BrandArena: Oyin Solebo Named as Managing Director of ARM Labs Lagos Techstars Accelerator

Monday 19 December 2022

Oyin Solebo Named as Managing Director of ARM Labs Lagos Techstars Accelerator

Oyin Solebo, the co-founder of Movemeback has been appointed as the new managing director of ARM Labs Lagos Techstars Accelerator, a Lagos-based programme formed through a partnership between ARM Labs and Techstars.

Solebo is an entrepreneurial leader with experience in the investment management industry. She graduated with honours from both the London Business School and London School of Economics with a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Economics, respectively.

She is a co-founder and former COO of Movemeback, a Google-funded elite talent startup connecting professionals globally to African opportunities. Having started her investment career at Goldman Sach, she comes with over 15 years of experience in strategic leadership, investment, and human capital development.

In a statement, Group CEO ARM Holding Company, Jumoke Ogundare, said: “Oyin Solebo joining ARM Labs Lagos Techstars Accelerator Program as Managing Director is in keeping with our aim of rapidly and exponentially boosting the growth of African entrepreneurs. We are confident that her presence on the team will foster the rapid innovation we support in the African startup ecosystem through this programme. Being a co-founder herself, she contributes a wealth of knowledge and experience to ensure that the startups benefit from this programme’s expertise to scale their businesses creatively and effectively.”

In her presentation with TechCabal, the new managing director describes the values that took precedence in her home.

“My values have carried me to where I am now,” she says. “My parents grounded me in education, ambition, and the belief that your role in life is to make the world a better place. My mum is an entrepreneur and businesswoman, and she built in me the idea of problem-solving and creating solutions.”

After leaving Goldman Sachs to follow her passion, she began working as a strategy consultant for global management consultancy firm Roland Berger in sub-Saharan Africa. “Ultimately, I wanted to do more,” she said. “I wanted to be able to contribute more to social and economic change, and business was a great vehicle to do that.”

Her position at Roland Berger gave her a better connection to Africa, and in 2010 she had the opportunity to live and work in Nigeria for the first time. “I was part of a team dedicated to financial services in Sub-Saharan Africa. That was my first foray into fintech in Africa, and understanding the ways technology can increase financial inclusion,” Solebo says.

A few years later, Solebo noticed a shift in the African tech ecosystem with Africans in the diaspora returning. She co-founded Movemeback in 2014 and worked there for 8 years before joining the team at Techstars. “It was just a question of what I wanted to do next,” she says. “I didn’t have anything specific in mind. I just knew I wanted to marry three key things: my passion and desire to work in Africa, my belief that startups make the world a better place, and my experience with capital—I mean both financial and human capital. So when someone put this role in front of me, I knew it was exactly what I wanted to do.”

Solebo is excited about the prospect of upscaling the Techstars accelerator program in Nigeria and across Africa. “One thing I’m very passionate about is job creation,” she adds. “That’s what has driven my career choices in the last decade. I think startups are such a powerful tool for job creation, so I want to see these startups go from employing two or three people to employing hundreds, if not thousands.” 

The programme will be holding its demo day in March of 2023. With the active role they’ve played in Africa’s tech space for over a decade, Solebo believes Techstars has been outstanding at shining light on the potential for African startups. And by investing in 12 businesses every year, she says, they can now do more.

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