Following a good show by Ventures Platform’s second cohort at their Demo Day last week Friday, I was convinced about the future that awaits the startups.
A resounding ovation from over 100 attendees (investors inclusive) in the hall, following each pitch, was a good show of approval, not only of the products demoed by the startups, but also their wittiness in selling these products.
However, on a chilly afternoon where the phrase “write some cheques” was used more times than I can remember, serious business sure has to be top of agenda.
So, here are my top 3 startups from the Demo Day that would likely go on to top their performance in the nearest future.
The absence of basic accounting practices in most SMEs in Nigeria compounds their financial challenges. According to a Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise(MSME) national survey in 2013, 69.25% of SMEs in Nigeria operate without an actual business plan while 95.99% are even unregistered.
To worsen matters, most of these SMEs can’t access funds because banks and other financiers cannot readily verify their vibrancy and their access to quality projects.
By its partnership with local banks, Accounteer just might have hit a jackpot — because this truly localises its products and services.
Already Accounteer has a live integration with GTBank to enable financial services — such as one-click loan application and SME factoring — on top of its accounting platform. Based on Accounteer’s data, eligible customers can easily apply for bank loans without leaving the platform. For the banking partners, this means an unrestricted access to customer data and increased chances of acquiring new customers at zero cost.
This offering might just be the game changer for the startup and I won’t be surprised if other banks quickly swing in on this.
It only needs to replicate this across the 52 countries it currently operates in to consolidate its position as both a financial and accounting juggernaut.
VIVAxD is playing in the content space and their catch is to offer streaming of unlimited video content without internet.
Asides the BRT buses which are currently on the startup’s radar, the opportunities for revenue are boundless.
The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) puts registered vehicles in Nigeria at 10.6 million as at 2016. With proper execution, VIVAxD can increase revenue by mass producing their VIVAxD content boxes to target individual vehicle owners or possibly as an alternative to popular digital satellite television in homes.
Outside of the transportation route, it can decide to take the competition to the likes of Netflix or even local giant, iROKOtv. Already, Nollywood has long been battling piracy, seeing as the industry loses a reported sum of about $38 million in distribution annually, I see the opportunity of acquiring the content licenses from movie producers — thereby diverting a huge chunk of that money to its purse.
For all we know, VIVAxD may be a unicorn in the making.
The reality of underdevelopment in the Nigerian agro value chain would have been a hindrance to scaling a platform like Thrive Agric a few years ago. Today, with the technology changing approach to agriculture on a local and even global scale, it’s easier to see how lucrative the agro sector is. That alone has increased interest in agriculture, as is evident in how people are now investing in the various value chains — without themselves involved in the dirty operations that are synonymous with agriculture.
Food production, which is the primary focus for Thrive Agric, is a potential ₦21 trillion market, by PwC estimates, and as people are tempted by the 23% ROI (within a period of six months) advertised by the startup, this figure might even receive a further boost.
These days, Nigerian youths are more in tune with agriculture. The fact that founders of Thrive Agric are young farmers themselves attests to this fact. It won’t be a thing of surprise if, in the coming days, many Nigerian undergraduates and even graduates hit the farm to make a living or earn extra cash.
On the continental stage, Nigeria is listed among the countries with the most commercially viable agricultural opportunities in Africa — with arable land making up nearly 40% of the total land area. Less than half of the land mass is currently underutilised and this is a great opportunity for Thrive Agric.