Organized by 500 Startups, Geeks on a Plane (#GOAP) is an invite-only tour for startups, investors, and executives to learn about high-growth technology markets worldwide. We travel by planes, trains, and automobiles to the most exciting international startup scenes with the sole mission of uniting geeks and exploring cross-border opportunities. The result: a lifelong bond with fellow travelers, a wealth of new friends and business contacts in exploding technology markets, and a stronger appreciation for the cultural and economic ties that bind us globally.
- Meet startups, geeks, and investors in cities around the world
- Learn about trends in internet, mobile, and other tech platforms
- Gain insight into local markets, demographics, and business models
- Meet cool people, new ventures, and have fun on planes, trains & buses
March 20-April 2, 2017.
March 20 — 23: LAGOS, NIGERIA
- Explore the Yaba District Ecosystem, Nigeria’s Silicon Valley. Visit key hubs and startups like CcHUB and Andela.
- Hang out with leading Nigerian actors and directors focused on the growing film industry, digital distribution, monetization and content creation at a Nollywood media & tech party night.
- Network with top-tier VCs and angel investors, while learning about the Nigerian investment ecosystem at a VIP investment dinner.
- Enjoy a night of Afrobeat music & dance at New Afrika Shrine, an open-air entertainment center.
March 23 — 25: ACCRA, GHANA
- Join the conversation at Enterprise Africa Summit – 300 delegates, 23 countries, 1 city.
- Explore one of Accra’s most vibrant markets and shop for handcrafted beads, Kente clothing, and herbs.
- Network with leading Ghana investors at a curated dinner.
March 25 — 28: OVERNIGHT SAFARI, SOUTH AFRICA
- Take in the South African wilderness with an overnight safari – relax in camp lodges, see the “Big Five” (lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and buffalos), and bond further with geeks over actual fireside chats.
March 28 — 30: JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
- Get schooled on Johannesburg’s early stage business at Braamonfontein Cluster, an innovative technology hub bordered by two of the country’s oldest universities.
- Experience a traditional African braai (cookout) courtesy of our host Sw7, the largest mentor-led tech innovation accelerator in Africa.
- Tour Soweto, the most populous black urban residential area in the country – a must-see destination thanks to its bustling economy and rich history.
- Head to the northern suburbs to learn more about Johannesburg’s later stage ecosystem. Attend a FinTech pitch event hosted by SiMODiSA.
- Make valuable connections in Johannesburg’s FinTech, InsurTech, and banking communities – we’ll set up curated 1:1 meetings for those who specialize in each area.
March 30 — APRIL 2: CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
- Learn more about Cape Town’s thriving startup scene at an entrepreneur event hosted by Silicon Cape at Workshop 17.
- Ride the wine farm tram and taste local wine in Stellenbosch. End the evening with a high-level investor dinner at a private wine farm.
- See the sites of Cape Town – hike Table Mountain, tour Cape Point, explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Robben Island, or dive with sharks.
WHERE IN THE WORLD ARE WE GOING?
- LAGOS, NIGERIA
Rightfully referred to as “Yabacon Valley,” Lagos has recently emerged as Nigeria’s tech hub. Home to successful startups like Paga (the #1 money transfer and payments service in Nigeria) and Andela (which just banked $24 million in a round led by Mark Zuckerberg and Google Ventures and aims to provide companies with access to top tech talent), Lagos has proven itself to be a key player in tech.
- ACCRA, GHANA
Just an hour flight away from Lagos, Accra is also making waves in tech. With plans underway to pour $200 million into building a state-of-the-art business innovation hub called the “Ghana Cyber City,” plus numerous hackathons hosted by incubators like MEST and ServLed, Ghana’s tech industry is proving to be a formidable force.
- JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
Johannesburg, the largest city in South Africa, began as a 19th-century mining settlement. Today, residents are digging up a different type of gem — their city’s tech gold. In fact, technology giant IBM invested $61 million to expand its newest IBM Research Lab to Braamfontein. This tech hub sets sights on advancing Big Data and mobile technologies, especially in healthcare, science, and the IoT.
- CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
Living up to nicknames like the “Digital Gateway to Africa” and “Silicon Cape,” Cape Town is cementing itself as a leading continental hub for tech startups. With more innovation programs in the province than anywhere else in South Africa, including CodeX, AlphaCode, RLabs, Grindstone Accelerator, the Bandwidth Barn, and the Silicon Cape Initiative, it’s no wonder the Western Cape has the most startups and VC activity in South Africa.