In the business world, everyone can have an opinion, however, your opinion is worthless if you don’t have data to back up your points.
Today, all areas of business rely on data to make informed decisions that will help mitigate risk and maintain balanced cash flow.
Data-driven decisions barely miss the set targets. Thus, the power of data to draw conclusions from the past, shape the present and predict the future cannot be underestimated.
In a conversation with Olayinka Oke, Lead Data Analyst at Ingressive Capital, we learned how data influences investors’ seed funding decisions.
About you and what you do at Ingressive?
My name is Olayinka Oke and I work as a data analyst at Ingressive. Prior to Ingressive, I worked as a data and business intelligence analyst at Union Bank in the merchant banking group.
In this role, I helped the Corporate Banking group achieve its goal by helping the team be data-driven.
I had to do a lot of reporting and periodic reporting that helped us check our key performance indicators to see if we were meeting the goals and objectives that we had set for ourselves, and anything else that the executive director of customer banking companies needed at the time.
Subsequently, I joined Ingressive Capital, as you may know, Ingressive Capital is a $10 million venture capital fund, focused on supporting startups in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly at the early stage. priming and pre-priming.
What I do for Ingressive is generally, like any data analyst, I help Ingressive be data driven. This means that because you can’t always make decisions based on the mood or based on how you feel, decisions have to be based on data, so basically I’m helping to collect the right data, analyze it, get the right information and use it to make decisions.
I’ve been a data analyst for about four years now, but I haven’t spent until a year at Ingressive.
As a data analyst, what challenges have you encountered regarding your gender?
I belong to certain communities of people in technology, particularly for data analytics or any kind of general technical role, as well as communities specifically for women, where we focus on the women’s support.
I’ve seen people say they’re in touch with things like discrimination and being put down, but for me, I’ve never had that kind of challenge, maybe because by default I am very frank.
I’ve heard people say that I take up space, so I’m not even giving you the chance to bully me; maybe because before I got into data analysis, I was already working in field engineering, then I had a lot of “what are you doing here, are you a woman? and I guess that’s when I developed a lot of stamina to respond to this stuff.
For people who have this problem, it is important to surround yourself with women who would support you. And I belong to one of these communities, there are many around.
When you are in this kind of community and see a lot of women who have done so well in this field, it encourages you and boosts your confidence.
It’s also important to be very good at your job so that no matter how people try to bully or ridicule you, your work will always speak for you.
Telling stories using data, please shed more light?
As people say that every journey is a story and every idea you try to sell is a story, a data analyst’s job is often to help stakeholders, usually senior executives, make decisions.
And because senior executives are busy people, you need to be able to tell a story that grabs their attention in no time, engages them, and makes them want to listen more.
For example, in data analysis, a lot of work goes into creating a report, creating fantastic visuals, how beautiful they are, and so on.
But beyond the beauty of your visuals, it is important that your visuals, your report or your dashboard tell a story.
The flow of information in your dashboard should be systematic so that it takes people from section to section and gives them a complete view of the situation you are trying to describe.
For example, if you do a report that shows startups in Africa raised $1.8 billion in the first quarter, of that $500 million went to Nigeria, “x” amount went to Sudan and the “y” amount went to Kenya, this is not a full story.
Now you have to back it up with why that amount went to Nigeria, usually referred to as performance drivers; this valuable information is what makes your data story complete.
In data analysis, all of these different parts of the story are called different names; descriptive analytics, diagnostic analytics, prescriptive analytics, etc.
When you have finished describing the situation, it is very important to also explain what the implications of your observations are for the organization you represent.
For example, when the data shows that there is a lot of investment in certain countries, it is important for us, as an organization involved in investments, to start paying attention to what is happening there.
This way you’ve told a story, and people using the dashboard you’ve prepared can benefit from how you’ve used visuals to tell a story from what’s been observed from the data. collected.
“When you tell a complete story, people will be ready to listen to you.”
What should startups do to get funding from Ingressive?
On our website, we have a link where startups can apply to us for funding. However, as a principle, for us to fund a startup, you must at least have an MVP (Minimum Viable Product), not just that you have an idea in mind.
Even if you’re still in beta and ready to go, or you’ve launched with a few customers, as long as you’re raising pre-seeds or seeds and you’ve got your MVP, you just need to go on the Ingressive Capital website and apply.
If this is something that interests us, we will contact you after examination.
How much data did Ingressive Capital use to make its investment decisions?
We use two types of data, internal and external data. On internal data, I’m going to base it on a quote that says, “You can’t improve what you don’t track,” which means we continuously track our investments and review processes.
How do we review people applying for funds? And then, how well did we manage to review these companies?
The companies that we thought were going to do well, are they doing well? It’s just a matter of judging our bias in our selection processes. Thus, we follow all these measures continuously.
Another way is that we also use data from external sources, as I said before, we constantly watch the news and see what is happening in the ecosystem, what other new funds are coming in and what new government regulations are coming because, as an investor, it is important that you know the regulations in force in the country in which you are investing.
We use internal data to improve our processes and day-to-day operations, and then we track external ecosystem industry data to direct our investments towards our investment strategy.
How important is data in a startup’s funding journey?
From the day you start your business, you need to start collecting the right data on how your customers view you, how you grow your customer base, how much it costs you, and more. so that after a few months you can check if your customer base has improved and at what cost?
Are my running costs increasing? What drives the movement? What can I do to reduce it, every organization should reduce its operational costs to the lowest possible.
What tracking these metrics does for you is that when you ask investors for funding, they’ll want to know what you’ve improved since you ran the business for six months or however long. you directed it, or what is something you were doing in the beginning that you think helped you? Or what you think has been the main driver of your success.
You also need to make sure you have the right KPIs and are tracking them correctly, you can use all of this to prove to an investor or even anyone that this is how your business has grown. Like I said earlier, anyone can have an opinion, but if you can’t back it up with data, it’s just an opinion.
Why do you think organizations need to be data driven?
Data is important for you to make decisions, otherwise you’re going to rely on feelings and vibes.
Sometimes the data can be generated internally, while other times you need to collect external data, like a lot of the things I’ve said before, data is what will help you know how your business is doing.
For example, if you go to a financial institution or bank to apply for a loan, you will be asked questions about your financial statements. Financial statements are data that you have collected over time, and this data will tell the bank if your business is profitable or not, also if you are solvent.
Everything we do contains data in one way or another. Data not only helps you track your performance on your own, but also proves your performance to external stakeholders.
Your advice to young women venturing into the tech space?
This advice is not just for women, but for everyone; you must be good at your job. If you are good at your job, your work will eventually speak for you in places where you are not present, even a person who does not like you will have no hold over you when you are good at your job.
Don’t focus on what someone says about women, once you are good and exceptional at what you do, people will look for the value you have to offer.
The second aspect is to surround yourself with women who have the same passion and pursue the same goal as you.
Find women mentors who can boost your confidence, sometimes by joining a community, and who can also offer you a volunteer opportunity to support other less experienced women.
Joining these communities gives you a boost of confidence and in this community you can also see women who are doing very well and it gives you confidence that you can go as far in the future.
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