Nigeria Kenya Rwanda
Fintech | Innovative Retail Voucher Solutions for Africa

We don’t have 500 people in the company, but it sure feels like it.

After going through applications in the thousands from all over the world, the team at 500 Startups selected SureBids as one of 46 companies in their Accelerator’s 18th batch. 500 Startups is a leading global venture capital seed fund and startup accelerator. They manage >$200M in assets and have invested in 1500+ technology start-ups and over 3,000 founders in over 50 countries, making them perhaps the most prolific global investors in technology.

As players and keen observers of the tech investment landscape ourselves, we knew a lot about 500 Startups. Earlier in April, I spoke at the Stanford Africa Business Forum about driving productivity through technology-enabled platforms, and on that trip, I visited 500’s San Francisco office, where I got a taste of the spread, promise, and impact of their activities. It’s now August, about a week into the 4-month program, and Oye and I already feel like we’ve grown our team to at least 500 strong.

Apart from the validation from our acceptance, the value of the program was immediate. When you have to explain what you do to 20 people every day, you really start to question it, and that is what is really important for us to do at this stage of the company. Having to reiterate your venture’s purpose to an audience of people that have seen a thousand before you forces you to dynamically reassess its worth; your purpose becomes clearer to you, and your enthusiasm gets renewed (or fades).

There’s also inspiration and bitter realizations. The most obvious are from the astounding roster of mentors, but we’re inspired and convicted most directly by our batch-mates; all brilliant entrepreneurs, some of whom have built and sold multiple companies in the past (a lot of which you’d know), and other that have raised millions in capital for the companies they’re accelerating. It is interesting to observe the commonalities with all our experiences running businesses in different regions, and it’s revealing (sometimes frustrating) when conversations highlight your market’s peculiarities. You can see info about the other batch companies in this Techcrunch post.

We’ve been lucky to have great partners in Venture Garden Group/Greenhouse Capital,, and Dibetso & Molapisi Investment House from the beginning, and we’re excited about the opportunity to now also use the #500strong hashtag with all of its meaning.

See earlier post about our bold attempt to kill cash in Africa.

Featured image from

Written by: Olaoluwa Samuel-Biyi

Leave a Reply