Itana, formerly known as Talent City, has recently announced the successful closure of a pre-seed funding round, raising $2 million.
This funding was led by prominent global venture capitalists LocalGlobe, Amplo, Pronomos Capital, and Future Africa. Itana, established by CEO Luqman Edu, COO Coco Liu, and founding investor Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, aims to become Africa’s first-ever digital free zone, fostering a thriving business-friendly environment in Nigeria.
The funding secured in this round will further strengthen Itana’s initiatives to enhance Nigeria’s business climate, attract foreign direct investment (FDI), and promote job creation within the country.
Since its inception, Itana has already raised over $13 million for its Lagos project, situated within Alaro City, in the Lekki Free Zone, just outside of Lagos, Nigeria. The company is still actively raising funding to support its mission.
This funding round serves as a validation of Itana’s efforts and aligns with its vision to facilitate investment and operations in Africa’s digital economy.
Itana envisions establishing a virtual jurisdiction, similar to well-known examples such as Delaware in the U.S., E-Estonia in Europe, or Dubai in Asia. This virtual city will enable global companies to incorporate and operate within a Nigerian Free Zone without the need for a physical presence.
Tech and service companies interested in remotely launching their operations in Nigeria can register on www.itana.africa to join the waitlist for an Itana Digital Free Zone business license. This license will provide businesses with the privilege of conducting remote business setup and operations within the digital free zone.
Itana’s founding investor, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, explains that the digital free zone will offer startups advantages previously only accessible to traditional manufacturing and oil and gas industries operating within Nigerian free zones. These advantages include a stable policy environment, enticing tax incentives, and the flexibility to conduct operations remotely, without the requirement of physical presence within the free zone.
In addition to the digital free zone, Itana is developing the “Itana District,” a flagship campus spanning an expansive 72,000 square meters. Situated within Alaro City, this eco-conscious district will serve as a hub for permanent residents and digital community visitors, providing networking events, coworking spaces, and coliving arrangements.
The initial phase of the Itana District’s development is expected to conclude by 2027, laying a strong foundation for technological advancement in Africa.
To showcase the potential of a robust digital economy in Africa, Itana launched a digital residency initiative in 2022. This initiative allows participants, particularly business executives and prospective residents, to experience the e-governance system and global connectivity.
The initiative has since grown into a membership network comprising approximately 3,000 tech innovators and entrepreneurs actively contributing to Africa’s development.
Coco Liu, Chief Operating Officer of Itana, highlights the optimistic outlook on the impact Itana will have on Africa’s economy, considering the significant growth in the incorporation of businesses originating from Nigeria.
Itana is dedicated to constructing the necessary infrastructure and systems to support businesses, simplifying processes like opening bank accounts and obtaining business licenses without the need for physical presence. The company aspires to provide a transparent and user-friendly platform for conducting business.
With Africa’s youthful population and rapid expansion, the continent presents abundant opportunities for software developers and foreign direct investments. Itana’s mission is to cultivate a culture that nurtures the “builders of tomorrow,” fostering a community of visionaries, entrepreneurs, creatives, and innovators poised to shape the future.