Signal Alliance, a technology company, which started business in 1996, is set to unveil plans that will further give boost to cloud computing practice in Nigeria, ahead of its 25 years anniversary, which comes up later this year.
Coming into the cloud market and information technology (IT) industry at the time it did was a great decision given that it gave an opportunity to get into a market that has come to be a major contributor to the Nigerian economy.
The company is on the verge of completing a holding company (holdco) structure that will see it become a bigger player in the IT sector.
The proposed holdco structure will have three subsidiaries – one focused on cloud business, another on technology consulting while the third, Sasware, which is already operating as a venturing company, will harmonise current investments and further invest in tech start-ups and tech-enabled businesses.
“Signal Alliance is set to make history in the tech ecosystem in Nigeria, at a time when foreign investors have dominated the venture space in Nigeria and Africa and are increasing their positions in the Nigerian tech market.
“Last year, Stripe, the second-largest payment company in the world, acquired Nigerian-based payment gateway company, Paystack,” a statement explained.
Nigerian startups also dominated the venture capital activities in Africa in 2019 only to fall behind South Africa in 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are also local venture capital firms and equity funds that are springing up and positioning for the market.
In January, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, founder and CEO of Future Africa, a new venture capital that launched in 2020, said it had returned $3.7 million to some of the firm’s limited partners and invested over $1 million in 16 start-ups.
Speaking about his plans, Mr. Collins Onuegbu, executive vice chairman of Signal Alliance, said: “There is a need to consolidate and grow our investments in technology-enabled start-ups. Diversification of our business portfolio is imperative, and we believe that these activities, in line with our medium to long term strategy, will produce compelling returns. Size and efficiency are key factors for our new outlook.”
Onuegbu who believes the tech market in Nigeria was still evolving despite the strides it has made in recent years, is of the view that there is still a lot of room for growth and the company is being positioned to be part of that growth process.
“In the coming months, it will be looking to either acquire a majority stake in promising ventures or minority interest.
“There is no more sitting on the fence while the good deals get done. We need to gain a foothold in the tech space venturing in Nigeria and we are targeting 50 tech and tech-enabled companies within a 3-year horizon,” Onuegbu said.
Onuegbu who is also a director at the Lagos Angels Network, a group of well-connected individuals who invest in early-stage entrepreneurs, said Signal Alliance would also be looking to grow its cloud market position, adding that it is a market Signal Alliance knows very well, given its partnership with Microsoft, being a a Gold LSP Partner of Microsoft and among the other three partners in Nigeria.
“Despite handling much of Microsoft’s Azure cloud business in Nigeria, we are determined to grow the cloud business significantly, extending outside the shores of Nigeria,” Onuegbu said.
Beyond venture capital and cloud, Signal Alliance is also eyeing the intellectual property market, IT security, and managed services. The third subsidiary of Signal Alliance will focus on these segments. Its future trajectory is to grow technology and technology-enabled businesses, taking advantage of opportunities in the diversifying Nigerian economy.