Sony’s $10m boost to fuel Africa’s tech wave

Sony Group Corporation has unveiled the “Sony Innovation Fund: Africa,” designed to bolster the growth of the entertainment sector in Africa. The company has been actively participating in fostering new businesses worldwide since 2016 and has contributed to the growth of startup companies through its various innovation funds.

These include the “Sony Innovation Fund” (2016), which invests in seed to early-stage companies, the “Innovation Growth Fund” (2019), established in partnership with Daiwa Capital Holdings Co., the “Sony Innovation Fund: Environment” (2020), dedicated to companies addressing global environmental issues, and the recent “Sony Innovation Fund 3” (2022), the successor to the Innovation Growth Fund. It’s worth noting that these innovation funds are wholly funded by Sony.

Africa’s film and audiovisual industries could create over 20 million jobs and contribute $20 billion to the continent’s combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – UNESCO

The “Sony Innovation Fund: Africa” specifically targets seed to early-stage startups operating in the African entertainment industry. This encompasses startups in gaming, music, movies, and content distribution. To kick-start this initiative, Sony is allocating an initial investment of US$10 million.

Sony has a track record of supporting portfolio companies through collaboration, providing access to Sony-owned technologies, facilitating joint development, and forming business alliances. With the “Sony Innovation Fund: Africa,” this approach will continue to drive value-added investments, with potential expansion in the future.

Additionally, Sony has entered into a collaboration agreement with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the largest global development institution focusing on the private sector, actively investing in emerging countries, including African startups. This collaboration aims to support the growth of the entertainment industry in Africa by leveraging the strengths of both entities.

Toshimoto Mitomo, Executive Deputy President and CSO at Sony Group Corporation, expressed Sony’s commitment to fostering next-generation technologies and startups through corporate venture capital activities. The “Sony Innovation Fund: Africa” is expected to accelerate the growth of the African entertainment industry and promote collaboration within the Group, while the collaboration with IFC, a significant presence in emerging markets, is seen as a way to enhance this effort further.

Makhtar Diop, Managing Director of IFC, shared excitement about the collaboration, emphasising its potential to generate value for Africa’s creative industry. The partnership between IFC’s expertise in emerging markets and Sony’s global leadership in entertainment, media, and technology positions them to contribute to the economic growth of the creative sector.

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