Press Release: Announcing e SABU CFO Service and Governance Platform for Africa Tech Startups

By Mbwana Alliy  |  October 7, 2016


Dubai, UAE from 3rd Africa Legal Network Conference– Bridging the Gulf


Savannah Fund today launches e SABU,  a virtual CFO service and Governance platform to allow African tech startups to access global standard accounting, reporting and governance to support growth. Africa Startups often start in one country and are limited by service providers who don’t understand startups or can afford them. Founders often have to wrestle with basic book-keeping, compliance to more complicated valuation to support fundraising. Working together with partners Wells Levitt and Axis (part of the Africa Legal Network), we also have a good relationship with Stripe for US jurisdiction setup and payments for global ecommerce. The platform aims to level the playing field for African startups who lack access or can afford such services vs their global counterparts . Like the accelerator, where Savannah Fund provides tech “soft infrastructure” in mentoring and guidance to startups across 4 cohorts and 14 startups across 6 countries, e SABU is a service created to support the startups vital business monitoring and reporting until they reach a level they can hire a CFO (beyond Series A).

We believe it’s an important service and support we can offer startups to improve not only their chances of success in addition to the work may others are doing in building out workspaces, incubators and accelerators to thrive and grow across a challenging and fragmented continent.

e SABU Service will also enable startups to better understand their business and consequently make better business decisions for growth across Africa and become more globally competitive. Such challenges we hope startup founders can better address include:

  • What is my current valuation and am I ready to fundraise? What is most compelling about my startup?
  • Am I growing fast enough? What is a reasonable pace of month to month growth for my B2C startup.
  • Which is the most attractive country to best enter to start scaling my business outside of my home country? How has the Naira or Kenya shilling’s exchange rate going to affect my growth prospects?
  • Which jurisdiction and who should I work with to set up my venture for pan Africa growth? 
  • What should I be communicating to my board and investors?
  • What’s the cost and impact of going B2B vs B2C in Africa?

The Service will be initially available for startups in our portfolio companies in Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria in beta this year. And we will open the service to select startups outside the portfolio. If interested please visit

We seek to offer 3 levels of service:

  • CFO level Standard of Reporting and Governance: Because qualified startup CFOs are in short supply and expensive in Africa- e SABU will provide core financial metrics reporting and accounting to meet basic levels required for compliance and demanded by investors.
  • Support for Cross Border and Global Growth from Mauritius & USA: One of the biggest areas of learning as a small fund operating for 4 years investing in over 20 startups on the continent is how to operate across 7-8 countries. We will help take startups from their home country, often small and lacking in appropriate legal framework to grow, and help with structuring to to US Delaware and/or Mauritius and setting up regional offices. Startups can directly tap our knowledge of working across 8 countries in Africa for growth- an example would be a Kenyan startup seeking to expand to Tanzania.
  • Fundraising and Valuation Support: Fundraising for African originated startups is extremely difficult especially for a Series A or growth round. We will begin to offer more support in not only connecting with foreign investors but helping build materials required such as financial models and valuation calculations.

  • iAbuja #TheAbujaEye

    Hello Savannah,
    Great to read your press release. This is a great service for us young entreprenuers.

    My name is Doyin Adesida, I am the Co-Founder of DigitelCS Media ltd, a Nigerian early stage online, outdoor and indoor advertising company. I write to introduce our new initiative/innovation.

    We call it ‘iAbuja’ alias The Abuja Eye:- It seeks to be a 6000sqm observation deck/civic space covered with approx. 6000sqm of digital mediamesh, i.e a digital eye in Abuja’s sky that would double as the HQ of Media and Ad-Tech entrepreneurs in Nigeria employing youths into the industry to build fabulous careers for themselves.

    It’s location is the Rooftop of Abuja’s new World Trade Center. A 6000sqm observation deck/civic space covered with approx 6000sqm of digital media mesh.

    Take video tour of World Trade Center Abuja

    The new World Trade Center Abuja building is nearing completion and would be officially
    launched Q2/Q3 of 2017. It is the only towering building, visible from all around the city of Abuja.

    “iAbuja alias The Abuja-Eye” being at the Rooftop of the WTC Abuja would be iconic for the city, a magnificent civic space and attraction that would further enhance social and economic exchanges and the beauty of Abuja, when lunched in synchronization with the official opening of the World Trade Center Abuja. Q2/Q3 2017.

    iAbuja is leveraging on the features of new World Trade Center Abuja building to increase impact and lower cost and the number of potential users is in the millions.

    It would lift not just specialists or rich people, but everybody up from the ground, take them up
    above the city, to observe the views, while also being the appropriate platform for brand exposure and communication for the city, aiding e-gorvenance and more.

    As DigitelCS Media ltd, we have developed the concept thus far, we have operating permits from the Government and regulatory bodies like
    1.)Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON)
    2.)Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN)
    We have some more permits to obtain from
    3) Federal Capital Territory Administratin etc

    We have started talks on leasehold or purchase terms/negotiations with the

    1)Owners of the World Trade Center Abuja, Churchgate Group Ltd for the 6000sqm of commercial space/rooftop/six top floors. Would cost north $40million USD to acquire.
    2) We have also started talks with the technology suppliers(MediaMesh) (GKD – Gebr. Kufferath AG from Germany), 6000sqm of media mesh. Would cost approx. $30million USD

    3) We are now inviting Savannah virtual CFO service and Governance platform to help us access global standard accounting, reporting and governance.

    We need help building materials required such as financial models and valuation calculations, Fundraising and Valuation Support and then connecting with foreign investors to support initiative.

    We look to lunch the iAbuja in synchronization with the officail lunch of the WTC abuja in Q3 2017, crack the market in good time and further develop sub sectors of the media and advertisng industry like ad exchanges, ad servers, demand-side platforms, supply-side platforms.

    Lincoln Toweh, a Digital Media enthusiast is the CEO/Founder of DigitelCS Media ltd while i, Adedoyin Adesida, the Co-founder. We are both young Nigerian entrepreneurs with the vision and passion for the mission.

    I look forward to reading from you and perharps working with you. Please follow our twitter @thereal_iAbuja

    Best Regards