mombasa

| Tanzania

Kenya has and continues to play a pivotal role for the development of the broader East African region. Challenges such as poverty, inequality, governance, climate change, low investment and low firm productivity will be major hurdles for Kenya and the broader region for the years to come. Its growing youthful population, dynamic private sector, skilled workforce, improved infrastructure development, political reforms, and strategic geography offer much reason for a positive outlook.

Dar es Salaam 

Mwanza

| Ethiopia

Kenya has and continues to play a pivotal role for the development of the broader East African region. Challenges such as poverty, inequality, governance, climate change, low investment and low firm productivity will be major hurdles for Kenya and the broader region for the years to come. Its growing youthful population, dynamic private sector, skilled workforce, improved infrastructure development, political reforms, and strategic geography offer much reason for a positive outlook.

Addis Ababa

| Uganda

Kenya has and continues to play a pivotal role for the development of the broader East African region. Challenges such as poverty, inequality, governance, climate change, low investment and low firm productivity will be major hurdles for Kenya and the broader region for the years to come. Its growing youthful population, dynamic private sector, skilled workforce, improved infrastructure development, political reforms, and strategic geography offer much reason for a positive outlook.

Kampala

| Rwanda

Kenya has and continues to play a pivotal role for the development of the broader East African region. Challenges such as poverty, inequality, governance, climate change, low investment and low firm productivity will be major hurdles for Kenya and the broader region for the years to come. Its growing youthful population, dynamic private sector, skilled workforce, improved infrastructure development, political reforms, and strategic geography offer much reason for a positive outlook.

Kigali

| Somaliland  

Kenya has and continues to play a pivotal role for the development of the broader East African region. Challenges such as poverty, inequality, governance, climate change, low investment and low firm productivity will be major hurdles for Kenya and the broader region for the years to come. Its growing youthful population, dynamic private sector, skilled workforce, improved infrastructure development, political reforms, and strategic geography offer much reason for a positive outlook.

Hargeisa

Regional economic reports and analysis function as a basis for this identification strategy. By tracking overall sentiment of trade deals, infrastructure development as well as public and private investment we can map our focus and direct our resources.

Each region and market faces its own unique dynamics, risks and limitations. Connectivity forms the base of what is possible. From this we can identify further economic, social and cultural constraints that can both inhibit and enable opportunity.

Accordion Content
Accordion Content
Accordion Content
Accordion Content

What we do

We provide the infrastructure for a value-driven startup ecosystem and disseminate the tools, models and lessons learned to the broader community.

We believe fostering this ecosystem is critical for regional development as well as long term global sustainability. As connectivity expands, the cost of compute drops and access to mobile devices becomes more widespread the need to understand these dynamics within their context is becoming more relevant than ever, not just for startup founders but for economies as a whole.

  1. Unite innovators around a common visionbecause it is all about mindset.
  2. Create the infrastructure to connect them — because collaboration is key.
  3. Build tools to empower thembecause self-empowered succeeds.
  4. Unlock access to smart investors — because money makes the world go round.

How we do it

We provide the infrastructure for a value-driven startup ecosystem and disseminate the tools, models and lessons learned to the broader community.

We believe fostering this ecosystem is critical for regional development as well as long term global sustainability. As connectivity expands, the cost of compute drops and access to mobile devices becomes more widespread the need to understand these dynamics within their context is becoming more relevant than ever, not just for startup founders but for economies as a whole.

Why we do it

We believe value is created when problems are solved. While problems are relative to the observer, we know some are absolutely greater than others. Providing a lower-middle class family in the suburbs of Nairobi access to education must rank higher on the order of value creation than a redesigned instagram feed. Yet, millions of dollars and limited intellectual bandwidth are poured into marginal improvements of these largely unproductive digital assets every day across the developed world.

While this is chiefly a byproduct of the capitalist system, we believe it also reflects a larger distortion of our understanding of value. This ultimately results in a misguided sense of purpose and diminishing marginal returns on our creative and productive capacity as humans. As we have progressively increased the input of technology into our current “silicon valley startup ecosystem” we have reached a point where we are experiencing a progressive decrease in overall value realized.

SEA is a response to this distorted understanding of value, a vision for a new infrastructure which underlies a startup ecosystem designed for value creation in frontier markets. By no means do we try to escape this capitalist system, on the contrary we embrace it. Instead, we do everything in our power to direct these powerful capacities towards projects that maximize long term socio-economic value creation. We do this through our triple bottom line.

The triple bottom line

We invest our time and resources in projects that:

  1. Expand individual capabilities.
    Expanding capabilities is about providing the products or services that allow an individual the freedom to act or not. Capabilities are about empowering people ability to achieve something whether its transportation, education or work. 
  2. Promote regional productive capacities & competitiveness.
    Productivity is hard won but also hard lost. New technologies are democratizing access, increasing competition and creating entirely new markets that increase productive capacity and competitiveness.
  3. Hold the opportunity for exponential value creation.
    Attracting investment and resources requires the right bait. While

Why now

A variety of factors have converged creating great opportunity for development and investment opportunities across East Africa.

POLICY:

Law, policy and overall governance public transparency have continued to evolve towards enabling a modern economy. Taxation powers have been devolved from central governments, regional political relationships have developed progressively and more.

ECONOMICS:

East Africa comprises of some of Africa’s most buoyant economies. E&Y, in its 2017 report, Connectivity Redefined, predicts that Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia will all grow at an annual rate of more than 6% for the next 10 years. FDI into these hub economies will continue to climb, China and Britain leading the charge.

DEMOGRAPHICS:

Eastern Africa had an estimated population of 260 million in 2000. This is projected to reach 890 million by 2050, with an average growth rate of 2.5% per annum. The UN estimates a population of 1.6 billion by 2100, greater Africa accounting for 4.5 billion people, 1/3 of the worlds’ population. By 2035, East Africa is set to have the largest working-age population anywhere in the world — larger than China or India.

ACCESS & CONNECTIVITY:

Mobile technology has had a truly transformative effect on people’s lives and economies in Africa. The first revolution enabled by the mobile phone was a communications revolution. We are now witnessing the start of a second revolution — a data revolution. As the next half a billion people join the Internet through their mobile phones in Africa, there will be tremendous opportunity.

STARTUP COSTS:

Required materials & resources are free or low-cost, development teams are smaller, and new services mashup & build on top of old services that already deliver terrific value in the cloud via features, data, network effects, & APIs. Marketing costs are lower, due to a variety of broadly-available, low-cost, online distribution channels, which can be used in more measurable and predictable ways than ever before. Revenue can be generated simply & continuously, via direct business models & online payment methods.

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© 2019 SEA. All rights reserved.

© 2019 SEA. All rights reserved.

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