Norebase, a trade tech startup that has raised $1 million in a pre-seed round. Founded by Adetola Onayemi who was part of the negotiation team that saw the agreement take effect in January 2021. His experience from this activity, coupled with working as a technical adviser to the vice president’s office in Nigeria a couple of months back, led him to launch
In an interview , CEO Onayemi, a lawyer by profession, said the idea for Norebase came after various conversations on how his clients and colleagues in tech could leverage AfCFTA for their businesses.
“I had done all this work in policy, ease of doing business, free trade agreement, and I was advising some people in tech who would say, ‘listen, I just raised new capital to enter new markets, I dont know how I’m supposed to navigate it,’” the chief executive said.
From Onayemi’s point of view, the growth of Africa’s digital economy revolves around gains in six segments: education, payments, logistics, transport, identity, and trade.
Trade has the least startup activity in a market that received $5 billion in VC funding last year. Tola believes this is because particular skill sets and an understanding of intracontinental nuances are needed to build beneficial solutions. And as someone with extensive knowledge and background, it made sense for him to take up the challenge.
Providing a framework where people can operate and scale their solutions to several markets at once is incredibly important,” said Onayemi, who also co-founded Future Africa, an Africa-focused VC fund. “Our solution is for people in the local market moving into their first market or a company in their fourth market trying to scale their enterprise.”
The traditional options involve the painstaking process of interfacing with various law and accounting firms, trademark registries and hiring a team to manage these processes. Meanwhile, there’s also a trust and accountability factor between clients and firms hired to complete incorporation in another country.
“People can make mistakes in this sort of situation and Norebase has shared learnings over time to help people avoid these mistakes. We aggregate that knowledge and provide one platform that ensures you don’t have to worry too much about trust,” the CEO added. “From telling us to set up takes days. We know the rules, so you don’t have to spend time talking to lawyers and getting documents — we simplify all that.”
Onayemi launched Norebase with Tope Obanla in September 2021. It allows founders and businesses to start and scale across several African countries at once or periodically. According to Norebase, companies that use its platform can be incorporated in any African country within “a few minutes” and expand to new locations in a week. These countries include Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, Rwanda, Senegal, Togo, Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Mauritius and Burkina Faso.
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