Nigerian startup Slourish’s mission is to develop and support African entrepreneurs, which it does through a variety of means, primarily its digital micro-investing platform.
Founded last year, Slourish helps connect entrepreneurs with the resources they need, be that assistance with tasks as small as incorporation and corporate branding, or more ongoing assistance such as mentorship and incubation.
People who want to support entrepreneurs in any number of ways sign up on the community-based platform, with Slourish handling the process of connecting them with entrepreneurs and rewarding them. Its major role at this point is helping startups with fundraising, with it does by allowing micro-investments to be made through the platform.
Seven businesses have so far been funded through Slourish, while another 22 generated some percentage of their funding goal. More than 430 businesses are currently awaiting approval to be listed for funding on the platform. Founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Latii Brayllot said he has been pleased with the market response.
“We got over 10,000 signups within the first month of our launch, without any promotion. We are yet to launch any marketing campaign, and yet people keep coming,” he said.
“This is major market validation. We are currently taking things into account and ready to drive our sales funnel, which we believe will catapult our growth.”
Though the concept of crowdfunding is still quite new in Nigeria, Brayllot said there is demand for services such as Slourish. He believes there are 500,000 promising entrepreneurs in need of funding in the country, and over two million Nigerians looking to grow their money.
“Since there are not enough VCs, angels and NPOs available to fund these businesses, why not make a way for the people to fund the entrepreneurs for a return?” he said.
Though Brayllot says Nigeria has a rising number of accelerator and grant programmes, the chances of acceptance into them were low. Slourish offers entrepreneurs are more direct, simplified route to assistance and funding.
“We have simplified everything on our platform in such a way that the crowd-investing comes like a single investment to the entrepreneur. Micro-investors on the platform send us their money and we invest it in the entrepreneur. This way, the entrepreneur won’t be dealing with hundreds of small investors,” he said.
“We handle everything for both the business and the investors on Slourish. We’ve also created several other perks for the users of our platform.”
The startup is self-funded, and has no plans to raise capital itself. Brayllot said it was focused on Nigeria, but anyone from anywhere in the world can become a member of the platform and make micro-investments. Slourish does hope to scale in future.
“Nigeria is not the only country with entrepreneurs that need funding. We started with Nigeria because, well, we are Nigerians. But we are certainly planning on making the service available to the whole African entrepreneurial community once we are fully settled in Nigeria. We will start scaling through West Africa until we are all over the continent,” Brayllot said.
The startup makes money from commissions from its crowd-investing services, and also owns small stakes in some of the businesses that get funded through its platform.
“Our brand houses a few other side projects for entrepreneurs, such as business development. While not all entrepreneurs want funds, some need help in other ways. Sometimes, we practically help them set up the business and this generates additional revenue for us,” Brayllot said.
“We also have a few loan packages for select entities which are funded through our Hashed Profit Share Programme. This generates more revenue through interests from which we are able to cover the cost of running our operations and more.”