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Startups Pitch for Investments, Partnerships at ARM’s Initiative

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Start-up - Investors King

Startups at this year’s Lab by Asset & Resource Management Holding Company Limited (ARM) have pitched to secure investment and partnerships.

Labs by ARM is a 12-week Accelerator programme by ARM in partnership with Ventures Platform designed to fund and support compelling fintech startups solving critical problems in the financial services industry.

The program aims to find and support startups unlocking industry verticals and new markets, thereby changing how users access and consume financial services.

The Demo Day event for this third edition held recently with investors, corporates, tech leaders, and senior executives of the ARM Group in attendance, and had commenced in March 2021, with the objective of helping 5 early and growth-stage startups commercialise and distribute their innovations.

The teams participated in deep-dive sessions and were supported to create unique strategies for solving peculiar challenges. In addition, programme mentors and advisors, who are thought leaders in their various fields, provided support in business growth, product-market fit, distribution and software engineering. These sessions helped the startups navigate specific challenges and, more importantly, become better positioned for growth.

Within the four months, the startups recorded impressive growth.
For instance, a startup providing affordable home financing options for Africans doubled its users and raised over $300k in funding; one of the startups solving for more convenient cross-border payments has processed $20,000 in transactions within a month of operation.

Also, another startup whose solution is making it easier for online shoppers to log in and checkout on digital platforms, recorded 600 merchants and 1200 customers since its launch in the program.

According to a statement, the five startups that pitched at the Demo Day event were Bongalow, Founded by Kelechi Nwokocha, Abdulrahman Atta and Samuel Haruna, Bongalow; Breeze, a payment system that was founded by Chimenem Nnwoka; HouseAfrica, founded by Ndifreke Ikokpu and Nnamdi Uba; Pass which was founded by Eze Samuel, and Plumter that provides instant, multi-currency accounts for easy local and diaspora banking.

Speaking on the program, Director of Programs at Ventures Platform Foundation, Mohamed Felata, said: “The Labs by ARM programme is the leading fintech accelerator in Nigeria. It works because of the special collaboration between ARM and ARM Ventures Platform.

“ARM not just funds the programme but gives the startups access to the market. In this cohort, we have seen startups introduce and develop leading solutions that range from cross-border payments to mortgage financing.”

Also, Jumoke Ogundare CEO, ARM, congratulated all participants for their advancement in the programme, and wished them the best of luck. She specially thanked Ventures Platform for a successful partnership, and Mr. Tomi Davies of Techno Vision for his continued mentorship of the fintech companies even after the investment stage.

The CEO also expressed her gratitude to the Advisory Board of ARM Digital Financial Services for charting the right path for ARM’s digital growth.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Company News

BUA Cement Announces 24.6 Percent Increase in Profit to N43.4 Billion in H1 2021

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BUA Cement stock - Investors King

BUA Cement Plc, Nigeria’s second-largest cement manufacturing company, on Thursday reported a 22.7 percent increase in revenue in the six months ended June 30, 2021.

Revenue rose from N101.261 billion recorded in the first half (H1) of 2020 to N124.278 billion in the first half of 2021.

The company disclosed in its unaudited financial statements release through the Nigerian Exchange Limited and seen by Investors King.

As expected, the cost of sales inched higher by 19.1 percent from N55.539 billion in H1 2020 to N66.158 billion in H1 2021. While gross profit expanded by 27.1 percent to N58.120 billion in H1, up from N45.723 billion.

The cement manufacturing company grew other income by 52.3 percent from N47.653 billion filed in H1 2020 to N72.6 billion in H1 2021.

Administrative expenses rose to N4.17 billion in the period under review, representing an increase of 57.9 percent when compared to N2.643 billion recorded in H1 2020.

Operating profit increased by 23.8 percent from N40.809 billion in the corresponding period of 2020 to N50.524 billion in the period under review.

Profit before income taxes rose by 26.9 percent to N49.700 billion in H1 2021 from N39.165 billion in H1 2020.

The company paid N6.3 billion in income tax in the first half of 2021.

Therefore, profit after tax stood at N43.396 billion in the first six months of 2021, an increase of 24.6 percent when compared to N34.819 billion achieved in the same period of 2020.

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Appointments

Seplat Energy Appoints Dr. Emma FitzGerald as an Independent Non-Executive Director

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Seplat Energy Plc - Investors King

Seplat Energy Plc has appointed Dr. Emma FitzGerald as an Independent Non-Executive Director of the Company, the company disclosed on Thursday.

Dr. FitzGerald will replace Lord Mark Malloch-Brown who retired from the Board of the Company on 1st August 2021.

Dr. Emma FitzGerald Profile

Dr. FitzGerald is a seasoned executive in Energy & Water, with hands-on experience in transformation through her many years of working at Shell, ranging from building its lubricants business in China to running its Global Retail network.

From 2007-2010, she was accountable for Shell’s Downstream strategy and played a key role in reshaping Shell’s renewables strategy including the creation of Raizen, a game changing biofuels JV with Cosan. From 2013 to 2018 she ran gas distribution and water & waste networks for National Grid and Severn Trent where she successfully
positioned them as sustainability thought leaders in their Industries.

Most recently Dr. FitzGerald served as CEO of Puma Energy International, a global energy company owned by Trafigura and Sonangol, which is focused on high potential developing markets in Africa, Asia and Central America. In 2020 she set up Puma’s Future Energies division to play a critical role in helping customers and communities find the right energy solutions to support the energy transition. Over the last 10 years she has served on various Boards in executive and non-executive capacities and currently sits on the board of UPM Kymmene, an international paper & biomaterials business focused on innovating for a future beyond fossil fuels.

Commenting on the appointment, Dr. A. B. C. Orjiako, Chairman of SEPLAT Energy said: “The Board of SEPLAT Energy is indeed delighted to have Dr. Emma Fitzgerald on board as she brings vast knowledge in important areas such as the energy sector, renewables and sustainability. SEPLAT Energy has a great future ahead and looks forward to the enormous contribution she will make towards its continuing global success.”

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Company News

Robinhood IPO Priced at Lower End of Range, Firm Valued at $32B

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Robinhood-Investors King

Stock and crypto-trading app Robinhood has secured a $32 billion valuation via its initial public offering (IPO) and is set to debut on the Nasdaq exchange on Thursday.

According to a press release on Wednesday, Robinhood has priced its offering at $38 per Class A common stock share.

The pricing is at the lower end of the $38-$42 per share price range the company had targeted and had planned on selling 5.5 million shares targeting a $1.89 billion raise.

Net proceeds from the sale will go toward working capital, capital expenditures, funding tax obligations, hiring efforts, customer support services, among others.

Shares will be listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market on Thursday, according to the release.

Earlier this month, Robinhood began unconventionally offering a portion of its IPO to users via its app — a view some consider to be a risky gamble.

Known for its zero-fee trading structure, the company has continued to endure hits to its image as well as legal and political ramifications stemming from the fallout of the GameStop saga and limitations to users trading crypto.

The company is trying to reshape that image and is reportedly working on a new feature that will help protect users from crypto price volatility while hiring a former Google alumn to improve its overall product design.

“Robinhood intends to use the net proceeds for working capital, capital expenditures, funding its anticipated tax obligations related to the settlement of RSUs, and general corporate purposes including increasing its hiring efforts to expand its employee base, expanding its customer support operations and satisfying its general capital needs,” the firm said in the announcement.

Robinhood filed the public offering prospectus on July 1, noting at the time that 17 percent of its total revenue in Q1 came from crypto trading transaction fees, which represented a big jump from the 4 percent in Q4 2020.

“While we currently support a portfolio of seven cryptocurrencies for trading, for the three months ended March 31, 2021, 34 percent of our cryptocurrency transaction-based revenue was attributable to transactions in Dogecoin, as compared to 4 percent for the three months ended December 31, 2020,” the firm said in the initial filing.

Still, the company’s CEO Vlad Tenev is staring down allegations from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority over his failure to register Robinhood Financial relating to compliance issues.

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