For the past few years, the biggest question over Yaba, the old Lagos neighborhood that has grown to become Nigeria’s ground-zero for startups and techies, has been what to call it. Some settled on “YabaCon Valley”, but in truth, Yaba faces a much bigger question about its validity as a tech cluster for startups.
The debate follows the exit of two of Nigeria’s most successful startups from Yaba over the last 18 months. In January, Andela, a startup that trains and deploys developers, moved out of Yaba to new swanky five-floor office across town soon after a receiving a $24 million backing by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Leading online retail giant Konga moved out to Ikeja, one of Lagos’ major business districts in October 2015 The exit of both companies, from what is believed to be the epicenter for startups in Lagos, has put a dent in Yaba’s standing as a leading African tech cluster.