We’re a venture studio that create startups as well as support entrepreneurs through expertise, access to network & funding.
Founded in 2020 by Solomon Kassa (TV Personality, tech consultant, strategist, author, and public speaker), 1888EC is a unique & innovative startup studio that will be the-first-of-its-kind in Ethiopia. 1888EC aspires to create disruptive innovators and change-makers in Ethiopia and beyond that will champion digital transformation, venture building, and job creation.
Our Founding Story
As a place to support the next generation of entrepreneurs and tech startups, our company name, 1888EC, refers to the date of the victorious Battle of Adwa on the Ethiopian Calendar (or EC).
In addition to representing a pivotal part of Ethiopia’s independence history, the letters “EC” also stand for ‘Enterprise Central’. With dual representations of our past victory as well as our fundamental work in building Ethiopia’s future entrepreneurs, our company’s creation originates from the idea of symbolizing the victory we want to re-imagine against poverty by empowering young entrepreneurs to innovate.
To solve society’s grand challenges by creating venture-based solutions.
To be the premier African startup studio that champions a prosperous African future.
We commit to creating ventures that are people-centered, impact-driven, and grit-based.
What We Offer
Besides creating, developing and scaling our own ideas within the studio, we will provide a variety of offerings and play a key leading role of developing a startup ecosystem in the process:
Explore and engage promising early stage startups through our vast network as well as via our portal to be our cohort entrepreneurs.
Provide 2-4 months of mentorship, pairing each team with established mentors. We will also launch state-of-the-art fellowship.
We will support founders with early-stage funding to get them off the ground and work tirelessly for access to follow-on capital to scale.
Establish a studio co-creating space to cultivate synergy and boost collaborative creativity.
Provide our in-house expertise with end-to-end support including business plan, legal, accounting and marketing.
Host impact driven events like demo days using our studio platform and also by leveraging our founder’s nationwide recognition in the tech space.
Our motto, “Victory Re-imagined!” embodies the essence of our distinctive organization as a tech startup studio committed to creating ventures and symbolizes the victory we want to re-imagine against poverty by empowering young entrepreneurs to improve the lives of many through tech-based solutions to everyday problems. With our studio’s resources and access to our co-creating space, young entrepreneurs will be empowered to developing strong social networks and seek professional advice on their projects as well.
“There are many brilliant young people in our country. We do not see them because they did not get the chance to have an exposure, a marketing strategy and support, nor do they have the experience to pitch their innovation to others. If we manage to give them a platform, they can change their nation.”
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed
During his interview with Solomon Kassa On TechTalk With Solomon
What We Do
We are a Startup Ecosystem Builders.
One venture at a time!
As venture builders, we will have an end-to-end in-house expertise consisting of designers, engineers, business analysts, legal, financial, and brand/marketing specialists and leverage our resources to ideate, plan, develop, test and validate our own ideas and scale them.
Up on the success of the studio model, we will also welcome cohorts of early stage startups to our studio so that we can co-build their products with our core studio team. We use a hands-on approach by offering a variety of in-kind co-building resources in addition to financial support to our portfolio startups.
From inception to proof-of-concept, validation, initial customer acquisition and scale, we take every step using rapid solution prototyping and design thinking, an effective approach to new product development that keeps a human-centered design process at its core.
We will closely work with some of the brightest and promising early-stage startups and entrepreneurs who join our studio as cohorts. We will co-create and co-build together to grow and scale new ventures by offering access to our resources.
Provide employment opportunities for the youth in Ethiopian and beyond with the emphasis on women.
Be a hub to build a startup ecosystem and solve problems across private/public sectors.
Create young entrepreneurs driven by critical problem-solving thinking and “can do” mindset.
Produce a tech/ knowledge-based economy and bring digital transformation.
Ethiopia is Calling…
The Victory of Adwa in 1888 EC (1896 GC) has been an inspiration for black people to fight for freedom. One notable example of such inspiration is the story of the African-American aviation pioneer and the father of Tuskegee Airmen John C. Robinson who in May 1935 answered Ethiopia’s call to defend the nation from Italian colonial invasion in revenge for the defeat at The Battle of Adwa nearly 40 years earlier.
Besides fighting on behalf of Ethiopia with bravery earning him global renown as the “Brown Condor of Ethiopia,” Robinson also played a key role in tech transfer and capacity building. He is credited in modernizing Ethiopia’s air force by training Ethiopian pilots. He was also a key player in the establishment of Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s largest, most modern and successful airline. Robinson’s heroic and selfless dedication has become the cornerstone of African Americans’ historical affinity to Ethiopia & Ethiopia’s gratitude to African-Americans’ broad support at its darkest moment during World War II.
1888: EC is for Equity Central!
In recognition of the enduring heroic legacy and the contribution Robinson has made to the technological advancement of Ethiopia and to address and overcome systemic biases the global black startup community faces, 1888EC is proudly launching the John C. Robinson (JCR) Fellowship. It is a signature fellowship program aimed to recruit and showcase African-American, global African diaspora, and African entrepreneurs, and provide them with transformational platform to collaborate with their Ethiopian counterparts to imagine and build ventures that will solve the continent’s wicked challenges.
African-American, global African diaspora, local African entrepreneurs deeply share a common challenges of institutional biases. Foreign investors have the tendency to invest in African-based startups founded by western entrepreneurs. While the global black enterprise doesn’t get the “first movers” advantage in emerging affinity markets, black-founded startups in Africa also miss out investment opportunities due to lack of exposure and equity. 1888EC strives to foster a global mindset and outlook while intentionally creating an inclusive and equitable ecosystem that can level the playing field for black-led ventures.
The JCR Fellowship is designed to challenge the status quo by connecting underrepresented talent and resources to startup opportunities in emerging African markets while creating an inclusive and sustainable impact. The Fellowship will entail a 3-month entrepreneurial “tour-of-duty” fellowship in Ethiopia and later in other parts of Africa that helps candidates collaborate and work with local startups and entrepreneurs to deepen the startup ecosystem and connect Ethiopia to the global innovation grid and funding stream. Upon completion of their fellowship, the Fellows will also serve as global 1888EC Ambassadors spreading the importance of collaboration & venture building in Africa.
Founder, 1888EC | Tech Consultant & Strategist | Author | TV Personality | Public Speaker
In his professional career, Solomon has been working as technology consulting & strategy manager at a Fortune 500 Global Firm leading multi-million-dollar large technology implementations. He worked as a software engineer prior to joining management consulting. He is also a producer & host of the popular “TechTalk With Solomon” on EBS. For the past 9 years, Solomon produced more than 230 episodes, discussing 600+ science & tech topics as well as interviewing 85+ prominent guests including Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
In 2018, Solomon published “ግርምተ ሳይቴክ” (The Wonder of SciTech) – the first-of-its-kind science & tech 400 pages book to be ever published in Amharic. Solomon is a social media influencer with more than 715,000 followers.