The demo day, which held at Itanna’s Enterprise Factory, Iganmu, Lagos, marked the end of its four-month innovation programme for tech-enabled, for-profit African startups.
The demo day saw the first cohort, with an average age of 27, pitch their start-up ideas to Honeywell Group’s network of high net-worth investors, in a bid to secure investment, corporate backing, and strategic partnerships, for their companies.
The four companies at the demo day were selected from a pool of 208 applicants from six countries across Africa.
The companies include; Accounteer, which currently provides online accounting services to over 10,000 SMEs across 72 countries, in and out of Africa, with a target revenue of $75,000 in 18 months; KoloPay, a cashless target savings mobile, and web application, which solves numerous savings, procurement and lending problems facing individuals and organisations.
The other two companies are; Tradebuza, an online platform for managing outgrower schemes, and agro commodities sourcing, serving 16,000 farmers across 19 states in Nigeria; and PowerCube, providers of over 16 hours of smart, affordable power supply per day, using renewable energy, for as low as N7,000 per month.
Speaking at the demo, Obafemi Otudeko, executive director at Honeywell Group, said Itanna is the future of Honeywell Group, stating that it is the group’s 100-year survival strategy.
“Thinking through FOC, it was very clear to us that we had no place to maintain our growth, without leveraging technology, and then we said let us set up Itanna,” Otudeko said.
“Itanna has three key principles, the first one is disruption; thinking about it, it was clear to us that technology will disrupt. We decided to look for companies that are creating solutions that could enable our businesses or add solutions that could disrupt.
“The second principle is collaboration. We identify these companies, provide capital for them, and give them access to our network of internal and external stakeholders.
“The last one is really about our mission statement; using enterprise to make our world better. We are very clear that enterprise can be a tremendous factor to drive positive change and we would like to be at the forefront of that.
“It is our survival strategy, it is our growth strategy and it is also our CSR strategy. 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”.
Panelists 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.
Along with up to USD $25,000 each in investment from Honeywell Group, startups received training and mentorship in form of UI/UX Sessions, legal and HR workshops, classes on technology, business and marketing, reviews of revenue/pricing model and operational metrics.
With plans underway for a second cohort intake in 2019, Itanna will also invest in more developed tech startups looking for growth capital with its direct investment arm.
Tomi Otudeko, head of sustainability at Honeywell Group and director of Itanna says, “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.”
Tony Idugboe, vice President, head of investments at Itanna, says the current cohort have shown true enthusiasm and entrepreneurism, which investors search for.
“In preparing to secure investment, they have learned to plan, be patient and show flexibility and of course, showcase phenomenal pitching skills, demo Day has given them the confidence to embark on the next stage of their entrepreneurial journey. We wish them all the very best”.