LABS by ARM to invest $100,000 in five fintech startups participating in its 12-week accelerator programme

by | Feb 11, 2020

LABS by ARM, a Lagos-based accelerator backed by the ARM Group, has selected five startups to participate in its accelerator programme.

This is the accelerator’s second cohort and similar to the maiden edition, ARM is partnering with Ventures Platform to support and fund fintech startups solving key problems in innovative ways around the financial industry.

Henrietta Bankole-Olusina, ARM Financial Advisors managing director, said the accelerator program is ARM’s way of supporting Nigeria’s fintech ecosystem.

“We believe that companies building great technology and solving real life problems are great companies to support. That’s why we designed this 12-week programme to help these early stage companies grow their business as much as possible.”

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LABS by ARM Leadership team 1024x683 1

L-R: Kayode Oyewole (Head of Program, LABS by ARM and Partner, Ventures Platform), Henrietta Bankole-Olusina (MD, ARM Financial Advisors), and Barbara Ezeife (Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications, ARM)

In addition to that, Bankole-Olusina said the startups will get access to ARM’s network and some of its high net-worth clients looking to invest in them, as well as mentoring and business advice from industry leaders.

The first and second cohort differ in some aspects.

In its first cohort, all the six fintech startups — Asusu, Fint, Tsaron, Trove, Think First Tech, and Payday Investor — that participated, got ₦3 million (~$8,253.09) in grants but only Trove received a $30,000 seed investment from LABS by ARM. But the second cohort has five startups and they will have equal investments.

“We will invest $20,000 seed funding in each of the fintech startups with an option for further fundraising post-programme,” Bankole-Olusina said.

According to LABS by ARM head of program and Ventures Platform partner, Kayode Oyewole, the selection process was quite rigorous.

“We opened applications sometime in December. We got 191 fintech companies that applied. We had to cut that down to 33 companies, then subsequently 11 companies. We invited the companies for a physical in-person chat with the LABS by ARM board and some senior executives present. Finally we drilled them down to these five.”

The five startups to participate in the LABS by ARM accelerator programme include:

Truesaver

Founded by Victor Osiki, Truesaver provides access to zero-interest loans by leveraging rotational savings.

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The Truesaver team 1024x683 1

The Truesaver team

The solution is a contact-based platform where contacts can save a set amount monthly over a period with lump-sum savings being given to each saver monthly in rotation.

Owoafara

Founded by Tale Alimi and Sally-Ann Ezekiel, Owoafara is building tools and platforms to curate, verify and match small and medium-size businesses with financial institutions for loans.

The Owoafara team 1024x683 1

The Owoafara team

Also it provides support for companies that do not qualify for financing to enable the businesses grow their business and better prepare to access financing.

Rise

Founded by Eleanya Eke, Tony Odiba, and Bosun Olanrewaju, Rise helps Nigerians grow wealth by connecting customers with the best investment opportunities around the world, cheaply and seamlessly.

The RISE team 1024x683 1

The RISE team

Quantis Finance

Quantis is leveraging technology to automate trading and investments in order to make financial markets and instruments more accessible to local investors.

Kwaba

Founded by Obinna Molokwu, Kwaba is a property rental financing platform that is solving bulk rental payment problems for low to middle income earning Nigerians.

The Kwaba team 1024x683 1

The Kwaba team

Kwaba makes the upfront rent payment for retail customers and these customers are able to pay their rent on a monthly basis.

While it looks like some of the startups in both cohorts provide similar services, for instance, Trove and Rise, Oyewole said the accelerator is taking the approach to invest in mutually beneficial companies in its portfolio.

“When we invest in companies, we look for companies that can be mutually beneficial to each other. An instance is that Trove can list some of their offerings on Rise, and vice versa. Sometimes when VCs invest in a company, they look for another company to invest in to plug into what the other company is doing and that’s how we try to look at it.”

Tage Kene-Okafor
Tage Kene-Okafor

Endlessly amused by technology. @ulonnaya


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