Founder Institute (FI), one of the world’s largest pre-seed startup accelerators, has celebrated the graduation of 23 founders from its Lagos chapter and opened new applications for aspiring founders.
At the first online version of its Velocity event which holds at the end of every cohort was attended by some notable leaders in the Nigerian technology ecosystem including Ndubuisi Ekekwe, founder Fasmicro; Kola Aina, founding partner, Ventures Platform; Jane Egerton-Idehen, country manager and Regional Sales Director, Avanti; Tosin Faniro-Dada, head Startups, LSETF; and Simon Turner, lead Director, FI Accra.
In a statement, Founder Institute Lagos said the graduands were able to navigate the hurdles imposes by the COVID-19 pandemic to scale through the rigorous 14 week FI program which helps them build their ideas into successful businesses. The speakers shared how best founders can grow their startups, even at a time when some companies and markets are struggling due to COVID-19.
Ayowande Adalemo, Lead Director of Founder Institute Lagos said the target of the program is developing idea-stage founders and creates a support network of experienced startup and ecosystem leaders as mentors.
“You can come into the system with a loosely formed idea but after the 14 weeks, you will be graduating as a CEO with a company that can go global and a network that money cannot buy,” Adalemo said.
Ndubuisi Ekekwe who spoke on fundraising said that companies need to identify frictions in the market and leverage these to create value in the form of products and services.
“It is not about the sophistication of the solution, it is about easing the frictions in the market,” he said. “Money follows value and the market will congregate where value is perceived. When you create value, raising funds is no longer a one-way street because as you are looking for the funds, the funds would also be looking for you.”
Kola Aina noted that some products and services may be time-sensitive and while they should be pursued, founders should simultaneously be planning long-term to create real product-market fit with products that would outlive the opportunities that have been created by COVID-19.
One of the highlights of the event was the pitching session which saw some founders share ideas about their companies. Some of the founders that pitched include Steve Dakayi-Kamga of Betastore; Amede Achingale of Fortvest 360 Solutions; Ugochi Adewusi of 9jakids; Tope Alake of cast.i.ng; and Ayo Dawodu of Loystar.