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.

Kobo360 Logistics Platforms Raises US$30 Million Funding

The Nigerian digital technology freight logistics startup, Kobo360 has raised a total sum of $30 million funding; part debt funding and part venture funding. It raised a $20 million Series A equity round led by Goldman Sachs, with participation from Asia Africa Investment and Consulting Pte, and existing investors including the International Finance Corporation, Y Combination and TLcom Capital.

The company also announced that it raised an additional $10 million in local currency working capital from Nigerian commercial banks. This new funding round follows a $6 million seed investment last year led by the International Finance Corporation which enabled the company to expand to Togo, Ghana and Kenya.

In a statement on Wednesday, 14th of August, the company said it plans to broaden its reach in Africa significantly by entering ten new countries beyond its current operating markets of Nigeria, Togo, Ghana and Kenya by the end of 2020. According to the CEO, Obi Ozor, the final decisions on the 10 new countries will be made by the first quarter 2020.

With the funding, the team said it will “continue to scale the organisation, develop the technology offering, and accelerate supply growth.”

Kobo360 is also “planning to add 25,000 drivers to the platform in the coming months to power the recent Africa Trade Continental Agreement, expected to catalyse intra-African trade.

Speaking on this, Obi Ozor, Co-founder and CEO of Kobo360 said, “Our Series A allows us to invest in growing our talented team that is working hard on the ground to systematically address the inefficiencies within the African logistics sector, and strengthen our already extensive network of clients and truck owners across the continent.

We are also focusing on developing the partnership with drivers, ensuring that they are trained to use mobile-enabled technology, so they can convey goods seamlessly and earn more money. We are already seeing drivers running trips on the Kobo360 platform increase their monthly earnings by 40%, as we work together to mobilise logistics across Africa.

As a cross-border freight service, the company intends to maximise this funding to benefit from the Africa’s Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) which was signed this year by all the 54 countries in Africa to reduce friction and barriers on Pan-African commercial activity.

The startup expects to have a voice in the final implementation of AFCTA, in addition to lower costs for its country-to-country freight movement. On this, Ozor said, “We’re going to do some policy work through the IFC so we can help shape AFCTA. The key to the deal is really logistics, so if the logistics component doesn’t work out the deal isn’t going to work”.

The company’s plan is to use a part of this new funding to build out its Global Logistics Operating System. GLOS (shortened form) is a blockchain-enabled platform that will help the company to transition to more supply-chain services.

Launched in 2017 by two Nigerian entrepreneurs – Obi Ozor and Ife Oyedele II, this latest funding has made Kobo360 the second top-funded transport and logistics startup in Africa with investors betting on the company’s ability to meet a rise in demand for cargo deliveries while riding on the back of the AFCFTA.

Correction: “Ventures Platform Changes Leadership as Founder and Executive Director, Kola Aina Steps Down”

The Founder and Executive Director of Ventures Platform Foundation, Kola Aina, has stepped down from his role in the company.

In our post on Thursday, we stated that the Founder and Executive Director of Ventures Platform has stepped down completely from his role. This was however a mistake on our part.

As said on Thursday, the Ventures Platform Hub consists of three distinct organisations: the Ventures Platform Foundation, Ventures Park (the co-working business), and the Ventures Platform fund, through which it has invested in noteworthy startups like Tizeti, Paystack and PiggyVest.

So, in truth, Kola Aina has stepped down from his role as the Executive Director of the Ventures Platform Foundation, which is the arm of the company that fosters skill development and entrepreneurship in Africa. Now, Mr Kola Aina will move to the company board and will continue leading the Ventures Platform Fund’s investment in African startups.

Speaking on this, Mr Kola Aina said, “Over the the course of 3+ years, Ventures Platform has morphed into 3 entities under the “umbrella”; Ventures Platform Hub, and today we have made some leadership changes effective 1 August, 2019.”

He went on to explain, saying, “At Ventures Platform Foundation — where we are working to build the future of Africa through skills, innovation and entrepreneurship — Mimshach Obioha is the new Executive Director. He will provide focused leadership to the amazing teams that work with our partners to implement various programs based on our theory of change.

At Ventures Park — where we create enabling environments for entrepreneurs, innovators, and change-makers — Nkechi Oguchi is the new CEO. She will drive and expand upon the mission of creating enabling communities for the builders of Africa’s future.”

He concluded, saying, “At Ventures Platform Fund — where we provide capital and support for early-stage startups — I will continue to lead our investment efforts and look forward to spending more time discovering bold founders building the future of the continent.”

Ventures Platform Changes Leadership as Founder and Executive Director, Kola Aina Steps Down

The Founder and Executive Director of Ventures Platform Foundation, Kola Aina, has stepped down from his role in the company.

Ventures Platform is a leading source of capacity building, capital, advocacy and support for under-served entrepreneurs, institutions and communities, enabling them to enhance the creation and development and wealth in Africa. Its investment portfolio includes PiggyVest, Paystack, MDaaS, Thrive Agric, Tizeti, Reliance HMO, crowdForce, etc.

The Ventures Platform Hub consists of three distinct organisations: the Ventures Platform Foundation, Ventures Park (the co-working business), and the Ventures Platform fund, through which it has invested in noteworthy startups like Tizeti, Paystack and PiggyVest. The three organisations has been led by the pioneer founder, Kola Aina, till he recently stepped down.

Kola Aina is succeeded by Mimshach Obioha, former Director of Partnerships This replacement has a ripple effect in the leadership of Ventures Platform as Former Chief of Staff, Lamide Johnson, becomes the Director of Partnerships for Ventures Platform Foundation, while Nkechi Oguchi, takes on the role of Chief Executive Officer for Ventures Park. These three appointments are effective from today, August 1, 2019.

Speaking about the changes in leadership roles, Kola Aina said,

I am really proud to see that a little over 3 years from when we began the VP journey we have internal leaders emerge through what was a competitive process, to scale up the work that began from a simple mission to provide hassle-free capital that would enable bold and young Africans to build a better future. Today, these changes will ensure that we can better deliver on our expanded theory of change – spanning access to capital, capacity, and community.”

Kola admits that with more time at his disposal, he will be taking on a few personal adventures as well as take on more exciting projects in the next months.

Apply for the Outlier Venture Lab Accelerator Program for Early-Stage Nigerian Startups

Outlier Venture Lab

Outlier Venture Lab is a business acceleration program for tech-enabled startups who are building innovative solutions to challenges in Nigeria.
We are convinced that start-ups can re-invent possibilities and bring game changing innovations to solve institutional and social challenges in Nigeria. This inaugural episode of Outlier Venture Lab aims to invest in startups who are leveraging technology and bringing new business models to solve challenges within their communities.
Our aim is to support the development of tech-driven startups companies.

The Outlier Venture Lab- Startup Accelerator
2018

Are you an early-stage start-up or an SME based in the Nigeria?

Are you developing a tech-driven product or service addressing a huge local need and has a significant social impact?

Are you working on the leading edge of innovation?

Do you have a prototype or already have paying customers?

Apply for Outlier Venture Lab today!

Outlier Venture Lab is a top Nigerian based Accelerator for innovative early-stage start-up and SMEs across sectors. We are sector agnostic, yet stage focused.

The Inaugural edition of Outlier Venture Lab opens its doors to receive applications from Startups. The Program will accept up to 10 start-ups and invest more than $20,000.

Successful applicants will receive equity funding, tailored business development advisory, mentorship by sector experts, access to global business network and partners and an opportunity to get future seed investments.

What’s in the Program?

• Equity funding of $20,000 and above

• Three months of tailored business development advisory including training & mentoring in exchange        for up to %ages of equity.

• Pitching in front of seasoned investors.

• access to network of partners and partners for go to market.

• Featured in media

How do I Apply?

1) Complete the application form before July 30th to qualify for the accelerator program.

You will be contacted by Outlier Venture Lab team in about four weeks to receive information about the selection.

2) Selected applicants will be invited to our 3-days pre- accelerator boot camp, which will end with a demo/deal day, where start-ups will pitch to the selected closed audience of investors from our Funding Network.

3) After the Bootcamp, 10 start-ups will advance to the acceleration program Outlier Venture Lab.

.

Taking place in Lagos Nigeria.

Am I eligible? 

You are eligible to apply if your business meets the following criteria

•  Business is based in Nigeria

• Your business operates in sectors like Agriculture, food, health, fintech, environment etc.

•  Your business is technology-enabled and has a potential for significant local impact.

• The Business has been in existence for up to 12 months and have paying customers

What’s next?

Submit your application today! Applications close 30th July, 2018.

contact

www.thebusinessoutliers.com

Hello@thebusinessoutliers.com.

Apply here

This Article was first posted here

Apply: Wells Fargo Accelerator Program for FinTech Startups 2018

About the Program:

Wells Fargo is granting investments opportunities for up to $1,000,000 to FinTech startups and promising minority stake in the invested company.

The Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator is a hands-on program designed to advance startups that create solutions for enterprise customers — inside and outside the financial industry. The annual boot camp is looking to work with firms that are interested in breaking into the Fortune 500 market or financial services vertical market, have an innovative product that is demonstrable, backed by an implementation, and possibly, have existing customer experience.

Eligibility:Entrepreneurs from around the globe who have innovative ideas can apply. Ideally, you should be a startup targeting large enterprises as your ultimate customers.

Number of Awardees:

6 investments in 5 companies.

Duration of Program:

 6 months.

Value of Program:

Up to $1,000,000 in investment along with support in the following areas.

Accelerator: The program has a vested interest in your company’s success. It is primarily to encourage innovation, so Wells Fargo will maintain only a minority equity stake in your company.

Resources: Our intensive program helps companies understand what it takes to become part of the corporate stack. After the program, companies may continue to work with us on proof of concepts across different business lines within Wells Fargo.

Application Process:

  • Interested startups should apply here.
  • The review process includes technical and executive reviews. First stage review results are typically emailed 5-10 days after an application period ends.
  • After a company is selected, one or more advisors are assigned to collaborate on developing the partnering strategy with Wells Fargo and if applicable, assist in the execution of proof of concept projects.
  • Startups will be provided with networking opportunities and connect them with industry leading experts, mentors, executives, and venture capitalists.

This Article was first posted here

Apply for FINNOVATION Fellowship Program for Impact Entrepreneurs!

Deadline: 15 July 2018

The FINNOVATION Lab has announced the FINNOVATION Fellowship Program for impact entrepreneurs.

The Fellowship is a nine month incubator and fellowship program to support impact entrepreneurs who:

  • Are hungry to understand the context and causes behind some of the world’s most pressing problems
  • Are passionate about leveraging an entrepreneurial idea to make a big social or environmental impact
  • Are eager to develop innovative business models to solve problems in new ways
  • Are committed to growing into their potential as a leader
  • Need a runway of support to get their enterprise launched

Benefits

  • INCUBATION: A dedicated desk at the state-of-the art space at FINNOVATION Lab and Impact Hub MSP collaboration workspace, located on the top floor of the FINNEGANS House in downtown Minneapolis.
  • FUNDING: Every fellow will receive a full time living stipend of $50,000, plus a $3,000 healthcare stipend, to offset living expenses and set-up costs for the nine month Fellowship.
  • MENTORSHIP: Each Fellow will have access to a network of mentors – a combination of experienced entrepreneurs and industry experts drawn from FINNOVATION Lab’s skills-based volunteering initiatives with local corporations and university partnerships.
  • CURRICULUM: Fellows will participate in one or two curated curriculum days each week and have a range of tools and resources at their fingertips to guide their learning journey and business model development.

Eligibility Criteria

  • If applicant  have  a  good  idea  and  are  at  least  18  years  of  age,  applicant  are  eligible  to    Applicants  can  be  of  any  educational  background,  and  there  is  no  citizenship  requirement.
  • They are looking for leaders who are having bold ideas and the skills to execute. Applicants are:
    • Audacious enough to think applicant can solve an intractable problem, but humble enough to listen to feedback and test their idea
    • Willing to fail in order to learn, but resilient enough to try again
    • Applicants to the FINNOVATION Fellowship are individuals who have identified a particular social problem that they feel passionate about addressing and have developed (at the very least) a hypothesis (or “idea”) for a potential enterprise. This enterprise must have a long term plan for financial sustainability and social impact. And Fellows must be prepared to be ready to launch their enterprise at or before graduation from the program.
    • Enterprise ideas can be for-profit companies, or they can be non-profit organizations that have an earned revenue component. Social impact may be in education, health, environment, hunger, poverty-alleviation, or elsewhere, as long as applicant can make a case for that is it a “force for good.”
    • The application is open to social entrepreneurs, community leaders, recent graduates, current professionals or changemakers working on any social issue, who have an innovative idea for solving a social problem.

How to Apply

Applications must be submitted online via given website.

For more information, please visit FINNOVATION.

African startups have raised a total $168.6 million in the first half of 2018 (4x jump vs same period in 2017)

 

This is turning out to be a great year for African startups seeking funding.

Halfway through the year, with 118 deals completed, startup funding on the continent has reached $168.6 millionsurpassing last year’s total of $167.7 million, according to a report by WeeTracker. The total funding is also nearly a four-fold increase on the $47.2 million raised in the first half of 2017.

Fintech remains the most attractive sector as investors continue to bet on the promise of startups focused on making payments and banking easier in Africa.Fintech also accounts for four of the 10 largest deals completed this year, receiving $95 million in funding—more than half of total amount raised on the continent. In the two largest deal Cellulant, a digital payments solutions company which operates in 11 African countries, raise $47.5 million in its Series C round while Branch, an online micro-lending platform, has raised $20 million. Even though Nigeria was the biggest funding destination for volume of deals with 29 completed, Kenya accounted for the most funds raised with $82.8 millionnearly three times the total of funding received by Nigerian startups.

As different reports on startup funding in Africa are released annually, the total amounts differ based on methodology. Last year, Disrupt Africa’s pegged total startup funding at $195 million while Partech Ventures annual funding report—which includes startups that have a primary market in Africa whether or not they are headquartered or incorporated on the continent—showed that $560 million was raised last year. For its part, while it tracks companies incorporated in Africa and companies incorporated elsewhere but have their primary focus on Africa, WeeTracker does not include major private equity deals in fields like manufacturing in its reports, says Nayantara Jha, the managing editor.

Startups that have a primary market in Africa whether or not they are headquartered or incorporated on the continent—showed that $560 million was raised last year. For its part, while it tracks companies incorporated in Africa and companies incorporated elsewhere but have their primary focus on Africa, WeeTracker does not include major private equity deals in fields like manufacturing in its reports, says Nayantara Jha, the managing editor

This article was first posted on Quartz Africa

 

 

 

Fintech Vs Agritech What Should Investors Hurdle Toward in Nigeria? (Part II)

 

This article is a continuation of a series, you can check out the first post here

In the last few years, African start-ups have successfully raised capital from angel investors both within and outside the continent. In 2015 about a $185M was raised in total, with Fintech bagging about 29.6% of this funding which is about $49.7M, while Agritechs raised about $50k in funding. Reported investments in Start-ups in Nigeria have increased to $49M in 2015 compared to $16M in 2014. Interestingly, Nigeria, which had the highest investment focus (about $109.3M), accounted for 29% of the total investments in African start-ups. In 2016, 146 African start-ups raised $129.1M with about 24% equalling $31.4M going to the Fintech sector according to Disrupt Africa’s tech Start-ups Funding Report.

 

Fintech

Fintechs have been by far the most funded start-ups since tracking began. In 2017 a third of all the funding to the Nigerian tech ecosystem went to Fintechs and this proportion has remained stable in the last three years, so it is safe to say that Fintech is worth a third of the entire tech ecosystem. Investments in Fintech in Nigeria and other parts of Africa have moved from about $198M in 2014, to $800M currently. Though global investments in Fintech were put at $19B in 2015, indications have shown that investors are increasingly attracted to the industry’s potential to tap into Africa’s huge unserved/underserved population. KPMG states that investment in Nigerian Fintech over the last two years exceeded the $200M mark with $195M being invested in 2017 alone. Nigeria, Egypt and South Africa were the top three recipients of Fintech investments in Africa over the last two years. This is even as start-ups are increasingly accounting for a significant portion of Fintech investments, accounting for 30 per cent of the total funding raised by African tech businesses in 2015. KPMG observed that Venture Capitalist/Angel investors were early-stage investors in Fintech businesses in Nigeria in line with global trends. It, however, said Nigerian banks, which had previously invested in Fintech start-ups such as Interswitch and Valucard are now predominantly consumers.  In the Tech start-up funding report for 2017 released by Disrupt Africa Fintech was the most attractive sector for investors. The high investment in Fintech start-ups is really something noteworthy because banking penetration is low. In 2014, the number of bank accounts relative to population was 34% in Africa.

For the past two years, the total investment in Agritech in Africa has amounted to $19M. With nearly one billion people in Africa active as smallholder farmers, it comes as no surprise that entrepreneurs and investors alike are starting to tap into the Agritech space. This space is charting out a decidedly upward trajectory, with funding into this sector growing 203 per cent in 2017. Agritech start-ups across the continent raised a combined total of US$13.2M in funding last year, the fourth largest of any sector. This was up 203 per cent on 2016 figures, which had in turn been an increase of 8,660 per cent on the pitiful of US$50K raised by Agritech start-ups in 2015. Agritech is hot right now internationally, and Africa is no exception. Investment tends to be Marco economically stable, people have to eat, and there are a number of acquirers perusing the space lately looking for opportunities.

This level of investment is confirmation that Agritech has become a key sector of interest not just for venture capital investors, but also for impact investors, individuals, family offices, institutions, and strategic players. Some high-profile investors include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which invested across biological inputs and alternative proteins, Google, actress Demi Moore, actor Jared Leto, Stanford University, and the University of Texas Investment Management Company. The corporate venture arms of big agribusiness also stepped up their participation in 2015 with Monsanto and Syngenta leading the way.

 

Applications for Y Combinator’s Winter 2019 Funding Cycle are now Open

US seed accelerator Y Combinator (YC) has opened applications for its winter 2019 funding cycle. Yesterday we published an article about how Kobo360 raised pre-seed funding from Y Combinator, you can read about it here.

This announcement was made on Monday last week and the deadline for interested start-ups is 2 October 2018. Y Combinator invests $120K in start-ups for 7% equity in return. On its website the accelerator notes that sometime between late October and early December, it will invite the best startups to meet with its representatives in Mountain View (Silicon Valley), California where it will then select the companies it will invest in. The founding teams of the selected startups will be expected to relocate their companies to San Francisco’s Bay Area. YC will assist founders in creating a US company into which the accelerator will invest in.

What you need to know

  1. If you want to apply, please submit your application online by 8 pm PT on October 2. Startups that submit early have a small advantage because we have more time to read their applications. And you can submit after the deadline – though keep in mind that the later you apply, the harder it is to get in.
  2. On October 23, by 10 PM, we’ll invite the startups that seem most promising to meet us in Mountain View either in late October, November, or early December. We’ll reimburse reasonable travel expenses.
  3. We decide what startups to fund after each day of interviews.
  4. If we invest in your startup, your company’s founding team is expected to move to the Bay Area for January–March 2019. You can, of course, relocate the company afterward if you want, but it’s a good place for a startup to be.
  5. Y Combinator doesn’t supply office space. We have space your company can use if you need to, but we expect your startup to work out of wherever you find to live. It is no coincidence that so many successful startups have started this way; it’s the ideal setup for the initial phase.
  6. During the 3 month cycle, we’ll have dinners every Tuesday for all the founders. At each dinner, we’ll invite an expert in some aspect of startups to speak.
  7. We have regular office hours year round for startups who want to talk about what they’re building, or get advice on dealing with investors. We also have occasional events at YC.
  8. During and after the 3 months we introduce startups individually to people who could help them. The founders of other YC-funded companies tend to be especially helpful. Today the YC alumni network is probably the most powerful network in the startup world.
  9. About 11 weeks in, we organize an event called Demo Day at which the startups present to a carefully selected, invite-only audience.
  10. YC doesn’t really end after 3 months; only the dinners do. We continue to give advice and make introductions as long as our startups need—-and so does the informal network of YC-funded companies.

Who we fund

How do we choose which startups to fund?

We’ll fund companies from anywhere in the world. We fund companies doing everything from building mobile apps to diagnosing cancer.

We’ll happily fund companies that just started and have nothing more than an idea. And we’ve funded companies that had over $20M in annual revenue and over 50 employees.

International founders, please note: if your company is already incorporated as a non-United States company, to participate in YC you will need to convert your foreign company into a United States corporation (usually with a foreign subsidiary). While lawyers will drive this process, it will require a significant effort on your part.

You must have at least 10% equity in the startup to be considered a founder by Y Combinator. Only founders can come to interviews if invited or attend batch events if accepted.

Also read this guide on what the accelerator looks for in successful submissions.