Twelve African tech startups have been selected for the inaugural ARM Labs Lagos Techstars accelerator, which provides access to up to US$120,000 in equity funding and other types of support.
Launched by Techstars, a global investment business that provides access to capital, one-on-one mentorship, and customised programming for early-stage entrepreneurs, in partnership with ARM Labs, a Lagos-based innovation programme focused on helping fintech startups, the inaugural edition of the ARM Labs Lagos Techstars accelerator will run for three months.
Aimed at early-stage African fintech and prop-tech startups, the first cohort is made up of 10 Nigerian and two Kenyan ventures, half of which have female CEOs. Selected founders went through several interviews with members of the Techstars global team, plus a final interview with Techstars managing director Oyin Solebo and a 15-member screening committee.
Each selected startup banks up to US$120,000 in equity funding, as well as access to training and a vast investor network. The programme concludes with a demo day on March 16.
The selected Nigerian ventures include peppa.io, which makes it safer to buy on social platforms through the use of payment protection; CDcare, which is making it easy for Africans to own gadgets, appliances, cars and more at zero interest, through smart installment plans; Flick, which enables users to connect multiple bank accounts and pay directly from one source; Keble, which enables Africans at home and abroad to purchase fractional shares of global real estate; and Keza, which enables people to buy new and pre-owned smartphones on a flexible payment plan.
Also selected from Nigeria are Salad, which provides employees with access to financial services and benefits beyond their monthly paycheck; Sidebrief, which simplifies the process of starting and scaling a business across borders; Towntalk, which provides shippers with real-time location and behavioural analytics, vehicle tracking, and access to insurance providers; Vittas, a digital lender for healthcare providers; and Oystr Finance, which provides lenders with an infrastructure to help them launch low-risk micro-loan products.
The two Kenyan startups taking part in the programme are alphabloQ, a real estate investment platform, and Cladfy, which provides microfinance lenders with credit profiling, digitised loan management, and access to affordable, reliable financing.
“Since the announcement that Techstars was coming to Lagos, there has been great anticipation about the selection of the inaugural cohort. After a competitive application process, we have chosen entrepreneurs who have the capacity to be exceptional founders, startups that have the potential to be industry leaders, and a cohort that is collectively capable of bringing innovation and change to Africa and the world,” said Solebo.