There are startup pitches that promise to provide various services to Africans. Africa is a fragmented $3 trillion market, which is not taken into account when trying to sweet-talk investors. More than one billion people with below average disposable income live on the continent.

It is one of the few explanations for why trade has been difficult for a long time. The African Continental Free Trade Area is a framework for Africa to be a single market for trade and services.

The agreement took effect in January 2021. His experience from this activity and working as a technical adviser to the vice president's office in Nigeria led him to launch Norebase, a trade tech startup that has raised $1 million in a pre-seed round.

The CEO of Norebase, a lawyer by profession, said in an interview that he came up with the idea after talking to his clients and colleagues in tech about how they could use the 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, "I just raised new capital to enter new markets."

The growth of Africa's digital economy is dependent on gains in six segments: education, payments, logistics, transport, identity, and trade.

The market received $5 billion in funding last year. Tola believes that specific skill sets and an understanding of nuances are needed to build beneficial solutions. It made sense for him to take up the challenge because of his extensive knowledge.

Providing a framework where people can operate and scale their solutions to several markets at once is incredibly important.

The traditional options involve hiring a team to manage the various processes associated with trademark registries and law and accounting firms. There is a trust factor between clients and firms hired to complete in another country.

People can make mistakes in this situation and Norebase has shared learnings over time to help people avoid them. It takes days to set up a platform that ensures you don't have to worry about trust. We know the rules so you don't have to spend time talking to lawyers and getting documents.

Norebase was launched by Onayemi and Tope Obanla. It allows businesses to start and scale across several African countries at once. These countries include Nigeria, Africa, South Africa, and others.

As long as they abide by regulatory and compliance requirements, Norebase increases the price of other services. They include opening bank accounts and virtual mailing addresses. Onayemi said on the call that Norebase doesn't have a fixed fee and charges its clients based on the services they want.

Tola Onayemi

Tola Onayemi is the CEO of Norebase.

African companies can now incorporate in the U.S. with the help of Norebase, and it also launched a service that allows other companies to provide the same services.

The use case is about how it works. Payment processors such as Paystack and Flutterwave have caps on the number of transactions they can make. Merchants are usually required to register their businesses before they resume usage.

Some merchants may refuse to continue this process even though they know their earnings are at stake. Norebase has a pitch to these payment processors and other platforms with stringent KYC and regulatory commitments that they can prevent this by letting merchants complete their registration right on their sites.

Norebase is a global player in the trade tech space. It is one of the few companies that offer such services. The service is only available for businesses in Nigeria, the U.S. and Kenya, but the CEO wouldn't say who their partners were.

Norebase claims to have delivered 100% month-on-month growth in transaction volumes for the last six months. It has grown revenue 40% month-on-month. Some of its regular offering clients include startups we have covered before, such as Brass, Orda, Sudo Africa, and others.

The founder of the partners said that they increase the valuation of almost every startup so that they can access more markets.

Although the company plays in a market with little competition (Lagos-based Sidebrief is one company offering similar services), it won't stay that way for long as the trade tech opportunity is growing.

Norebase's pre-seed round was led by Pan-African funds. Other VCs include Gumroad, Kinfolk VC, Future Africa, and Microtraction.

The round welcomed participation from well-known executives in Africa, including Shola Akinlade, CEO of Paystack, Odunayo Ewen, PiggyVest COO, and Adia Sowho, COO of MTN Nigeria.

Norebase will use the funds to hire more talent, expand its trademark registration technology stack, and improve its plug-and-play API.