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.
FCMB shuts contact centre locations due to COVID-19 scare
Other banks have recently had to shut down their branches due to public health concerns caused by COVID-19.
First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Limited informed its customers, yesterday, that its contact centre locations have all been temporarily shut down following COVID-19 scare.
A brief statement that was issued via Twitter emphasised that the general shutdown of the physical locations is only a temporary and precautionary measure aimed at preventing further spread of the contagious virus. The statement, however, did not clarify whether there have been any reported cases of infection at these contact centre locations.
“Dear Customers, we trust you are doing well and staying safe. We would like to inform you about the temporary closure of one of our Contact Centre locations as a precautionary measure to curtail the spread of COVID-19 and protect our employees,” part of the statement said.
Meanwhile, customers were informed that FCMB’s contact centres will remain active in the meantime, albeit virtually. However, customers may experience delays prior to being attended to. Customers were also advised to explore the self-help options offered by the bank’s electronic banking channels in order to resolve their challenges.
As a result, even though our Contact Centre remains functional, you may experience longer wait times when reaching us. We sincerely apologize for every inconvenience.
— FCMB (@MyFCMB) July 5, 2020
Nairametrics understands that some of the bank’s customers have been experiencing some ‘not so great’ customer service over the past few weeks. One of these customers, who chose not to be named, confirmed this to Nairametrics. Reacting to the statement by the bank, the customer said:
“This statement explains why the bank has not been responding to complaints across all its channels. For at least 4 weeks now, they don’t respond to emails, WhatsApp messages or DMs. I have some funds that they have not reversed in like 4 weeks now. If you check Twitter, you will see so many similar complaints.”
Recall that some other banks have had to close down their branches due to the same reason given by FCMB. Just recently, Jaiz Bank Plc shut down its Ikeja branch for disinfection. Weeks before that, Wema Bank also confirmed that two of its branches were temporarily shut down after two staff became infected with the virus.
NSE Masks for All Nigerians Campaign receives boost from private sector
The Exchange will distribute 100,000 face masks through different cities in Nigeria.
The rapid rise in confirmed cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Nigeria demands more collective, decisive, coordinated and inclusive action in the fight against the virus. Now is the time for government, private sector and well-meaning individuals to come together to flatten the curve.
In light of this, The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE or The Exchange) on Monday, 06 July 2020, redeemed its pledge of Sixty Million Naira to the Capital Market Support Committee for COVID-19 (CMSCC) with the donation of ambulance and Twenty Million, Seven Hundred Thousand Naira cash to the committee. The CMSCC is a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) led initiative set up to stimulate the capital market ecosystem to play an active role in curbing the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria. The donation was received by the Chairman, CMSCC, Mr. Ariyo Olushekun and the Director, Lagos Zonal Office, SEC, Mr. Steven Falomo.
In furtherance of its commitment to support the fight against the virus, The Exchange launched the Masks For All Nigerians campaign with the aim to galvanize responsible corporate citizens and individuals to donate 400 million face masks to Nigerians, especially low-income households. The NSE kicked off the campaign with an anchor donation of 100,000 face masks that are being distributed in areas where it has operations and areas that are greatly affected by COVID-19.
As part of the Masks For All Nigerians campaign, The Exchange executed a nationwide awareness campaign on social media and radio to educate Nigerians on the need to wear face masks, practice social distancing and maintain good hygiene. The NSE also involved its Good Cause Ambassador, Innocent ‘TuFace’ Idibia, to amplify the need for Nigerians to wear and donate face masks via www.masksforallng.com, as well as adhere to the guidelines put in place to keep our communities safe. As part of its Employee Giveback Programme, members of staff are also donating 500 masks per week to Nigerians.
Speaking on the initiative, the Chief Executive Officer, NSE, Mr. Oscar N. Onyema, OON said, “We are facing an unprecedented crisis that requires us to adopt a more collaborative approach in fighting this pandemic especially as economic activity and social interactions resume. As we work to encourage the use of reusable face masks and adherence to other safety guidelines, we call on responsible corporate citizens and well-meaning individuals to support this initiative by wearing a mask when in public settings and donating masks especially to those at the bottom of the pyramid so as to protect lives.”
In response to the call, several private sector players have sprung to action bringing the total number of masks donated under the Masks for All Nigerians campaign to 216,300. Opay was the first to partner with a donation of 100,000 face masks to Lagos State University Teaching Hospital on Thursday, 4 June 2020. Also, Morbod Group donated 13,000 masks to residents of Lagos and South-Eastern part of Nigeria. The two most recent donors are Babalakin & Co Legal Practitioners and AIICO Insurance who donated 1,300 non-medical face masks to the Ikoyi Custodial Centre, Nigerian Correctional Service and 2,000 non-medical face masks to the Nigerian Red Cross Society, Lagos State Branch, respectively. AIICO Insurance has also made a commitment to donate another 7,000 face masks.
In fulfilling its commitment to donate 100,000 face masks, The Exchange will distribute 33,000 face masks in Lagos; 7,000 in Oyo; 5,000 in Ogun; 5,500 in Anambra; 5,500 in Rivers; 3,800 in Edo; 14,500 in Abuja; 18,000 in Kano; 3,900 in Borno; 3,800 in Kaduna; and 10,000 to capital market stakeholders.
The Exchange has displayed remarkable resilience during this pandemic and continues to support the fight against COVID-19 in line with the strategic pillars of its Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility (CSR) strategy – community, workplace, marketplace and environment. The Masks For All Nigerians campaign and the attendant mask donation will provide immense support to the Government in reaching communities who have hitherto been left vulnerable. The Exchange also continues to sustain market activity through remote working and trading; promote market deepening activities; create an enabling regulatory environment for stakeholders; and recognise the efforts of public and private sector players in raising awareness, ramping up testing and increasing the capacity of the health sector to slow the spread of COVID-19.
AfDB appoints new acting Vice President as Jennifer Blanke steps down
Wambui who joined the AfDB in 2018 currently supervises the Bank’s water sector program.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group has announced the appointment of Wambui Gichuri as Acting Vice President- Agriculture, Human and Social Development, with effect from 5 July 2020.
This follows the resignation of the erstwhile Vice President of Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Dr Jennifer Blanke, about 4 weeks ago.
This was disclosed by the bank in a press statement on July 4, 2020.
Wambui who joined the African Development Bank Group in 2018 as Director, Water Development and Sanitation, currently supervises the Bank’s water sector program of over $ 4.5 billion covering 44 countries and multinational projects.
Wambui has a supervisory role over two divisions, namely the Water Development, Coordination and Partnerships, and Water Security and Sanitation divisions, as well as the African Water Facility divisions, a project preparation facility. She also leads the development and coordination of the technical program, manages the department’s human resources and budget, and the development of extensive partnership activities. Her leadership role includes water sector policy dialogue, strategy and business development, and spearheading innovations.
Before joining the African Development Bank, she worked for the World Bank where she served in various capacities for twenty years, including 17 years in water resources management, supply, sanitation, irrigation and drainage, with vast experience in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Wamgui holds a Master’s Degree in Economics from the University of Nairobi, Kenya (1988); a Bachelor of Philosophy degree in Economics (1986) and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Sociology from (1983) from the same university.
The President of the African Development Bank Group, Akinwumi Adesina, expressed his delight in having Wamgui in that role due to her wealth of experience and leadership skills
Adesina said, “I am very pleased that Wambui agreed to step into this role as Acting Vice President. The Vice Presidency Complex on Agriculture, Human and Social Development has some of our largest programs and flagship initiatives. With her extensive experience, leadership, people management skills, and strong execution capacity, I am confident that she will help strengthen the team and accelerate execution on critical programs and initiatives”.
Nairametrics had reported that the former vice president for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Jennifer Blanke, stepped down from her role with effect from July 4, 2020, on purely family reasons, she said that she intends to rejoin her family in Switzerland after a very fulfilling time at the bank.