Techstars picks 12 startups at its second pan-African Demo Day in Lagos




Techstars, the most active startup investor in Africa, held its second pan-African Demo Day in partnership with Lagos-based innovation program, ARM Labs. The ARM Labs Lagos Techstars Accelerator Demo Day was held on 20th February at Balmoral Convention Center, Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos.

The event featured presentations from Techstars’ stellar second cohort from across the continent, marking the end of an immersive three-month accelerator program. The startups presented to Techstars’ vast network of investors, mentors, senior operators, and ecosystem leaders, unveiling achievements and future plans whilst vying for strategic partnerships and commercial collaboration.

In addition to the startups’ presentations, the event featured a lively panel discussion with key figures in the African tech and Venture Capital ecosystems, exploring the state of VC funding and innovation in Africa. Panellists included Olumide Soyombo, Partner at Voltron Capital; Biola Alabi, Partner at Acasia Ventures; and Ovo Emorhokpor, Founding Partner at Beta.Ventures. The event also drew the attention of more than 480 industry leaders and investors, including Idris Bello, Founding Partner at LoftyInc Capital; Tosin Faniro-Dada, Partner at Breega; Eloho Omame, Partner at TLCom Capital, Victor Sada, Head of Ventures & M&A at Interswitch; Bode Abifarin, Ex-Chief Operating Officer at Flutterwave; and Olusegun Adeniyi, Chief Digital Officer at Wema Bank, who were in attendance. An additional 2,500 viewers joined online via Youtube and Linkedin.

The ARM Labs Lagos Techstars Accelerator second cohort, chosen from over a thousand applicants across Africa included 24Seven, Beauty Hut, Eight Medical, GetEquity, JumpnPass, One Plan, PBR Life Sciences, PressOne Africa, Rana, Surge Africa, Swoove and Veend.

Over the past 13 weeks, along with the $120,000 each in investment, the startups received comprehensive training and mentorship from leading industry experts in the form of workshops on Go-to-markets Strategies, Financial Modelling, Customer Acquisition, Investment Readiness, People and Leadership, Legal and Governance, and Product Management. Additionally the select startups gained access to more than 300 perks, valued at over $4 million in savings, and will benefit from lifetime access to the Techstars worldwide network.

In her Demo Day welcome address, Oyin Solebo, Managing Director of ARM Labs Lagos Techstars Accelerator, stated: “At Techstars, we are committed to empowering entrepreneurs through our accelerators, venture funds, and network of investors, corporates, and mentors across various cities. We firmly believe that entrepreneurs are the driving force behind a better future for all, and our mandate is to ensure they succeed. As the world’s most active pre-seed investor, we are also proud to have become the most active startup investor in Africa. Teaming up with ARM, we’ve developed a program aimed at showcasing the remarkable innovation and talent on the continent. We’re excited about the 12 companies we’ve backed, each leveraging technology, data, and intelligence to serve a population growing in size, youth, income and digital access”.

The engaging event schedule also featured a keynote address by Adetayo Bamiduro, co-founder of Max.ng, the first African startup selected for a Techstars program. Adetayo emphasised the profound impact Techstars has had on his startup since selection in 2015, and also shared meaningful insights on the startup’s learnings, milestones and the growth opportunity that Africa offers. U.S. Consulate Deputy Political and Economic Chief, Kenise Hill also gave an address, highlighting the U.S.’s commitment to trade with Africa, and their areas of focus – technology, healthcare, renewable energy and food security.

In the closing address by Sadiq Mohammed, Deputy Group CEO of ARM Holding Company, disclosed: “We are delighted to have partnered in this innovative program where our aim was to expand our horizons and improve our processes, introduce a new asset class to clients, and contribute to the ecosystem growth. We’re thrilled with how these objectives are being met based on the program’s success and the inherent impact of the selected startups. Despite the market and challenging macroeconomic climate, we maintain a positive outlook knowing fully well that the best market-creating innovations thrive best when value-chains and markets are restructured. We believe this cohort is well-positioned for success.”

Oluwadunni Fanibe, Program Manager at ARM Labs Lagos Techstars Accelerator also commented on the progress attained by the founders over the past weeks. She stated: “Throughout the program, the cohort demonstrated genuine enthusiasm, passion and dedication, qualities highly valued by investors. They’ve mastered articulating and executing their business models, also honing their pitching skills along the way. The program has boosted their capabilities, propelling them into the next stage of their entrepreneurial journey and we wish them continued success.”

As founders showcased the product-market fit of their startups, track record and growth opportunity, it highlighted the ingenuity and opportunities abound in the African market. The event now sets the stage for follow-on investment and innovation in the months ahead for the cohort. With plans underway for a third cohort intake later on this year, applications will open mid-May. However, startups can register early interest here.

The Techstars worldwide network helps entrepreneurs succeed. Founded in 2006, Techstars began with three simple ideas—entrepreneurs create a better future for everyone, collaboration drives innovation, and great ideas can come from anywhere. Now we are on a mission to enable every person on the planet to contribute to, and benefit from, the success of entrepreneurs. In addition to operating accelerator programs and venture capital funds, we do this by connecting startups, investors, corporations, and cities to help build thriving startup communities. Techstars has invested in more than 3,700 companies with a combined market cap of more than $105 billion.

Established in 1994 as an asset management firm, ARM offers wealth creation opportunities through a unique blend of traditional asset management and alternative investment services. ARM enables businesses to thrive, and helps its clients to maximise their returns and realise their most important goals. For almost three decades, ARM has  built a firm uniquely equipped to achieve these objectives and its reputation for quality research, investment expertise and value-added services has endeared it to clients both locally and internationally.

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