The Lunch Hour, Emmanuel Adegboye, Head, Madica

Emmanuel Adegboye heads Madica, a structured investment programme for pre-seed stage technology companies in Africa. The newly launched sector-agnostic investment programme, backed by a $6m fund, aims to serve mission-driven and under-represented founders by offering capital, tailored mentorship, and world-class company-building support. Before joining Madica, Emmanuel oversaw Africa strategy for Utopia, a platform for Urbantech entrepreneurs in emerging cities. As Managing Partner of Utopia Lagos, he designed and launched the Lagos Urban Innovation Challenge and Utopia’s virtual accelerator program.

He was also a 2021 Mo Ibrahim Foundation Academy Fellow with the Africa Programme at Chatham House. He continues to engage policymakers on creating an enabling environment for entrepreneurs through his contributions to Chatham House’s policy research, the Nigerian Economic Summit Group’s Digital Economy Policy Commission, and the Nigeria Startup Act. Emmanuel holds a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering Physics, an Executive MBA, and further postgraduate degrees in Space Applications and Environmental Management. He is also a certified Project Management Professional.

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“Our sector-agnostic programme will invest capital in tech startups and offer founders tailored mentorship and world-class company-building support. Over the next three years, we are looking to back 25-30 African entrepreneurs with up to $200,000 each, coupled with multi-year programmatic support”.

Emmanuel addressing a conference










University, Science or Arts?

My bachelor’s degree is in Engineering Physics. I applied to study Medicine but I did not make a high enough score in my pre-degree exams to meet the cut-off mark. I was offered Engineering Physics instead. My interest in Medicine was largely driven by the practical nature of the course. The courses I went on to study are similarly “hands-on”. These include a postgraduate diploma in Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). I fell in love with maps while completing my bachelor’s thesis. Studying Remote Sensing and GIS was a way for me to leverage my physics degree for something more practical. I also went on to do a master’s degree in Environmental Control and Management because I wanted to apply my space applications skills to solving environmental challenges. I also did a diploma in Music Production somewhere along the line because I really like music. I used to volunteer as a sound engineer in my spare time.  I have also done a couple of business courses, including an MBA. My focus has shifted to learning as much as I can about what makes businesses thrive and how to be a better manager and leader.

What is the biggest lesson you left the university with?

I still look to learn something new every day. But in terms of what I took with me after my first degree, it is self-discovery. I got into university at a very young age. I learned a lot about myself. I came out of university with a strong sense that God had given me the capability to make a meaningful difference in the world. I felt I had to keep myself highly motivated.

Is there any teacher you remember for being a big influence?

I have had a lot of teachers who have influenced me in important ways. I especially really enjoyed working with my supervisor during my postgraduate diploma programme, Dr. Kayode Adepoju. He taught me the value of working very hard so that when opportunities come you are the most prepared for it.

Who has been the bigger influence, Mum or Dad ?

Both. They have been both influential in shaping me into the person I am today.

When did you leave home for good and what was the biggest lesson you took with you?

I left home at a considerably young age to undertake my pre-degree exams. This was outside of my home state, Lagos so I gained independence quite early. The biggest lesson I would say was discovering what I could be in life and developing a sense of the path. Knowing at a very young age that the small and big decisions I make every day could take me or distract me from the destination.

What was your first job and what was the main thing you learned while at the job?

My first real job was a two-month industrial attachment I did as an undergraduate. I learned that I am most effective in certain environments. I have since tried to be very deliberate about creating those environments that are important to the success of whatever I do.

Who is your best boss ever?

This is a tough one as I have had a lot of really good bosses. I have been fortunate to work with truly inspiring bosses whose guidance has nurtured my own leadership skills and work ethic. Wherever I have worked, I have been privileged to work with amazing people.

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Who is your favourite tech entrepreneur and why?

I have a fair few but two people readily come to mind. First is,Temie Giwa-Tubosun -Lifebank. I really love LifeBank’s mission. It is very symbolic of the role African entrepreneurs are playing in solving real problems and saving lives. In their case, they deliver blood and other critical medical supplies to cities across Africa. The second is Odunayo Eweniyi of Piggyvest. She is also solving important problems across the board in the area of online savings & investment in West Africa.

Could you share with us two or three things that you have learned in your career that

are not taught in MBA courses?

 I will just use three words to say those things: 1. Resilience or Grit. 2. Survival. 3. Integrity. You don’t learn any of these in the classroom.

Your greatest professional triumph so far?

We are on an ongoing journey. The greatest things that I am looking to achieve are things that enable entrepreneurs to thrive and survive. It’s a daily quest. There is so much more to be done. I don’t feel like speaking about triumphs yet.

 What makes the Madica programme unique ?

Madica is an investment programme aimed at addressing systemic challenges faced by early-stage founders in Africa, such as limited access to capital, industry networks, mentorship, and structured training. A central element of our programme is carefully curating a panel of seasoned African business leaders who offer mentorship to our founders while promoting a vibrant and more equitable funding environment on the continent. Madica is out to accelerate the flow of investment in start-ups in Africa to companies led by local founders, women, and those focused on frontier sectors. We believe capital should flow to talents and solutions to shore up gaps in funding all over the continent rather than concentrated in a few tech hubs. Great ideas can come from any corner of Africa or the world. Our role is to find them in all corners of Africa. We create access to more than just funding. With Madica, entrepreneurs gain the skills, expertise and resources needed to position their businesses for future success; this includes attracting capital from top-class investors and entering globally-recognized accelerator programmes.











What is the greatest good that technology can deliver to people in Africa?

Broadly speaking, a lot of entrepreneurs are solving real problems which are mainly due to infrastructure gaps on the continent. They are meeting real needs for real people and technology has been very instrumental in achieving this, across all sectors. Technology is making people’s lives better every day across finance, health, transportation etc.

What’s your favourite tech scene in Africa?

I think this question links back to the work Madica is doing to address systemic challenges faced by early-stage founders in Africa, such as limited access to capital, industry networks, mentorship, and structured training. There’s a lot of innovation in Africa and that influenced our decision to serve mission-driven and under-represented founders. Our sector-agnostic programme will invest capital in tech startups and offer founders tailored mentorship and world-class company-building support. Over the next three years, we are looking to back 25-30 African entrepreneurs with up to $200,000 each, coupled with multi-year programmatic support.

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What is your favourite type of music?

Gospel music ranks high for me but then again, I will listen to any Inspirational and uplifting music.

What books do you like reading and have you read recently?

 I have different interests depending on the phase of life I am in. I have had an interest in parenting, personal finance, fund management etc books but nonfiction and autobiographies are constant. I am back to reading, How will you measure your life? by Clayton M. Christensen. I have read it several times.

What is the best use of money for you?

 Helping people, solving real problems and making an impact.

Where do you like to holiday in Nigeria and Abroad?

 Anywhere quiet with access to abundant nature.

Where do you see Nigeria in 10 years?

 My current pinned tweet (posted 4 years ago) says “I predict that in 20 years, the most important people in this country won’t be politicians but entrepreneurs who are putting in the work now to solve critical infrastructural issues and build the future we all deserve”. I still think this is true.

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