Global investment company providing access to capital, one-on-one mentorship, and customized programming for early-stage entrepreneurs, Techstars, in partnership with ARM Labs, a Lagos-based innovation program focused on helping fintech startups, announces the launch of the ARM Labs Lagos Techstars Accelerator Program.
Techstars and ARM Labs have designed this new accelerator program to focus on investing in early-stage fintech and proptech companies based in Africa.
“Lagos has built a successful startup ecosystem that merits more global exposure, investments and resources, and we see extraordinary potential in the market,” said Nancy Wolff, general manager at Techstars. Speaking further, she said the investment company has been investing in Nigerian and African startups for years, and through its partnership with ARM Labs the team look forward to bringing the value and reach of the Techstars’ global network to the increasingly prominent Nigerian startup ecosystem.
The choice of Lagos, Nigeria, for the location of this accelerator program is the result of the growing global relevance of Nigeria’s startup ecosystem. Global venture capital investment data shows Lagos is one of the fastest growing ecosystems worldwide and the number one African startup city as of 2021.
“Over the years, ARM has been on a mission to support African fintech startups that are solving key problems in innovative ways,” said Jumoke Ogundare, CEO of ARM. “Our partnership with Techstars is the logical next step in propelling the African continent to become the future global capital of fintech and transform how Africans access financial services.”
The Lagos Accelerator program will receive applications this June through August. Up to 12 startups will be selected on an annual basis to participate in the program and benefit from up to $120k in funding, curated startup programming, and access to Techstars’ vast network of 7,000+ mentors, 20,000+ investors, alumni, and corporate partners. The program’s inaugural class will commence in December 2022 and culminate in a Demo Day in March 2023.
Techstars has been active in the African tech space since 2011, hosting more than 400 Techstars Startup Weekends across 40 countries, and operating the Barclays Accelerator Powered by Techstars Cape Town in 2016 and 2017. Similarly, through its other programs, it has invested in 14 Nigeria-based startups like Healthtracka, FarmCrowdy, and Rent Small Small. A notable Nigerian Techstars alumnus is Onyeka Akumah, two-time Techstars founder and current Co-Founder and CEO of Treepz (formerly Plentywaka).
In 2017 Akumah participated in the Accelerator program which took place in Atlanta while building his first startup FarmCrowdy. Two years later, his new venture Treepz, Nigeria’s first bus-hailing app, was selected for Techstars Toronto. Following Akumah’s participation in Techstars Toronto, Treepz expanded to operate in Ghana and Uganda, grew from 900 to 7,500+ bookings per day, and nearly tripled in employee size. To date the company has completed over 1 million bookings and raised $3 million in funding.
This new program furthers the investment company’s mission to support entrepreneurs everywhere and give startups the advantages they need to succeed, regardless of their location or background.