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Is investing in commodities only for the brave?

Commodities have always had a reputation for being a tricky asset class, leaving tons of people with the fear that investing in this asset class would be a tricky move.

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Is Investing in commodities only for the brave?, Solomon Udoh’s experience is why you should monitor your investment performance constantly

Commodities have always had a reputation for being a tricky asset class, leaving tons of people with the fear that investing in this asset class would be a tricky move. Some of these fears remain largely unfounded.

Based on ascertained risk levels, investing in stocks has proven to be higher in risk than investing in commodities, but more is generally known about the former than the latter, therefore many investors have ignored investing in commodities as an asset class, as they would rather invest their money in what they know whether that yields profit or not.

It is reasonable to be that careful with money, as people work hard for their monies and would be loath to lose hard-earned cash. This, however, does not mean that people should avoid investing in commodities as an asset class, but that they should get suitably educated and access all the necessary information needed to make the right decisions.
In an economy like Nigeria’s, investing in commodities provides protection against the ravages of inflation and instead helps investor portfolios to retain and even increase in value during such times.

[READ ALSO: All the scoop on Meristem Green Fest – The largest healthy living festival in Nigeria]

This is because the prices of raw materials and labour often increase during times of inflation. Forward-thinking investors, therefore, reduce the risk of inflation on their investments by hedging. Hedging is the practice of investing in assets for the purpose of reducing or eliminating particular sources of risk in a portfolio. It is simply a strategy to protect an investment against loss. Besides protecting an investor from various types
of risk, hedging makes the market run more efficiently.

Hedging is important for investment because successful investing is about managing risk, not avoiding it. In the world of investing, every form of financial vehicle holds certain level advantages and disadvantages, and commodities are no different. One of the best ways to manage risk is through diversification of assets both within and among different classes. One of the benefits of using commodities to minimize your overall portfolio risk is that commodities tend to behave differently than stocks and bonds.

A portfolio with assets that do not move in the same pattern can help you better
manage the uncertainties of the market. Developments in the commodity markets in Nigeria are creating opportunities for investors to take advantage of commodities as an alternative investment vehicle with the attendant benefits of portfolio diversification and the possibility of higher returns. AFEX Commodities Exchange Limited is Nigeria’s first
private sector exchange firm, which has built a platform that facilitates effective trade and settlement on commodity transactions.

[READ ALSO: Kanu’s Hardley Apartments: True Position by AMCON]

The Exchange is creating and launching innovative new products that make investing in commodities accessible for all investors, while also lining up training and other avenues of
interaction that make it easier for everyone to understand the products.

Derivatives and commodities exchange markets can help deliver improved market transparency, lead to increased access to finance for commodity value chain operators and financial market participants and promote hedging and risk management. What is necessary is an understanding of the market by investors which will enable them to tap into the opportunities imminent in investing in commodities.

 

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    Take the next step to your entrepreneurial journey with Bolt 

    Bolt is Africa’s leading ride-hailing company renowned for its affordable, convenient and reliable services.

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    9-5 jobs used to be escape routes for many job-seeking graduates. Youths considered these jobs as secure and prestigious. However, the narrative has changed. Some engage in full time small or medium-scale entrepreneurship; others combine the 9-5 with side hustles.  Such hustles include local logistics services, pre-order sales, ride-hailing services, amongst others. The reason is not far-fetched. People want to earn more money and build a comprehensive professional network.

    Bolt is Africa’s leading ride-hailing company renowned for its affordable, convenient and reliable services. It operates an app that enables you to hail rides through smartphones and via the web app without a hitch.

    The fantastic thing about Bolt services is that it allows people to request rides and begin their entrepreneurial journey as a part-time or full-time driver. Being a driver on the Bolt platform has opened opportunities for several people.  Below are some of the reasons drivers choose to take up driving on Bolt, either part-time or full-time.

    More earnings for you

    What is a better reason to start a side hustle if not to make extra cash? Starting a part-time job as a driver on Bolt means another stream of income that can help you achieve your long and short-term financial goals. Bolt offers flexibility for its drivers to make decisions on the times to work.  Either you choose to work part-time or full time on the platform, the great earnings, bonuses and benefits are all yours to enjoy.

    A chance to build your professional network

    Regardless of your background or course of study, working as a Bolt driver part-time or full time is available for you.  Driving provides an opportunity to network with numerous interesting people.  One day you might be taking the founder of the next big thing in tech to the airport, and the next, you could be riding with your favourite artist who could become a mentor. By establishing a professional network, drivers can propel themselves to the next level of the careers they enjoy.

    Access to bonuses, discounts and other perks

    Joining the league of drivers does not only mean more money for you. It also means you will have access to numerous discounts, prizes, and other incentives for referring drivers. These perks include health insurance cover for top drivers to ride-hailing insurance on all trips, fuel cards, and discounts on car washes and vehicle servicing.  Besides, you get paid for the time you spend driving with Bolt, but you also save money on some purchases and expenses.

    An opportunity to develop your interpersonal skills

    Having excellent interpersonal skills is essential for any job, and Bolt drivers will improve such skills with ease. After undergoing the required training, you get the chance to develop verbal and non-verbal interpersonal skills as you go about your day. These include emotional intelligence, effective communication using good eye contact and body language, and constructive feedback. You will learn to show empathy and appreciate resolving disagreements amicably. These interpersonal skills honed through frequent interactions with different personalities from different backgrounds can only serve to make you a better person and a better leader in the future.

    A privilege to explore your city

    Knowing the nooks and crannies of your city is something one should be proud of. As a part-time or full-time Bolt driver, you will be able to explore and learn about your city. You will get familiar with the best spots for almost any activity in your city and town alongside learning how to navigate around traffic hotspots.

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    To get started on your journey as a Bolt driver, sign up at partners.bolt.eu

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    Charting a new course for venture capitals and early-stage funding

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    -Adedeji Olowe

    How do you build successful businesses? The short answer is it’s hard. Yet from the outside, many assume investing and building successful startups is a pretty straightforward activity. Their thinking: money conquers all challenges, and nobody is more flushed with cash than VCs.

    They assume that once VCs identify the companies building innovative products, they’ll simply throw money at them and let them work. In the future, if the company is a success, think IPO or Paystack-Stripe acquisition, the VC walks away with a decent return despite adding minimal value to the growth timeline.

    But many times, this never happens. There’s a higher chance that a startup will fail than it getting any traction at all. And startups fail all the time; it’s just the nature of the business world. According to Fortune Magazine, nine out of 10 startups fail. That’s why some investors use the “spray-and-pray” model of investing to increase their chances of cashing out with that golden startup that saves the rest of their portfolio.

    In recent years, more investors and firms are harkening on to an old truth. Maybe money is not the single most important thing companies need. Perhaps they need other kinds of support to build high-growth ventures even at the early stages? What if an investor could do more than just dole out money to help a young company make it to the finish line?

    This is a reality many investors may need to accept. They must be ready to roll up their sleeves and help portfolio companies execute, especially at the early stages. To do this effectively, more VC firms should, and indeed a few are creating something called venture builders.

    A venture builder, sometimes called an incubator, a startup studio, or venture studio, is an organisation that develops new companies or startup ideas and dedicates resources and teams to nurture the product until maturity.

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    Venture builders take different forms. But two models stand out, with the major difference between them being the origin of the idea.

    In the first model, venture builders are out chasing innovative startups for investments. The goal is to tap into a wide variety of ideas from entrepreneurs, pick winners, and help them grow their businesses leveraging the builder’s in-house resources. This model overlaps with traditional VC investing, but the difference is the investor’s level of involvement.

    However, the second model is slightly more popular. Here the venture builder conceives the idea for a startup or a bunch of ideas in-house and then assembles a team to execute these ideas while supporting them with much-needed resources, expertise, infrastructure and network.

    One familiar venture builder is Rocket Internet, which has incubated many startups, including publicly traded food delivery company, HelloFresh and Jumia Group, the Pan-African retailer and its basket of marketplace services. Other notable venture builders include Founders Factory, a startup studio that has built over 35 companies from scratch and GreenTec. There are also famous examples of corporate organisations deploying the venture builder model. One organisation is Opera which housed OPay for a few months in 2018. Alphabet, the parent company of search engine, Google has also deployed significant resources on moonshot projects, including Waymo, the driverless car startup.

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    But the venture builder approach isn’t without its drawbacks, and it does receive a fair amount of criticism. For one thing, they seem expensive and may not necessarily be the best use of financial and human resources for venture firms—many of which tend to have lean teams focused on deal-making and due diligence.

    A good way to get around this criticism is to limit the number of startups entering their portfolio. Unlike accelerator programs and VCs that tend to back dozens or even hundreds of startups each year, venture builders are most optimal if they support a few companies annually. Three to five is fair enough to ensure the builder provides the best value with the resources they render.

    The venture builder model certainly offers merits for early-stage innovation. One notable rationale is they test and validate ideas quickly in-house. After all, according to CB Insights, 42% of startups fail when due to a lack of product-market-fit. Venture builders engage in few core activities: business ideation, building teams, capital allocation and team operations. Each of these activities is key. And like regular startups, builders must prioritise similar growth development models such as prototyping and leveraging design thinking and agile process management. Execution and speed are equally crucial to the venture building model to validate ideas and scale quickly.

    These resources aren’t cheap. Venture builders typically invest seed-stage funding in new ideas in return for a significant chunk of equity or a majority. This makes sense and could return many multiples during exits.

    Beyond financial resources and access to quality networks, one crucial benefit of venture builders is they’re not shy to provide the much-needed human capital to develop and scale ideas. Talent is key to startup development, but acquiring the right talent can sometimes be expensive and time-consuming, both of which would affect startup execution timelines. CB Insights data shows 23% of startups fail because they assembled the wrong team. Venture builders reduce this challenge with their pool of skilled and experienced teams spread across various incubated startups. They also have the resources and appeal to attract top talent to scale startups to maturity.

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    As the new startup gains traction, venture builders should spin off the company, allowing it to grow independently and attract follow-on funding from external investors. Like regular VC investments, venture builders can exit portfolio companies through secondary sales of equity, a stock market listing or mergers and acquisitions.

    The venture building model is one innovative approach worth adopting in developing economies such as Nigeria, where investors may have little understanding of certain parts of the economy. With the correct information and team to assess business opportunities in these sectors, investors will turn back and chase startups in other more familiar territories. Venture builders, including those owned by investment firms and corporate organisations, can help investors capture the valuable opportunities they would ordinarily have missed.

    For example, recent Africa startup funding data from Disrupt Africa, Weetracker and Briter Bridges highlight overwhelming investor interest in the fintech industry, particularly payments and digital banking. Meanwhile, other subsectors with untapped value exist.

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    Domestic venture builders in developing markets can move quickly to help investors test and validate ideas and allow them a chance to stumble on lucrative ideas that have not been explored.

    Similarly, venture builders develop companies at the early stages, potentially valuable companies without the high valuation that blocks investors from joining their rounds. The role of the venture builder is to spot enterprising startups and ideas, validate them and then market them to investors looking to enter specific markets or industries.

    The venture building model could also prove helpful at breathing life into old traditional businesses looking for new growth in the digital economy. The model frees corporates from the risks of attempting to pivot their businesses into risky verticals. Instead, corporates can set up a test lab to develop ideas, seed them with limited funding to validate the model, avail them with the institution’s network and resources, and then monitor market reception for the new idea. The venture building model makes it easier for corporates to tap into the startup craze with limited exposure to the risk of failure. Successful bets become valuable standalone ventures which can keep growing and later attract external investment at an attractive valuation.

    Trium’s execution approach is a hybrid of the leading builder models. As a member of a closely-knit business ecosystem, we’re able to back entrepreneurs, connecting them to experts and valuable networks to scale ventures successfully. So, if you’re thinking about executing your next transformational idea and need a reliable partner to help you out, think Trium. Let’s build it together.

    More about us here, you can also connect with us on LinkedIn & Twitter

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