About six years ago, the African continent could not boast of a single unicorn, but today, the continent now has Seven (7) Unicorns worth over $1 billion. It might interest you to know that out of the 7 unicorns, 5 of them are from Nigeria, namely; Flutterwave, Interswitch, Opay, Jumia, and Andela, with a majority of them in the Fintech sector.
The first wave of African tech unicorns are currently leaders in Fintech, reducing the friction in transactions across the continent. With the significant progress being recorded in the tech space in the region, Investors are now beginning to show confidence in African ideation by investing in the region.
Recently, Assets and Resource management holding company (ARMHoldCo) on Tuesday, July 19th, 2022 in Lagos, held a chat themed “Building the next set of Unicorns” in anticipation of the ARM labs Lagos Techstars accelerated program slated to begin in August 2022.
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The ARM labs Lagos Techstars accelerator program is a partnership between ARM and Techstars, an American seed accelerator focused on providing funding and support to Fintech and Proptech startups who are poised to use innovation in solving problems across Africa.
Recall that ARM Labs Lagos funding and support to startups (Fintech and Proptech) is coming after it solidified Lagos as Africa’s most attractive tech hub. Nancy Wolff who is the General Manager of Techstars disclosed that the city has built a successful startup ecosystem that merits global exposure, investment, and resources with extraordinary potential in the market.
The event which had the presence of startups and organizers of the accelerator program in attendance, Chief Executive Officer of ARM, Jumoke Ogundare noted that in order to be at the forefront for these startups, the basis for ARM’s collaboration with Techstars to birth the accelerator program.
She emphasized that this collaboration will contribute to the nation’s economic growth in the areas of employment, promoting social development, and reaching the unbanked people through fintech services.
She further disclosed that such collaboration will ensure that all startups that the firm supports in the accelerator program would have access to ARM’s market, network and build a platform where they can develop capacities.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that there is a dearth of female founders in tech startups, as experts say one reason for the less number of female founders in tech is due to the fact that they have a harder time getting initial funding.
Addressing this issue, CEO of ARM Jumoke Ogundare stated that through the ARM partnership with Techstar, they are building an ecosystem where other female founders can support upcoming women startups.
ARM partnership with Techstars is indeed strategic and will no doubt yield a positive result, as Techstars has a portfolio of about 3,000 companies that have passed through their various program worldwide, where they invested $21.3 billion.
Startups that passed through the Techstar program raised an average of $1 million. With this program, in a bid to build the next set of Unicorns in Africa, 12 of the startups in the accelerator program will get a collective sum of $120,000 in investment and equity.
They will also get access to over 7,000 mentors in the TechStars network and 20,000 global investors in the same network. With all these programs and investments in the African region, it is imperative to say that the region will definitely produce more unicorns in the future.