Muyiwa Babarinde: How Ventures Platform is helping to build Nigeria’s technology future

                  ***As Thrive Agric, Gerocare and other start-ups pitch solutions to everyday problem***

 

On the 15th of September, I was opportune to attend Ventures Platform second Demo Day which held at Genesis Deluxe Cinema, Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria.

The seed fund and accelerator platform’s  goal is to find, fund and support innovative companies solving real problems across the continent and true to its mission, the companies that pitched during its second Demo Day all fit this criterion.

The second edition of the Demo Day was witnessed by hundreds of investors as well as other stakeholders. The hall was packed and the pitches by the companies were simply outstanding and brilliant. For some of the start-ups, the solutions they were providing actually pointed to some problems that even I could personally relate to.

Also noteworthy was the level of excellence on showcase. Quite admirable that Ventures Platform team thoughtfully put in place structures to ensure a great event. An app was even developed for investors to see all the start-ups that were pitching and there were options to ‘’like’’ a start-up and/or ‘’schedule’’ a meeting at a later time with them even when the start-ups were still pitching.

Kola Aina, Founder, Ventures Platform speaking during the event

Admittedly, there are a lot of problems in Nigeria. However, these problems signify the opportunities that exist and that’s what the companies that pitched during Ventures Platform Demo Day are doing: leveraging technology to solve some of these problems.

 

Thrive Agric

I had first heard about this startup about 7 weeks ago when they launched a crowdsourcing campaign to give people the opportunity to invest in a farm, and they raised about 20 million within 4 hours. The company’s mission seems to be to turn everyone into farmers and from the data it shared during its presentation, it is experiencing massive growth.

You as an individual can invest an amount into one of their farm projects, and they will pay a return on your investment twice every year.

Uka Eje, co-founder, Thrive Agric pitching during the event

What this means is that you can continue your 9-5 and basically have Thrive Agric’s team invest and manage your funds on a farm. With the recent focus on the government to diversify the economy, and the increasing adoption of farming as a means to grow wealth by Nigeria’s middle class, this startup might just be helping kick-start an agricultural revolution.

Viva

Viva aims to provide quality entertainment content to passengers on long distance buses over Wi-Fi and without internet. I found it an interesting proposition as they are focusing on BRTs in Lagos metropolis at the moment. The start-up installs a device into each bus, and people can connect to it even without Wi-Fi to consume content of various types. With hundreds of thousand Nigeria always commuting daily through long distance buses daily, it has a vast audience that will be receptive to the free entertainment that it will be providing through its device

Mo Felata, co-founder, Vivaxd pitching to investors

 

Accounteer

A lot of SMEs fail in Nigeria due to lack of appropriate systems to make their operations effective and effective, and Accounteer has built a localized accounting platform for small businesses to manage their businesses and finances

Merijin Campsteyn, Co founder, Accounteer delivering his pitch during the event

On its platform businesses can track expenses and income, issue invoices amongst other financial activities. The start-up which already has 6,000 customers is growing steadily and with over 37 million SMEs in the country, Accounteer can help millions of Nigerian businesses optimize their processes.

 

Gerocare

Gerocare was borne out of the founder’s frustration in securing quality health check for his father who had some health challenges some years back.

The company aims to get quality healthcare to the elderly and by working with a network of doctors across the country, it schedules monthly check ups for your parents or relatives upon payment of a monthly subscription fee. How cool is that?

Dr Ebi Offrey, co-founder, Gerocare pitching to a cross section of investors

Recently, I have been thinking of actually having someone do this same regular check-ups for my parents, and when I heard the team pitch their solution, I instinctively knew that I was definitely going to be a user of this service. It is a really solid solution for everyone concerned about ensuring their parents and elderly are constantly in the best shape.

 

My Padi.ng       

My Padi is a real estate startup focused on providing off-campus accommodation for university college student and young professionals across the country.

Joel Amahwe, Founder, MyPadiNg introduces his company idea to investors.

For anyone who has attended a public tertiary institution in Nigeria, you sure can relate to the fact that there are inadequate infrastructure in terms of accommodation for students, and this start-up aims to take away the stress of finding an alternative from students. It also doesn’t charge the students until they have secured accommodation on its platform, so this should incentivize more people in schools across the country to utilize its platform.

 

Drivers Ng

My boss at work recently had to change her driver due to the lackadaisical attitude of her driver, and she isn’t the only one faced with the challenge of finding good drivers. Drivers Ng aims to solve this problem by finding, training and managing drivers for individuals and corporation.

Daniel Audu, Co-founder, DriversNg delivering his pitch

So, basically, once you go on their platform, you will be allocated a driver and they will manage the driver. This is done after you pay a monthly fee to the start up. You might have 99 problems, but Drivers Ng wants to ensure having a reliable driver isn’t one of them.

Product-Market fit? Check

Qualified team? Check

Market validated model? Check

Room for growth? Check

The start-ups that pitched during Demo Day 2 all had the above elements in varying degrees and that was quite impressive.

The importance of this demo day can’t be over emphasized because as the technology industry grows, there is the need for platforms and structures that will enable players in the ecosystem achieve their goals by getting access to both material and non-material resources to scale their businesses.

The start-ups that pitched during the program are all experiencing great traction and the role of Ventures Platform in helping these start-ups birth and scale their ideas is a laudable one.

The industry needs all the help it can get to keep growing as we count down to having the first Unicorn from Nigeria.

 


Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

Muyiwa Babarinde is a Brand Strategist/Opportunities Associate at Red Media Africa, one of Nigeria’s leading public relations/communication agencies with clients including: Facebook, Nigerian Breweries, Unilever amongst others.

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