Timbu.com, a Mauritian travel site, has announced plans to invest $25k in 20 travel startups in each West African country, starting with Ghana, Liberia, Gambia and Cote d’Ivoire. The travel agency, focused on African destinations, is currently a market leader in Nigeria and now aims to grow its presence in other West African countries by investing in travel startups.

The Timbu funding will be exclusive to innovative startups solving real issues in the hospitality niche, with most of the focus being on startups around the curated travel (one of the fastest-growing segments of the travel industry). However, there are plans to expand into other niches down the line.

Making the announcement, the company’s media representative said the need to begin investing in early-stage startups in West Africa was borne out of the need to improve the existing tech ecosystem in these countries and provide entrepreneurs with the necessary resources to grow these countries’ startup scene. She further noted that Timbu looks to provide more than just the seed funding. “Our intentions are to also guide the startups with getting their initial customers, gain traction, as well as provide them with the ‘best talents’, so as to assist the selected startups to gain Series A and B funding”, she said.

Timbu stated early last year that plans to provide mentorship and coaching to startups first in some East African countries, including Kenya and Rwanda, and provide an enabling environment for entrepreneurs in these countries to share their experiences are in the pipeline. The plan was finally set in motion early this year with positive responses from promising startups in the region.

Timbu has thus proceeded to West Africa where the ecosystem is deemed ripe enough with budding startups in need of funding. The Timbu Funding is projected to encourage other angel investors to also put more money into West African startups, thus accelerating the growth of local businesses.

Interested startups are required to submit a document containing the following information:

Company name
Company URL, if any
Name and email of the founder(s)
Role of each founder
What your company is making and the problem it aims to solve in your country
Who your competitors are and what gives your company edge over them
How your company intends to make money
All applications should be submitted to [email protected] with the subject line as “{Country} Startup Funding Application” (e.g. Ghana Startup Funding Application).

Please note that the fund is an angel fund and Timbu will seek equity shares in the businesses that are accepted into the program.

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