A few years ago, at the dawn of the fintech service boom in Africa, Oliver Blantern had the opportunity to work on the continent, providing consultancy services to high-growth startups. For just over three years, his company, Riverhouse Technology, helped emerging technology companies source and acquire talent.
The trained lawyer did all this while leading the Africa Payments Club, a platform that brought together a pool of founders, experts and investors in the tech space to connect and address common business challenges and explore opportunities in Africa.
Born out of his experiences at Riverhouse, the platform was a bright spot for Blantern, who launched Impact Rooms in March this year to provide solutions to some of the hurdles founders, investors and executives regularly face.
Impact Rooms provides complete solutions for startup problems, from making sure they are investor ready and matched with the right investors, to raising capital. Being ready for investors means that the startups have strong financial models, attract the right kind of human capital and comply with regulations.
Blantern said the Impact Rooms also uses data to help investors make decisions about which countries, industries or startups to invest in, giving startups in all markets in Africa equal opportunities.
“We want to encourage as much as possible a high percentage of capital to regions outside the four main markets (South Africa, Kenya, Egypt and Nigeria). We want to encourage capital in African women-led companies and support a large number of existing local and global investors to invest more capital in this market,” Impact Room CEO and founder Blantern told Gadgets Price.
On Impact Rooms, startups also get access to a wide range of services, including legal and marketing support, from the platform’s other partners. Impact Rooms is backed by US-based investment group Global Blockchain Ventures (GBV).
“Our job is to support startups and help them all the way to maturity. We conduct business assessments through investor support and provide introductions to relevant service partners, then support in raising capital.”
The Impact Rooms team is currently spread around the world with some of its experts in Kenya, Zambia, Ghana, South Africa, Puerto Rico, Australia, USA, UK and Switzerland.
Blantern said the startup has also built a database to provide insights into how investors make investment decisions.
“It is the most comprehensive and intelligent investor database for Africa, and it allows us to understand why some companies raise capital and others don’t, and improve their opportunities going forward,” he said.
Impact Rooms uses its proprietary algorithm, Cortex, to conduct business evaluations and on valuation benchmarks to understand trends.
The startup plans to establish Smart Fund, an investor matching program that uses algorithms to pick the best opportunities for financiers. The fund will bring together investors with shared interests from around the world to expand their investment prospects in Africa.
“We work and collaborate with investors, incubators, companies and all kinds of ecosystem players, including financial services – we are not a competitor. We are here to work with everyone in this ecosystem,” he said.
Impact Rooms currently works with 14 startups from six countries in Africa, with different specialties from e-commerce to blockchain-based communication. The startups supported include Wala Digital Health from Ghana, a SaaS software that connects hospitals and donors for critical blood transfusions.
The startup has evaluated 85 companies so far and hopes to partner with 5,000 companies across the continent by the end of next year and directly or indirectly create 10,000 additional jobs. This in addition to helping 1,000 startups raise funds.