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Columnists

What does my startup portfolio look like? – by Olumide Soyombo

Olumide Soyombo discusses his flair to invest in some of the most prospective startups in Africa.

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I have been privileged to invest in some of the most interesting Startups in Nigeria and other parts of Africa.

This journey started in 2014 and my approach has always been to just do my thing behind the scenes and support the companies I invest in strategically. However, following the Paystack exit, folks have been curious to see what other companies I have backed, so I have finally decided to share.

I believe we have a couple of stars in here and the next couple of years should be interesting. Please support these companies wherever you see them so that my family can eat o…

Gbedu (Gbedu.live)

Gbedu is a music discovery and streaming service built to dispense the rich sound of Africa. They have created an experience that gives young, upcoming (up and coming) artists the chance to get discovered and earn per stream of their music content.

The startup is connecting Africans to the most extensive catalog g of free localized content, leveraging the power of playlisting, offline, and radio-integration to create new interactions and vast, unique music experience per user locale.

Gbedu is freely accessible to all users and pays every content owner.

Industries: Digital Entertainment, Music Streaming.

Wesbsite: www.gbedu.live

2. PiggyVest

Piggyvest is the leading online savings & investment platform in Nigeria, helping individuals manage their finances effectively.

The platform enables users to save small amounts of money frequently with minimal effort. They automate the process of saving tiny amounts daily, weekly, or monthly; and then allow savers, withdraw for free on only set withdrawal dates, thereby practically making saving and investingpossible for users of their platform.

Industries: Financial Services, Banking, FinTech

Website: www.piggyvest.com

3. Intelligra

Intelligra is the builder of an open platform created for smartphone financing. The company’s platform offers MNO (mobile network operator) integration and lock technology, proprietary credit scoring algorithms, and device lock solution. The platform also offers an in-store seamless onboarding app and integrates device OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer), financiers, and mobile network operators, enabling consumers to access affordable smartphones.

Industries: Financial Services, Mobile Financing.

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Website: https://intelligra.io/

4. TeamApt

TeamApt is a financial technology company focused on developing Digital Banking, Business Solutions, and Payments Infrastructure. They are rethinking the needs of consumers, businesses, and the financial industry.

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Industries: Fintech, Financial Services

Website: https://teamapt.com/

5. VertoFX

VERTO is a complete F.X. and payment marketplace built for business. VERTO helps business operate efficiently on the international stage. The company makes it possible to open a free U.K. business banks account in minutes with the ability to hold up to 39 different currency balances. Additionally, VERTO gives its business users the ability to make or receive payments in foreign currencies and trade those currencies at lucrative rates.

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VERTO provides liquidity and price discovery tools for international businesses. The marketplace provides easy access to exotic and foreign currencies with seamless international online payment services. Mono

Industries: Finance, FinTech, Marketplace

Website: https://www.vertofx.com/

6. Mono

Mono is an API financial technology software designed to become the go-to financial data infrastructure API platform in Africa. The company’s software provides access to financial statements for historical and real-time transactions, balances, bank statements, credit and spending patterns. The platform also make s it possible to initiate direct debit payments and recurring debit. They are enabling users to get an accessible way to check their financial statements and transactions conveniently.

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Mono is bringing access to financial accounts across Africa securely and reliably.

Industries: Big Data, Financial Services

Website: https://mono.co/

7. Spleet

Spleet is a Nigerian-based prop-tech startup that offers its users a subscription-based, living solution. Spleet provides access to Shared/entire living spaces with flexible payment options (Daily, Monthly & Quarterly Subscriptions).

They have built a platform and partner with homeowners who want to earn constant (recurring, monthly, and quarterly subscriptions) revenue and homeowners who wish to earn non-recurring income.

Industries: Real Estate, Property Management, Vacation Rental

Website: https://spleet.africa/

8. Migo (Done via a Syndicate)

Migo is a cloud-based platform that allows customers to use loans, make purchases, and withdraw cash without the need for plastic debit/credit cards.

Migo offers a digital Credit-as-a-Service platform to domestic banks, mobile operators, retailers, and payment processors. The platform includes APIs, frameworks, consumer insights tools, and expertise on best practices that enterprise partners can use to build transformative consumer credit services in emerging markets.

Industries: FinTech, Financial Services, Credit

Website: https://www.migo.ng/

9. LendMe

LendMe is an online consumer loans platform. Users can choose a loan amount in Naira(₦) and set a repayment schedule. The loan limit of the user increases if the user successfully repays loans. The app is available for the Android platform.

Industries: FinTech, Financial Services, Credit.

Website: https://www.mylendme.co/

10. Bitnob

Bitnob simplifies access to the Bitcoin Blockchain Technology for People to create wealth, grow their wealth and even build and provide support for their businesses. It is a cryptocurrency exchange that allows users in the African Region to buy or sell Bitcoins quickly. One key feature of the exchange is that it enables its users to automatically and periodically save in Bitcoins with as little as one dollar.

Industries: FinTech, Financial Services, Cryptocurrency

Website: https://bitnob.com/

11. Lemonade.Finance

Lemonade Finance is a startup that makes it easy to send money to Nigeria from Canada within seconds. Their platform, available on Google Play and App Store, offers some of the best exchange rates at any given time. What’s more, transactions on lemonade are free, safe, and secure.

Industries: FinTech, Financial Services.

Website: https://lemonade.finance/

12. Brass

Brass is a digital bank that provides small and medium businesses with a suite of products and tools to help them grow. Brass provides bank-backed, fully insured current account services to local companies in Nigeria.Brass makes it super easy for every business to get a current account from any device, cut traditional bank fees and help businesses and people save money.

Industries: FinTech, Financial Services.

Website: https://www.trybrass.com/

13. Trove

Trove Finance is a platform that allows you to invest in stock markets around the world for as low as ₦1,000. Troves allows its users to automate their investments by linking a debit card to the Trove App.

Its Investment app aims to make the process of finding and selecting investments — specifically Stocks & Bonds — accessible and approachable for beginners. With Trove, users can find stock from public companies from Nigeria, and the U.S. Users can also easily access various bonds, cryptocurrency assets, and mutual funds.

Industries: FinTech, Financial Services, Cryptocurrency

Website: https://www.troveapp.co/

14. Gradient Boost

The Gradient Boost is an end-to-end platform training, upskilling, and matching data science talent in Africa to companies. This last mile data science upskilling platform enables companies to build a reliable data science, data engineering, and data analytics talent pipeline of the top data talent in Africa.

They take on talent with strong data science fundamentals and upskill them through mentorship from experienced data scientists.

This enables the young talent to gain strong collaborative skills, soft skills and practical experience. Ultimately, these young talents can prove their abilities to companies looking to hire talent.

Industries: Data Science, Training

Website: https://www.thegradientboost.com/

15. Send.ng

SEND is a Digital freight Forwarder & Customs Broker for African Businesses. Send ships container and air cargo to Nigeria, managing the entire process — from suppliers in China, U.S. & Europe, to the customs clearance and then delivered to customers.

Send is making it easy for people and businesses to ship across Africa and to the world. Their web app, mobile app, and API are used to request their shipping services. They then pick up, package, and ship items through major couriers/carriers. Send.ng provides simple yet not-so-available value-added features like tracking and transparent pricing.

Industries: Logistics, Supply Chain Management, Freight Service

Website: https://www.send.ng/

16. Gloo

Initially, Gloo.ng, a pure-play electronic retailing service dedicated to delivering direct to their clients’ doorsteps, Gloo has now pivoted into the e-procurement space as Gloopro.

Gloopro simplifies purchasing for large enterprises with eProcurement and commerce solutions. As a one-stop platform for large enterprises to optimize the purchasing of material and service inputs not included in their core products or service, Gloopro offers its customers valuable supply-chain visibility.

Additionally, they enable large enterprises to standardize and automate their entire procurement lifecycle across multiple locations with stock reorder level parameterization and budgeting caps.

Industries: Retail, E-Procurement

Website: https://www.gloopro.com/

17. PushCV

PushCV is the largest pool of pre-screened candidates in Africa. PushCV aims to help tackle the unemployment epidemic by providing a platform on which only the best talents are connected to top employers and recruiters.
Push CV is focused on the features that matter most to an employer and hence, the job seeker. Through continued iteration on complex employment problems, they seek to provide continuous improvements to the service that already makes thousands of people find their dream jobs a lot faster, safer, and more seamless.

Industries: Recruiting

Website: https://www.pushcv.com/

18. Bento

Previously verifi.ng, Bento has metamorphosized into more than just a payroll and H.R. platform to help companies in Nigeria manage their employees’ salaries. Today, Bento has expanded beyond pension, healthcare, and taxes to provide a platform for salary earners to manage what they consume and how they consume.

Bento has provided healthcare and salary advance services by partnering with a healthcare provider, Hygeia, and money-lender, Zedvance. Moreover, it aims to do much more, for instance, helping parents pay their children’s tuition monthly and pay rent monthly.

Industries: Financial Services, Employee services

Website: https://bento.africa

19. Leadspace

Leadspace is an alternative commercial real estate startup aiming to create shared infrastructure for entrepreneurs and founders of small & medium-size businesses.

They provide co-working spaces for entrepreneurs/founders of small and medium businesses, mid-level corporate executives, Independent freelancers, remote workers, and creative artists.

Industries: Co-working

Website: https://theleadspace.co/

20. PowerCube

Powercube builds clean energy systems that can provide homes with more than 16 hours of power a day with subscriptions as low as N7,000 ($20) monthly. User can control each system with a mobile application that allows them to determine how much power they want to use.

Powercube was started to relieve small homes and businesses from using generators while providing the highest degree of certainty on bills due.

Industries: Clean Energy

Website: http://www.powercube.ng/

21. Accounteer

Accounteer is a cloud accounting platform for small businesses. A business owner can create invoices, track expenses and follow up on their finances with ease. Accounteer integrates with external services like banks, e-invoicing platforms and e-commerce.

Industries: Financial Services, MSME

Website: https://accounteer.com/

22. Blackbet

Blackbet is a product-driven Africa sportsbook operator. The company has ambitions to expand and delight the global gaming community by bringing safe, imaginative and innovative sports play to a new generation by simplifying the platform and delighting new customers play-by-play.

Industries: Gambling & Casinos

Website: https://www.blackbet.ng/en/

23. Fantastic.ng

Fantastic.ng is a free-to-play gaming platform focused on sports fans (hence the name Fantastic). Their platform offers its users an experience similar to sports betting and rewards without requiring any payment.
The sports gaming platform runs on a freemium model that allows users to play for free or buy ₦100 token to access premium games with higher rewards.

All rewards are paid in a digital currency called Fan Coins (F.C.s). These F.C.s are then used in the Fan Shop to purchase various items, including airtime, food, phones, laptops, and get cash back.

Currently, the gaming platform offers a Football Manager, Predict & Win and Sports Quizzes.

Industries: Gaming

Location: Lagos, Nigeria

Website: https://www.fantastic.ng/

24. Engage

Engage is a customer messaging platform that helps businesses grow and improve customer retention. It is messaging based on the end user’s journey, preferences, and actions through your business application.

Engage is able to achieve this by segmenting your customers based on their attributes (e.g., gender, location, plan, age) and their actions (e.g., used up data bandwidth, canceled subscription, scheduled an appointment, submitted feedback), and allowing you directly “message” these segments or create automation.

Industries: Artificial Intelligence, Business Development, Messaging

Website: http://engage.so/

25. Koa

Koa is an app-based platform that helps its users save and grow their money at the tap of a button, making it easier for them to reach their financial goals, starting out from Kenya.

With Koa, users can save for what truly matters to them. Their application helps users break down their goals and save towards them daily, weekly or monthly. Additionally, users with a Koa grow the account, gain interest on the amount they have saved over a set period.

Industries: Finance, Savings, and Mutual Funds

Website: https://withkoa.com/

26. Paystack (Exit)

Paystack is a payment platform that enables businesses in Africa to accept payments by anyone, anywhere in the world, from multiple local and global payment channels, including credit cards, debit cards, money transfers, and mobile money.

Additionally, Paystack provides tools to help its business users retain existing customers and acquire new ones.

Industries: Financial Services and Payments

Website: https://paystack.com/


 

Article culled from Medium

Nairametrics frequently publishes articles from experts such as financial analysts, economists, researchers and investors. We also feature articles from guest writers and bloggers who wish to push their views and opinions through our platform.To get your articles on Nairametrics, kindly send an email to [email protected] and we will publish it within 24 hours of approval by our editorial team.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Abdulraheem Muhammad

    February 24, 2021 at 10:52 pm

    So what does Exit means.. Does it mean he withdrew all of his investment from Paystack??

    • Olaotan Oladitan

      February 26, 2021 at 6:01 pm

      @Abdulraheem Muhammad, exit typically means the investor was able to cash out as the company he invested in got acquired or went public.
      In this instance, Paystack got acquired by Stripe for about 200million dollars!..so he has been able to cash out big especially if he was an early investor (he was). Hope this helps

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Columnists

Currency deregulation and finding the true value of the Naira

Why does a government borrowing heavily choose to subsidize the dollar?

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A colleague said to me, “it’s uncanny how your Central Bank’s policy on Foreign Exchange is similar to that of Zimbabwe of 2008”.

I had to go check what Zimbabwe did and where it led them to.  Zimbabwe. after a bout of hyperinflation, abandoned its currency. Nigeria’s current arrangement may get us there.

It is a good time to own a BDC. BDC licenses can cost as much as N15m now. The same license cost about N3m some years ago. Why has it gone up? A BDC can generate a weekly return of N1.3-1.4m just on a $50k bid.  Most people can live on that. With a spread of N65 on a dollar: official at 410 and parallel at 475, why do you have to sweat?

So what is the impact of this? A long run destruction of the economy, a higher subsidy than calculated on petrol and a significant market distortion. A distortion that profits less than 1% of the population and sending a higher number into poverty.

READ: FG rejects IMF’s advice to devalue the naira

With, until recently, accretion to reserves impaired by low crude prices and low volumes, there is a rapid depletion of the country’s reserves. Why does a government borrowing heavily choose to subsidize the dollar?

The answer is corruption. Corruption played out supported by perceptions of what could happen to the middle class if the Naira were allowed to float. Nigerians tend to politicize the exchange rates. It’s for them a sign of economic management. Governments in power have that awareness. It’s part of the play in sustaining corruption.

The future is bleak. The external reserves shed over a $1billion in the last few weeks. Nigeria is consuming the present and the future. There is really nothing to show for the years of interventions. With the ongoing challenges in security and rising poverty, the destination is going to be a crash.

It is time for market unification. It is time for Nigeria to move to find the true value of the Naira. It must stop the corruption in the markets.

 

Written by Demola Adigun

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Columnists

Tinted windows: A quest for privacy and our collective need to be safe

There is an urgent need to balance out the need for privacy/comfort for vehicle owners and the overall security of the society.

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It is 6:30 pm on a cold harmattan smothered evening on Oregun Road in Lagos, and Sola was driving his friend’s car as they headed for an evening hangout. Fred, the owner of the car is sitting in the front seat as Sola attempts to make a U-turn just before the exit into Opebi Link Road when a commercial motorcyclist (Okada) comes speeding on the driver’s side.

In the ensuing crash, the Okada rider was sent flying into the air and his bike slid into the middle of the road. As is normal in Lagos, a large crowd had gathered taking pictures and generally being a nuisance and when they saw the occupants of the car were all young men, the assumption being that they were drunk and that was the cause of the accident.

A Police patrol team on routine patrol arrived at the scene to forestall the breakdown of law and order and immediately moved the crowd away after pictures of the accident scene had been taken. The experienced Inspector who led the team noticed the windows of the car were dark and heavily tinted- with small holes cut into it to allow a limited view of the side mirrors. This limited the angle of view of the driver as he made the turn and thus the accident.

A very high percentage of accidents at turnings/ intersections in Nigeria are caused by poor visibility on the part of drivers in heavily tinted vehicles. The use of 5% tint (which is the darkest form of tint) is most prevalent in quasi security vehicles such as the Toyota Hilux in convoys and in vehicles owned by personnel of government security agencies.

Tinted windows are a fad amongst Nigerians and a status symbol especially for politicians and the wealthy. Tinted windows are basically two kinds: the factory tinted and the fit for purpose tints installed by the owner of the vehicle. Factory tinted windows have the tint coloured into the windows themselves and so it is not removable; while for the fit for purpose tint involves the use of a layer of film over the glass and it can be removed.

Some of the reasons for a window tint in a vehicle include a level of privacy for the occupants, protection from UV rays / the glare of the sun and to provide a look that is pleasing to the eye. Tints were initially only included in Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) because they do not come with a covered-up luggage area (Boot) and so the tint provided some sort of cover for the items in the Boot from prying eyes.

Factory tinted windows have a pigment inside of the glass themselves; while the purpose fit tints require the installation of a nylon film over the window that creates a tint in varying degrees. The degrees range from 50% which is the same as a factory tint, 35% which is a light and acceptable tint, 25% tint which is dark and acceptable in most instances and the 5% tint which is very dark and not acceptable in most instances.

Factory tint can be found on the rear windows of most new and fairly used SUVs and trucks. Tints are measured by the Visible Light Transmission Percentage (VLT%) in terms of the amount of light (UV rays that they allow into the Vehicle) and the 5% is the extreme of the spectrum with very little light coming through and thus it is very dark inside the vehicle especially at night, while the 50% is the very start of the spectrum with plenty light into the vehicle, thus it is bright).

In Nigeria, the Police determines and regulates the use of tints in vehicles and what is acceptable in the entire Federation. The Laws of the Federal Republic Nigeria places the onus and burden for the regulation of the use of tint in vehicles on the Nigeria Police both as a regulator and enforcer of the rules and procedures.

In the beginning, the Police only licensed vehicles with factory tinted windows, but in recent times the permit has been issued for non-factory tinted windows. According to the regulations, exemptions are issued for owners with a medical requirement for these types of tint for their vehicles and owners are required to provide evidence from government-owned hospitals for the permit to be issued.

Some of the reasons why window darkness is regulated include safety issue for vehicle occupant and other road users (i.e., you cannot see clearly enough especially at night and thus become a danger to yourself and other road users). Secondly, law enforcement officers need to be able to see the occupants of a vehicle at any point in time (this might be for purposes of a routine search or just so that occupants are visible in the event of harm being done to anyone inside the vehicle).

In absence of a clear scope from the Nigeria Police on the acceptable levels of tint, what we have in play in Nigeria is individuals opting for varying levels of tints based on their own desires, needs and their location. The existing laws have been widely ignored and this has led to the proliferation of some of the harshest degrees of tints in vehicles in Nigeria and profiteering by unscrupulous groups and individuals in the market for vehicle tints. Road users have been known to be subject of inducements from law enforcement officers especially on the highways between states in the federation.

There is an urgent need to balance out the need for privacy/comfort for vehicle owners and the overall security of the society. The Nigeria Police has on several occasions raised the alarm about the use of dark tinted vehicles by kidnappers and armed robbers. This led to the issuance of the Tint Permit which required a physical inspection of the vehicle and capturing of the biometrics of the owner.

The non-enforcement of the original policy and its dilution with all manner of exemptions have totally eroded the initial gains of the policy. On the Portal for the tint permit hosted on the website of the Nigerian Police, there is a clear notice to vehicle owners informing them that the permit is only issued for factory tinted vehicles and there is a need to enforce this provision if we are going to eliminate the dangerous levels of tints we presently have on our roads.

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While it is understandable that some individuals want to guard their privacy, public safety comes first.

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