The Asset and Resource Management Holding Company Limited (ARM), a leading Nigerian diversified and integrated asset management firm has commenced the second edition of its Accelerator programme, LABS by ARM.
The programme in partnership with Ventures Platform, a Pan- African early-stage fund, kicked off on February 10, 2020. For 12 weeks, business support and funding will be provided to compelling Fintech startups solving key problems in innovative ways around the financial industry, unlocking verticals and markets thereby changing how users access and consume financial services.
“This is part of our innovation program. It allows us the opportunity to actually begin to scan the market much faster for fresh new ideas and companies that are developing meaningful technology solutions that we can tap into.” Henrietta Bankole-Olusina, MD, Financial Advisors, said.
Bankole-Olusina further said, “It also allows us to support the Fintech ecosystem to drive growth and build as much as we can within that system. We believe that companies that are building great technology to solve real-life problems will change the way we consume financial services.”
Applications for the program ran from December 1-31, 2019. 191 pitches were submitted which were reduced to 33 and further down to 11 companies after tedious rounds of evaluation.
After a third evaluation where the 11 companies were invited to a chat with seasoned professionals, and technology entrepreneurs, 5 companies eventually made it into the programme.
“We looked for companies that are solving critical problems with huge market potential. We also graded for the quality of founder and the team, their ability to create a viable product, sell it, and provide the technology and ability to distribute it,” Kayode Oyewole, the Program Manager said.
The five companies that make up the LABS by ARM 2.0 cohort are: Truesaver, a company that provides access to zero-interest loans by leveraging rotational savings. Owoafara provides tools and platforms to curate, verify and match small and medium-sized businesses with financial institutions for loans while Rise Capital helps Nigerians grow wealth by connecting customers with the best investment opportunities around the world, cheaply and seamlessly.
Kwaba is a property rental financing platform that is solving bulk rental payment problems for low to middle income earning Nigerians and lastly is Quantis Finance, a company that leverages technology to automate trading and investments in order to make financial markets and instruments more accessible to local investors.
For the programme, ARM will provide the LABS by ARM 2.0 cohort with $20,000 investment, offer them office space, Amazon Web Services (AWS) credit of up to $10,000, and access to the ARM network capabilities. Furthermore, the cohort will be supported with carefully selected mentors comprising seasoned business leaders from the Fintech industry who will provide them with hands-on guidance.