Digital Agriculture Platform, Farmcrowdy, Partners with Oyo State Government on $5m Agric Project

Farmcrowdy, the popular Nigerian digital architecture marketing platform, has entered into a partnership with the Oyo State Government to enhance agricultural development in the state.

Farmcrowdy is Nigeria’s first technology-driven agriculture platform, focused on empowering rural farmers by providing them with improved seeds, farm inputs, training on modern farming techniques, and provides a market for the sale of their farm produce, ensuring increased food production and security in Africa.

Since its inception in 2016, the company has empowered over 11,000 small-scale farmers across the country, and their commitment to expand their reach just became even more possible. Less than an hour ago, Farmcrowdy too to their Twitter page, saying,

We are very excited about our partnership with Oyo State and appreciate the Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde @seyiamakinde for partnering with us. We look forward to achieving the milestones we have set together for the people of Oyo State

Farmcrowdy’s tweet was actually under a post by Seyi Makinde, the Governor of Oyo State, where he said,

We promised to explore PPP models to achieve our aim for agriculture. Yesterday, I welcomed the agritech company, Farmcrowdy at the launch of a partnership with Oyo State for agribusiness. I believe the partnership will be mutually beneficial to Farmcrowdy and our people

The present administration in Oyo State is doing everything within means to upgrade the economic status of the state, and agriculture seems to be the route being adopted. Seyi Makinde stated as much during the official launch of the partnership yesterday, on August 26th, which was held at the Golden Tulip, Jericho, Ibadan.

Further speaking on this, the governor said, “During the electioneering campaign, I promised the people of Oyo State that we would have a practical farmer as Commissioner for agriculture and that is exactly what we have done.

“The gap between policy and implementation will be filled effectively. We are not looking at agriculture as just planting and extension work, we are looking at it as a business and that is why we went out to look for the best hands on continent who happens to also be from Oyo state, in person of Dr Debo Akande to drive Oyo state agribusiness venture. He is here now as an Executive Assistant to the governor, so we believe effectively we are bridging the gap.

As he concluded, the governor assured the people of Oyo State that the partnership with Farmcrowdy which totals a sum of $5m would definitely have a positive impact on their lives. He went on to describe the partnership as an agricultural revolution that would grow like wildfire.

To answer questions as to how the funding will be utilised, Onyeka Akuma, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Farmcrowdy, said, “We are investing about $5m dollars in agribusiness in Oyo state within the next three years and connecting not less than 50,000 small scale farmers in the state with solutions to various bottlenecks militating the growth of their farm business. At the end, everyone would be happy with the outcome of the project.

With this partnership, it is evident that the Oyo State government is concerned about the technical, business and management aspect of agriculture, and has decided to leverage the abounding opportunities for growth. This should have been done a long time ago, considering as agricultural products contribute chiefly to the state’s economy.

As this follows the unexpected nomination and appointment of 27-year-old Seun Fakorede as the Oyo State Commissioner of Youth and Sport, one can only wonder at the next revolution fire to be lighted by the iconic Seyi Makinde.

GetHostel Services: A startup helping students, property owners and the young working class, to get accommodation space in Lagos #VentureHuntStartupFocus

GetHostel Services was launched in November 2017 by Okereke Bright and Odunbaku Oluwatimilehin Adigun, students of the University of Lagos.

It started as a real estate agency, but now it has expanded to being a digital and non-digital real estate company that specializes in helping students get the best off-campus accommodation experience close to their institution.

The startup achieves this by employing focused real estate agency, creative property development with consultation, and top-notch facility management.

Its goal is to deliver all-round real estate services to students, property owners and young working class, providing the best off-campus accommodation experience with a solution-oriented approach. Its core values are Quality, Integrity and Customer Care.

Since inception, this startup has successfully catered to over 600 students, helped over 200 students of the University of Lagos get comfortable accommodation and housing. Currently, it manages 5 properties, with 6 full time staff and 15 contract staff on its payroll.

Since August 2018, it has generated over N25 million in revenue.  GetHostel was recently nominated for 25 under by SME 100.  It is working on building a its first two-storey building

Here are some of the things Okereke Bright, one of the co-founders had to say in a recently conducted interview with Venturehunt.

What was your motivation for Starting GetHostel?

I had the motivation to start a real estate agency at a time when I needed accommodation, and I couldn’t get any. I had 150k set apart, so the problem wasn’t money, but that I couldn’t find a suitable accommodation. So, I got the idea to start an agency that can provide ideal and conducive home environments.

Where do you see GetHostel in the next years?

We are currently working with a plan to build 1000 residential units between now and the next 5 years.

How has the CEO experience been so far?

Interesting and boring at the same time. While managing properties, I can be at the sites for extended periods, ensuring that everything goes smoothly. But some days are calmer. Real estate is seasonal, there are times when business is booming and we make so much money, and there are times we don’t make as much. As a CEO, I’ve learnt to find a balance, so I can save for the rainy days.

How have you been getting funding?

In 2019 alone, we have raised NGN3 million, and we hope to raise about N20m from now till June 2020.

How were you able to raise the funding?

Through individuals. We have an investment plan. An individual invests in GetHostel, and within six months, the person receives the money back with an additional 30% interest rate. The lowest possible investment is 250,000. We plan to start applying to grants, venture capitalists, and participating in competitions to get more funds.

Who are your Role Models in the Industry?

My role models are Olawale Ayilara, the CEO of LandWey Investment Group, and Grant Cardone, the founder and CEO of Cardone

 

 

 

Max, One of OPay’s ORide Competitors, has launched MaxKeke

Nigerian bike-hailing service, Max, one of the prominent competitors to the Opera-owned ORide, has just launched Maxkeke, its own tricycle service.

With core values of transparency, integrity, initiative and partnership, Max was founded by Adetayo Bamiduro and Chinedu Azodoh with the aim of reducing hours spent by Lagosians in traffic.

Early in the month of June, MAX raised $7 million investment for expansion, and the tricycle service was indeed one of the verticals MAX hoped to expand to with the raised funds. According to an internal person with knowledge of the service, operations are to kick off anytime soon, this is further corroborated by a tweet from MAX yesterday,

“Tawa is Smart. Tawa is a MAX Keke Champion. Now she’s got financial freedom!!! Be smart, Be like Tawa #MAXOKADA #MAXKEKE #Champion #transportation #livinginlagos #startups #premiumbikes”

From the tweet, we can guess that operations will begin in Lagos, but there are no details on the other cities it will cover.

Considering the fierce competition in the bike-ride hailing system in Nigeria, the launch of Maxkeke is unsurprising seeing as OPay recently launched OTrike, its keke service, across Kano, Aba and Ilorin.

It will be quite interesting to see how Max plans to compete with OTrike, considering as the founder company OPay raised a whopping sum of $50 million this year.

Even more, we can only watch to see how this will impact on Gokada, the pioneer of bike hailing services in Nigeria, as it comes back from its two-week break next week.

 

The FCMB Ecosystem Event – Hub One Epic Hour (August Edition)

Epic Hour is a knowledge-sharing and networking event for the Lagos tech community organized by Hub One.

Recently launched in February 2019 as a tech-themed co-working space, Hub One is a conducive environment designed to foster collaboration, networking, possible investments, and drive creativity within Nigeria’s tech start-up ecosystem. It is a professional office space with constant power supply, unlimited internet, free coffee and a community of like minds.

Epic Hour is a monthly interactive activity that happens every last Friday of the month, between 5 pm and 6 pm at Hub One. Individuals with specific knowledge of the industry are invited to speak to the attendees. For this August edition, there will be a break, tagged the “August break”, where all attendees will be given a chance to speak.

This monthly program is expected to validate one of FCMB’s key aim of setting up Hub One as a capacity development platform, a vision that supports the aspirations of Nigeria’s tech startups to attain their full potential. Even more, the program drives brand advocacy for FCMB/Hub One, and transmits the Brand’s core values.

Date and Time

Fri, August 30, 2019

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Location

10 Hughes Avenue, Alagomeji, Yaba, Lagos.

 

 

 

AYOBA – The MTN’s Newly Launched Messaging App

Ayoba is an instant messaging app launched by one of the biggest telecommunication companies in Africa – MTN.

MTN decision to compete with WhatsApp and Telegram, the prominent chat messengers in Nigeria and worldwide, made them create an instant messaging app called “Ayoba” which has the same interface as its rivals. The company first revealed its plans to launch the app in March 2019 at its financial results presentation for the last year.

Named after a campaign by MTN in South Africa to commemorate the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Ayoba is a free instant messaging app, designed by Africans for Africans.

The name is a South African Slang, which means something “okay”, “cool”, or “all right”, further indicating that African users are the target of the app. What’s more, the app enables English, and seven African languages – Pidgin (Cameroon), Swahili, Cote d’Ivoire, Ganda, Julu, Zulu, Xhosa, and Francais.

The app is designed with incorporated sophisticated end-to-end encryption to keep users’ data safe and ensure their privacy, guaranteeing that the messages in a conversation can’t be read by anyone else even the team at Ayoba.

Similar to WhatsApp., you only need to register with your phone number to access your contacts. Immediately you sign up with your phone number, you can sync all your contacts easily without needing to create a new address book.

As one of the app’s users, you can communicate with anyone with a mobile device, even those without the app – this is one of the greatest feature of the app known as the SMS integration.

When you use this feature, messages will be delivered as texts, and if there are files or images attached, the message will include links to view them in your browser. While on the app, you can join channels like Facebook for trending news updates.

To make calls to your contacts, you simply need to click on the contact and the app will redirect your phone call application or Truecaller, based on the call app installed on your phone. You should note that charges for each call are deducted from your airtime. Whether or not you are an MTN subscriber, data is needed to send and receive messages, video files, audio files, documents and images to your contact.

Currently, the Ayoba app is only available for users in Nigeria, Ivory Coast, South Arica and Cameroon, but according to the website, plans are in place to expand to other countries across Africa.

CcHub’s Pitchdrive Tech Tour Second Edition: Ten African Startups Participating in the Pitchdrive Asia

The Co-Creation Hub’s Pitchdrive tech tour second edition kicked off today. Ten selected African startups, who utilise hardware and deep technology tools in their businesses, are participating in this tech tour.

CcHUB, the leading technology innovation centre in Nigeria and Google for Startups announced the launch of the PitchDrive II in April this year. This edition is a three-week, five-city Asian tech tour across Singapore, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Seoul, and Tokyo.

The PitchDrive kicked off today with a target is to bring 10 elite African hardware and advanced technology startups together to discover and engage Asian suppliers and manufacturing partners.

The startups will be interacting with deep tech and hardware communities in Singapore, Japan, China, Hong Kong and South Korea. They are to engage in pitching events, seek out collaborations, partnerships and potential investment opportunities to help them grow further and scale their businesses.

Speaking on this, the Director of Incubation at CcHUB said, “We find that there’s a lot of interest from Asia in Africa and we believe there are opportunities for collaboration that could help strengthen the hardware and deep tech ecosystem in Africa.

Selected from a highly competitive pool of over 200 applicants from across Africa, the participating startups are: Moroccan safety IoT device company Casky; Rwandan smart transport solution company, AC Group;  Nigeria’s Gricd Frij, a cold chain technology for transportation of healthcare and agricultural produce; Access Afya, a Kenyan primary healthcare social enterprise using technology to deliver affordable and effective health access;  Ugandan CHIL AI Lab which leverages AI to improve cancer diagnostic services; and Taeillo, a Nigerian furniture and design company that leverages mixed reality to improve customer experience.

Others include Enova Robotics from Tunisia which specialises in mobile robot development for security purposes; Flare, a Kenyan uber-like company which aggregates ambulance/emergency options for easy access; LIFI-LED, an Ivorian energy startup providing electricity and internet connectivity to difficult-to-access communities, and Nigeria’s Reliance HMO, which employs a consortium of tools to make health insurance accessible and affordable.

This CcHUB tech tour edition is supported by Google For Startups; Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO); ICT and Innovation ministry (Rwanda); German Society for International Cooperation [GIZ]; TechCabal, the media company in charge of curating the tour in images, film and text which will culminate in a documentary production to be aired at the end of the tour; Keppel Capital, MainOne, Future Hub, Found8, and CoCoon.

 

Nigerian Top 5 Early-Stage Investors and Venture Capitalists in 2019

If you are looking to raise money for a startup or funding to launch new products, then this is a must read.

Over 80% new businesses in Nigeria fail in their first year, and lack of funding is one of the prominent reasons for this. Money is the lifeline of a business. A business can only accomplish new goals and attain new heights when it is sufficiently fuelled by funds.

The tech ecosystem in Nigeria is one of the most important in Africa currently. In 2018 alone, two of the world’s biggest tech companies, Facebook and Google, opened their own hubs and launched accelerator programs in the country.

We have scoured the tech startup landscape, and handpicked some of the top early-stage startup investors in Nigeria. ‘

  1. Venture Platform

Ventures Platform is a Pan-African early stage fund that actively finds, funds and supports innovative companies solving real problems in the continent. Founded by in 2016 by Kola Aina, a startup mentor and a passionate angel investor, the focus is to support MVP teams in growing their startups. This Platform invests in ambitious founders who are growing sustainable companies, operating scalable tech-enabled business models, with a clear-cut path to revenue.

Currently, Ventures Platform supports over 2000 entrepreneurs, funds over 28 startups, and popular Nigerian startups in its portfolio include MobileForms, PiggyBank, Accounteer, GeroCare, Paystack, crowdForce, Thriveagric, Wesabi, MyPadi, Tizeti and Printivo.

  1. GreenHouse Capital

Greenhouse Capital is of the belief that “every company must have a strategy to harness the powerful advantages of the new financial technology (‘fintech’) revolution.

Spinned out from Venture Garden Group in January 2016, Greenhouse is an independent investment holding company in Africa with a vision of building the largest fintech investment holding company in Africa through direct investments in African technological companies that support and disintegrate banking services.

Their goal is to provide exceptional teams with the resources and network they need to drive growth and scale their companies locally and internationally. It has invested in popular Nigerian startups like MAX.NG, Flutterwave, Riby, TalentBase and Rensource.

  1. SPARK Capital

Spark is a company that builds companies with a focus on Lagos, Nigeria as the gateway to Africa. Founded by Jason Njoku in 2013, at the inception of Spark, he wrote in a manifesto, saying,

We are not a fund and we are not an incubator; we are a company that builds companies. We focus on Lagos, Nigeria as the gateway to Africa. We focus on well-defined and scalable revenue models. We are a collection of Internet people. We are Spark.”

Shortly after its launch, the company deployed $2m in a number of companies. The company appears to maintain a close and personal relationship with the startups it invests in. Currently, companies like Ogavenue, Hotels.ng, Paystack, Medsaf, MyFoto, and Drinks.ng are on the company’s portfolio.

  1. Growth Capital Fund

Launched by CCHub, Growth Capital Fund is the first social innovation fund in Nigeria with the aim of creating an unprecedented path to scale for outliers driving social change in Nigeria. The company supports high potential, early-stage businesses who are focused on building next generation infrastructure with technology. Participating investors in GC-Fund include CCHub, Bank of Industry, Omidyar Network and Venture Garden Group. It has invested in six companies including Taeillo, Edves, Riby, LifeBank, Delivery Science and DrugStoc.

  1. LeadPath Nigeria

If you have a product that eliminates or reduces the competing factors in an industry, while creating or raising elements that have never been offered in the industry, then you should contact LeadPath for funding.

LeadPath is a seed capital fund that specialises in providing short, medium and long-term funding to small and medium sized start-up businesses in high growth technology areas such as software, web and mobile technologies. The company’s average investment ranges from $25,000 to $100,000 for seed investment and several millions of dollars for follow on funding series.

The Nigerian Government Appoints Kashifu Abdullahi as the new Director General of NITDA

Yesterday, on Tuesday, August 20 2019, the Federal Government appointed Mr Kashifu Abdullahi as the new Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).

Mrs Hadiza Umar, Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations of NITDA, confirmed the appointment in Abuja on Tuesday. Umar quoted a statement signed by Mr Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, on the new NITDA boss appointment and others.

Mr Inuwa Kashifu Abdullahi is a Massachusetts Institute of Technology – MIT Sloan – trained strategist with 14+ years of experience on IT operations, business transformation and solution architecture, across both public and private sectors.

In the past, he worked with Galaxy Backbone Limited, the public enterprise in charge of setting up and operating a unified Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure in the country, and he has quite a number of professional certifications.

Until this appointment as the fifth director of NITDA, Abdullahi was a principal officer at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) but was on secondment to NITDA as a Technical Assistant.

This appointment comes after the nomination of Dr Isa Pantami, the outgoing director general of the agency as a minister designate by the President.

According to Shehu, other appointments by the government included Sen. Basheer Mohammed who replaced Mrs Sadiya Farouk as Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons.

 

 

Andela Launches a Pilot Program in Nigeria for its Talent Marketplace

The African technology company, Andela recently announced the launch of its pilot program in Nigeria to enhance the effectiveness of its talent marketplace.

Andela, an African-based company, focuses on identifying and developing software developers. It launched its operations in Nigeria to help global companies overcome the severe shortage of skilled software developers.

With offices in Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and the United States, the company aims to solve the technical talent shortage by developing distributed engineering teams with the most talented software engineers in Africa.

Currently, it has hired over 1,000 engineers out of more than 100,000 applicants and become known as the “Best Place to Work in Africa”. Two hours ago, the company took to its Twitter and LinkedIn pages, saying,

“We’re excited to announce that we’ve launched a pilot program in Nigeria for our Talent Marketplace to help employers find and hire entry-level software engineers faster. Our pool of Andela Learning Community graduates is now open to technical recruiters”

In a comment under the company’s Twitter page, a follower commented, “Great Development! Does that mean the Andela Fellowship Program is over?”

The Andela Fellowship is a paid, full-time opportunity to advance your career by developing the skills needed to become a full-stack programmer. Participants work on global engineering teams alongside professionals professionals who can mentor them in their career.

Though there is no reply yet, we do not believe that this launch should interfere with the Andela Fellowship Program.

The launch of this program comes eight months after the company raised a $100 million Series D funding round led by a former US Vice President, Al Gore.

It was Andela’s model of promoting distributed teams and remote work that significantly won the conviction of Al Gore’s sustainability-focused Generation Investment Management. So, this launch can be seen as a move towards efficient application of the funding.

US Embassy Celebrates Nigerian Advocate, Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin for her Contribution to Women Capacity Building

The US Mission in Nigeria has recently honoured Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin for her significant contribution to women capacity building.

Born in 1985, Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin is a Nigerian Women and Girls Advocate Social Entrepreneur.

Late last year, on November 1, she was named one of the ten CNN Heroes of the year, alongside nine other pacesetters in the world. Even more amazing, that same month, she was listed as one of BBC’s 100 Women.

Abisoye has conducted multiple human development programs including GirlsCoding, GirlsSTEM and Empowered Hands. The U.S Mission Nigeria tweeted 7 hours ago, saying, Through her various programs, this tech enthusiast has trained over 400 girls and women to code, with a passion geared towards their empowerment and digital relevance.

The U.S. Mission in Nigeria tweeted 7 hours ago, saying,

“#NigerianStar @AbisoyeAjayi is an alumna @StateIVLP and a 2018 @CNNHeroes honoree. She assists girls in developing tech skills through programs including #GirlsCoding, #GirlsinSTEM and Empowered Hands through which she has trained over 400 girls and women to code”

Born in Akure, Ondo State, Abisoye attended the Nigerian Institute of Information Technology (NIIT), and she later went on to acquire a BSc in Business Administration from the University of Lagos.

Working in technology at E.D.P Adult and Security Associations for seven years, she discovered a large gender gap which corresponds with the 2013 governmental survey that less than 8% of management, professional or technological positions are held by Nigerian women.

In a bid to bridge this gap, she founded the Pearls Africa Youth Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organization aimed at educating young girls in under-served areas in Nigeria with technology skills. The fact that she left her successful, fulltime IT consulting job to start the Foundation speaks a lot about her passion.