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.”
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:
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.
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.
Quantis is leveraging technology to automate trading and investments in order to make financial markets and instruments more accessible to local investors.
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.”
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Nigerian startups raised $377m in 2019, more than twice what they did in 2018. Find out more when you download the full report.