He is one of Nigeria’s hottest heads in the start-up and fundraising circuit at the moment. A multi-talented entrepreneur, David Lanre Messan, a mass communicator by training, who started out as an idea strategist, has today acquired outstanding expertise as a digital enterprise strategist, startup advisor and angel investor.
The founder and Chief Executive Officer of First Founders Inc., one of the fast-rising venture studios in Nigeria, is one of the most sought-after fundraisers in the tech startup ecosystem. David Lanre Messan, popularly known as DLM, has helped several early-stage startups to raise a total of over $10 million dollars from investors to build and scale their companies.
One of these startups is Syarpa, a Fintech company that is building the future of payments by leveraging digital assets solutions in Africa and around the world. In April, Syarpa closed a pre-seed round of $500k, with Messan and First Founders Inc. playing a significant role in that success.
Other early-stage companies that he has helped to raise investments for include but are not limited to, Ucard, a firm which is enabling digital commerce for offline retail markets.
He has over 10 years of experience in entrepreneurship, business planning, ideas and strategy development, branding, marketing, operations, leadership and decision analysis. He has over 12 years’ experience in communications, marketing and executive business presentations in the private and public sectors.
DLM has spoken in over 50 conferences on key economic and social topics, major amongst them are the Grow Africa Forum, World Economic Forum on Africa, SHAPE Africa, etc. He has developed more than 100 thriving business ideas for companies, governments and corporations.
Messan studied mass communications at Lagos State Polytechnic. He also studied business marketing strategy at Nexford University, disruptive strategy at Harvard Business School and entrepreneurship and innovation at Scalable Global Academy.
Messan’s career development journey was one of weathering the storm to the top. He took to hawking gala in traffic and, later, teaching in order to raise money to buy internet night browsing time at cybercafés. His purpose was to explore the new world of information and opportunities, to understand leadership and to become an idea strategist.
He started out with a social project in secondary schools named Lifeguard Youth Concerns where he worked to inculcate the principles of abstinence, entrepreneurship and leadership in senior students. He enrolled for LEAP Africa Youth Leadership Programme in 2006 which also helped him to focus on his goal and pursue his dreams.
Messan has since expanded his service horizon to become a Community Organizer, scholar as well as digital and strategic political electioneering campaign manager.
As a scholar, he was recently selected as an academic visitor to the James Currey Society in cooperation with University of Oxford’s African Studies Center, a quest to hone a passionate career in creative writing, but this time, telling African Stories in the African way and manner.
As a Community Organizer, DLM serves as a community organizer for Harvard Business School Online. The school has published on its official website, an article on some of his works, recognizing his expertise as a strategist. His other international achievements include serving as a Scalabl Global Ambassador for Africa and International Partner and Senator for Nigeria with the World Business Angels Investors Forum. In 2011, DLM was selected as a pioneer global shaper of the World Economic Forum (WEF), where he served for five years and went on to become the community’s curator in Lagos and a member of the WEF on collaborations.
DLM deployed his expertise as a political campaign strategist during the 2019 Nigerian Presidential election, particularly in Atiku Abubakar’s presidential campaign. He also worked as a Communications Consultant for the Lagos State Government under Babatunde Raji Fashola’s regime.
Messan’s exploits on these projects earned him international recognition and got him connected with United Kingdom’s Dr. Dianne Regisford, one of the Oxford councillorship hopefuls. Messan became Regisford’s campaign manager, working in the capacity of a Director, Strategist Communication and Digital Content Management.
DLM’s outstanding multi-disciplinary track record has earned him reconitions and accolades across board. He was selected by MTV/Staying Alive Foundation in 2005 as a finalist and was rated one of the 100 best authors by the World Bank in 2006 out of 1,900 authors in the world for sharing his ideas on how he planned to solve community problems.
In 2007, he founded Green Yaggy, a project under his first company, Infinite Impact, through which he impacted the lives of over 250 youths directly and another 5,000 indirectly – an accomplishment that earned him a recognition as African Business Leaders Forum (ABLF) 101 Young African Leader in 2007. In 2008, he won the LEAP Africa Nokia Top 10 Youth Leadership Award.
In 2011, he was selected as a pioneer global shaper of the World Economic Forum (WEF) He has raised over $7 million for small businesses in Nigeria and Africa and has provided strategy for growth for over 250 businesses and start-ups in Nigeria.
He presently serves as international partner for Nigeria with World Business Angels Investors Forum (WBAF), Turkey; scalable global ambassador for Africa and a community organiser for Harvard Business School Online. He has explored the business world, the entertainment industry, the political space and more and has come to focus on helping people and businesses go digital.
The Top10 Magazine, recognizing Lanre Messan has deployed his multi-disciplinary expertise to building of start-up businesses in Nigeria and development of society generally, hereby confers on him the award of Start-up Builder of the Year.