The Lagos chapter of the world's largest pre-seed startup accelerator, Founder Institute, recently celebrated the 23 founders who successfully completed Cohort II, in an online version of their Velocity event themed “Winning in Uncertain Times.”
Despite the world practically coming to a halt due to the coronavirus, the mentors and founders at Founder Institute Lagos were able to successfully navigate the hurdles together and out of the 46 that started the journey, 23 founders were able to meet the requirements for graduation.
Velocity is a celebratory event of the Founder Institute Lagos held at the end of every Cohort to honour founders that successfully scaled through the rigorous 14 week FI program which helps them build their ideas into successful businesses. For the first time, due to current realities, the program was held online and temporarily renamed Velocity_mini, and had experienced speakers from across the world who shared deeply on how best founders can grow their startups, even at a time when some companies and markets are struggling due to COVID-19.
Speakers at Velocity_mini included Prof. Ndubuisi Ekekwe - Founder, Fasmicro; Kola Aina - Founding Partner, Ventures Platform; Jane Egerton-Idehen - Country Manager/Regional Sales Director, Avanti; Tosin Faniro-Dada, Head Start-ups, LSETF; and Simon Turner, Lead Director, FI Accra.
The event was flagged by the Lead Director of Founder Institute Lagos, Ayowande Adalemo, who shared what the Founder Institute pre-seed program is and how it varies from most other global programs based on its target of developing idea-stage founders as well as its system of creating a support network of experienced startup and ecosystem leaders as mentors. He further explained that founders that plug into the FI system benefit extensively from a suite of resources as well as a highly engaged global network, saying,
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.
Keynote speaker, Ndubuisi Ekekwe of Fasmicro, advised founders on how to go about strategically raising funds. Ekekwe said,
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. 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 of Ventures Platform, who was a guest speaker, spoke on why now is the time for founders to start building their businesses but pointed out that there is a difference between 'Product-market fit' and 'COVID-market fit,' stressing,
Some solutions are time-sensitive and while they should be pursued, founders should be simultaneously planning long-term to create real product-market fit with products that would outlive the opportunities that have been created by COVID-19. This is actually the best time to create and scale your company.
The highlight of the event was the pitching session that saw a few of the founders from the graduating cohort; Steve Dakayi-Kamga of Betastore, Amede Achingale of Fortvest 360 Solutions, Ugochi Nwokeji of DBTclean, Titilope Adewusi of 9jakids, Tope Alake of cast.i.ng and Ayo Dawodu of Loystar, all pitch to an audience of mentors, directors and potential funders.
Stanbic IBTC Founder Institute Lagos is now accepting applications for Cohort III via https://fi.co/join