Over the weekend, GreenTree Investment Company, a venture capitalist firm based in Lagos, organised a Pitch Day for promising Nigerian startups; many of whom could potentially receive thousands of dollars in funding for their businesses.
The Pitch Day, which held at the Co-Creation Hub in Yaba, Lagos, saw the gathering of over twenty startups and their founders; all of whom tried to convince the venture capitalists to invest in their businesses.
Speaking to Nairametrics on the sidelines of the event, Mr Abasiama Idaresit, a Director at GreenTree Investment Company, said the essence of the Pitch Day was to identify early-stage, technology-led companies that have potential while giving them the much-needed capital that will enable them to expand.
Asides funding, the startups will also stand the chance of receiving mentorship, insights, connections and “strategic counsel” that will guide them through the tough Nigerian business environment.
He noted that the Pitch Day is important to GreenTree Investment Company, in that it enables the company to avail the startup founders the opportunity to pitch their business ideas/models and receive investments in return.
He also stated that they are really excited by the quality of the ventures they saw, even as they prepare to make some commensurate decisions based on their discoveries.
Also speaking to Nairametrics was Dr Ola Orekurin, another Director at GreenTree who highlighted the main criteria they use when deciding which startups to invest in. In her words-
“There are three main criteria we use when deciding which startups to invest in. First and foremost, we look at the market size. And by market size, we mean the total market size and the addressable market size. We do this by considering how many people there are who can potentially buy your product.
We also look at the team; the quality of people the founders have been able to assemble to work together on the projects, and the quality of the founders themselves. We look at their skillsets, their experiences, their business philosophies and also their money spending habits and investment decisions.” – Orekurin
Dr Orekurin further stated that the GreenTree team also focuses their judgment on the product/service under consideration, examining what the product is all about, how it will change people’s lives; how disruptive is it? In other words, they consider what is it about the product that makes it different and unique from all the other products that are already available in the market.
She expressed optimism in the Nigerian startup ecosystem, noting that it is very interestingly vibrant and diverse, with so many interesting players. According to her, the GreenTree team always looks forward to organising Pitch Days because it is a good time for them to not only scout potential investment opportunities but also learn a lot from the entrepreneurs about what currently obtains in the market.
The team also expressed their determination to continually work together with startup founders to move their businesses forward, helping them to achieve their short-term and long-term goals.
The weekend event only marked the first phase of the selection process. The next phase will involve a whole lot more, including greater evaluation of the businesses. At the end of the selection processes, GreenTree hopes to be able to invest in as many startups as meet their criteria.
Some of the startups that pitched their businesses during the Pitch Day event are listed below-
- E-Pump: A small startup dedicated to ending fraud at filling stations with the use of technology.
- Jara: a marketplace app with which shoppers can pay bills and get discounts.
- Davton Learn: An e-learning platform catering to the learning needs of professionals and corporate organisations.
- PayScrow: An e-Commerce company which ensures buyer-seller protection.
- Publiseer: A digital publishing company which ensures copyright protection and markets works of arts across the world at no cost to the owners.
- Oyecube Farms: An agric company which farms and processes ready-to-eat snails; albeit on a large scale.
- Kiakia Print: A disruptive, online-based printing service provider, etc.
GreenTree Investment Company is an investment company which avails startups access to funding, helps them implement “a bulletproof corporate governance framework”, and offer simplified financial planning and legal advice, among others. Since 2014 when the company was founded, it has funded many startups, most notable of which include- Paystack, Precurio and Big Cabal Media.