Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating impact globally, LoftyInc Allied Partners Limited (LAPL) has invested over a million dollars in opportunities in just the first three quarters of the year alone.
As a force to reckon with in Nigeria’s innovation and social impact ecosystem, LoftyInc has continued to champion the cause for improving the lot of innovative and technology-enabled start-ups not only in West Africa, but also increasingly across North Africa and the Middle East.
LOFTYINKERS had a chat with one of the Partners of LAPL, Idris Ayodeji Bello to shed light on the various investments the company and its subsidiaries have made in the year 2020 and he had the following to say;
As a group, we make investments through about four vehicles. Firstly,we have the LoftyInc Afropreneurs Fund (our VC arm) which is managed by LoftyInc Capital Management and only does investments in West African focused, early stage, post revenue opportunities that are technology-enabled.
We also have an angel group called the Afropreneur Angels Group which syndicates pre-seed investments, and was responsible for our early investments in start-ups such as Andela, Flutterwave, Eden Life, and several others. The angel group continues to be very active and its focus has been mostly pre-seed investments, and sometimes even pre-product investments in Africa and across the world too.
The third vehicle through which we invest is LoftyInc Allied Partners Limited itself, and these are usually in opportunities that align directly with the company’s core mission of high impact job creation through local innovation development, such as our investments in Pronov LLC, Bata Nigeria etc. The final investment vehicle is through the Wennovation Hub, our incubator/accelerator which makes very early bets and provides operational support to entrepreneurs at the ideation stages, thus creating a pipeline for our other investment vehicles.
2020 started on a high note for us as the Loftyinc Afropreneur Fund co-led a major seed round into YouVerify, the leading digital identity and KYC player in the Nigerian market, along with Orange Digital Ventures. As Covid-19 arrived in March, and many other seed stage investors stopped investing, not only did we do follow-ons in some of our portfolio companies to help them through the winter, we also sought new digital opportunities with the knowledge that times of crises are times of opportunity.
Hence, despite having to work remotely, and with due diligence hindered by the lockdowns in many countries, through the Afropreneur Angels, we were able to syndicate several investments including those building the much needed digital infrastructure in the fintech sector, such as Mono, Open Pipe, Kyshi, Thndr ,and also as countries struggled to support their students despite Covid, we backed Abwaab which is building an amazing global edtech company, with initial focus on making high quality education accessible and affordable across the North Africa and Middle East region.
Within the same period, LoftyInc along with leading venture capital company, Pronomos Capital, also seeded Talent City, an ambitious plan by one of our existing and prolific entrepreneurs, Iyin Aboyeji (Andela, Flutterwave, Future Africa) to reimagine cities of the future (Charter Cities) that can provide digital jobs while improving the quality of living for young people.
The Talent Cities Inc. mission is to build a network of charter cities focused on creating technology enabled jobs within a free trade zone with its own regul ation and bylaws.
In the same vein, Wennovation Hub was also able to add several new companies to its portfolio. including Pass, which is simplifying the way every single internet connection consumer logs in, fills entry forms, registers and pays across the web with no passwords, and Connectivest which is making it easier for African businesses to connect to global investors.
The year is not yet over, and despite the many setbacks the world has faced in 2020, we remain optimistic about the future and look forward to working with our fund partners and investors, to support the young people who are building the future, one company at a time, even during a pandemic!