Funding Fintech Start-Ups in Nigeria

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019  / 06.40PM  / Bukola Akinyele for Proshare WebTV


At the recent Fintech Nigeria Social Meet 4.0 event hosted by the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE), panelists  discussed the prospects of “Funding Fintech Startups in Nigeria” . 

Dayo Ademola, Head of Innovation, EFINA,  who was the first discussant gave insight into funding financial innovation and what EFINA is strategically positioned to do to influence an improvement in funding access. 

The first issue she raised was that of grant funding,  were she encouraged all fintechs in the country especially those in their early stages to carry out robust research. 

She stressed the fact that there are grant funds available in the country, either from international donors or Nigerian organizations which are opportunities for Fintech Start-Ups to tap into and expand their businesses. 

On his part the Head of Strategy, SystemSpecs Nigeria, Mr Seun Adesanya said there is a need to look at the existing sources of funding and to talk about their limitations in order to close the gap before looking at alternatives. 

He was of the view that the issues are both from the demand and the supply side of the business.  “From the supply side there is free money, there are also investors who are ready to put in money into any organization but on the demand side are the businesses that are sustainable for investors to consider  for great return  on investments” Adesanya said. 

The Systems Specs strategist stressed the need for  fintechs to explore existing sources of funding,  before thinking of possible alternatives. 

Mr Olumide Bolumole the  Head of Listing Business, NSE, in his remarks said that there  is a lot of education, that needs to happen both on the demand and the supply side, which relates  to the peculiarities of the investor pool at the moment. 

Speaking further, he opined that there is no institutional base and a lot of the local money that goes behind some of these FinTech opportunities are from major companies that are using the channels as opportunities to divest their investments. 

Bolumole noted that there are just a few  businesses with a 30 year record,  sitting on about $203m worth of investable cash that are willing to break off half a million dollars to invest in the Fintech space. 

Looking at the changes and developments in Africa and Nigeria, Bolumole observed the trend towards formalized family offices, that have managers with the understanding and expertise to manage the enterprise space. He noted that there were not enough success stories in the area of investment and growth in the Fintech market. 

The Ag CEO, of  Veritaseum a New York based Venture Capital firm Mr Reggie Middleton in his opinion argued that there is perfect technology and business models for Africa particularly in the area of commodities and private equity investments.

Table 1 Investment in Fitech in Africa 2015-2019

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Middleton informed market stakeholders that as a Private Equity firm Veritaseum has carried out independent studies and research on Africa, which has revealed interesting developments. 

Looking at the African continent, Middleton said that the major economic value of the African continent is in commodities. 

According to him the business model of Veritaseum, is to achieve the following in Africa;

  • Unite the 54 countries in the continent economically. Since there still trading against each other or with other nations, thereby creating  a pan-African economic union.
  • Enlightment and Education: This is a conscious effort to address the graphic discrimination against Africa and Nigeria in the area of investments. “They don’t want to do business in Nigeria, it is too far away but they have no problem doing business in Dubai which is much farther than Nigeria or China which is also farther”- Middleton said.


He also emphasized the need for quality research on the growth potentials and opportunities for monetizing natural Resources, equity and commodities on the African Continent, for which his company and other potential international investors will give top value.


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