Itanna, the Lagos-based startup accelerator run by Nigeria's Honeywell Group, held its inaugural Demo Day during November 2018 to showcase some of the promising Nigerian startups. Along with up to $25,000 each in investment from Honeywell Group, participating startups also received training and mentorship.
The Nigerian startups being showcased were part of Itanna's four-month innovation programme for tech-enabled, for-profit Afrikan startups.
"Our vision for Itanna was to see an accelerator that merged the best of corporate and entrepreneurial spirit in order to fulfil our mission of using enterprise to make our world better. Itanna has exceeded our expectations as we look to cement our position as a facilitator and impactor of growth in key sectors, including tech within Nigeria and across Africa," said Obafemi Otudeko, Executive Director at Honeywell Group.
Accelerating Nigerian businesses
Held at Itanna’s Enterprise Factory, Demo Day saw the pilot cohort of startups pitch to Honeywell Group’s extensive network of investors, as they, the startups, vied to secure investment, corporate backing and strategic partnerships, for their companies.
The Nigerian startups which pitched during Itanna's inaugural Demo Day were:
- Accounteer - providers of online accounting services for SMEs across Africa
2. KoloPay - a cashless target savings mobile and web application
3. Tradebuza - an online platform for managing and brokering commodities sourcing and outgrower scheme
4. PowerCube - providers of affordable power supply using renewable energy.
Panellists included Deji Oguntonade, Head Fintech & Innovation, Guaranty Trust Bank, Lola Ekugo, Head Digital Innovation Lab, First Bank, Obi Emetatom, Managing Director, Appzone and Seun Faluyi, Managing Director, Uraga Power Solutions.
A good year for Nigerian startups
2018 can arguably be viewed as a breakthrough year when it comes to funding of Nigerian startups. Among some notable highlights in 2018 was Nigerian FinTech startup Mines raising $13 million to expand globally, telecommunications startup Tizeti raising $3 million to spread their services across the West Afrikan country , and Paystack raising a Series A funding round from international investors including Stripe.
Itanna’s Demo Day also hosted a panel of leading players in the Nigerian tech and business ecosystems, who discussed the role of corporate Nigeria in achieving win-win collaborations with tech startups.
"Itanna is uniquely placed, as our goal continues to be bridging the gap between our tech startup ecosystem and corporate Nigeria. Over the last four months, the entire team at Itanna, along with our strategic partners and the Honeywell Group, have committed to creating a professional environment where businesses can learn from experts in their field and build innovative and dynamic businesses of the future," said Tomi Otudeko, Head of Sustainability at Honeywell Group and Director of Itanna.
Plans are already underway for a second cohort of startups in 2019 with Itanna indicating that it will also invest in more developed tech startups looking for growth capital with its direct investment arm, which will support investee companies in scaling, by leveraging Honeywell Group’s extensive network and industry expertise.
Cover image credit: Nigerian startup, Powercube, showcasing what they do at Itanna's Demo Day. Honeywell Group