Jan. 25, 2022

Aham Rochas


Aham Rochas

Managing Director, Aham Rochas Group


Aham Rochas is a dynamic and determined entrepreneur and an avid contributor to societal development. Having graduated from the University of Manchester and Imperial College London with a BSc and MSc in mechanical engineering, respectively, he is founder and managing director at Aham Rochas Group of Companies. Rochas is President of the Aham Rochas Foundation and a member of the board at the Rochas Foundation.

How did the company start five years ago, and where does the group stand today?

When we started the company, we were looking for the right people and the right places, so we decided to take a close look at all the companies operating under the group. Specifically, we looked at Fula, a real estate company under the group, and our lifestyle brand Watson. We also have government tech solutions, one of which is called Golborn. We cemented our standing mainly as a real estate and lifestyle brand. We are investing in restaurants, lounges, and bars. We are also pushing for venture capital and getting others to come onboard with wonderful products and ideas that need funding. We launched that part of the business in 2020, and in 1H2021 we funded a new restaurant chain in Liberia. I was trained and educated abroad, though the best classroom is the Nigerian business landscape itself. When we see new venture capitalists, companies, and businesses come in, we can advise properly and manage expectations moving forward because we have done it ourselves.

Do you invest more in technology-driven companies?

Truly, we invest in all sectors. In our marketing, we push the idea of venture capital in technology, and we are working to embrace that, though we are extremely selective. Although we do have a sizable market, it can be even bigger. We are always excited to look for solutions in banking and fintech. Nevertheless, the last project we funded was in lifestyle, a restaurant established by passionate entrepreneurs in Abuja. Our funding is not tied to anything in particular but doled out as interesting projects emerge.

What is the standard profile of companies that qualify for funding from Aham Rochas?

It could be anything. The most recent partners we funded built their idea completely from scratch. The company we currently plan to fund has been in business for a year. One of the main challenges is that venture capitalists are not always 100% certain about the way things work or the way share prices, stocks, timelines, and timesheets are dealt with. This, however, does not make their ideas any less impressive. The people we are talking to may not be trained in terms of business; however, it is about walking them through that process and giving them a crash course on what their business should look like. In general, we are not particular about the profile. Sometimes, they have not even registered their company yet. We look for individuals who have that X factor or drive. We need to see people who can tackle adversity. The profile that matters to us is the individual themselves actually.

Your goal is to fund 100 start-ups by 2025. How do you plan to achieve that?

We are on our way. What we can do is look at smaller ones. It does seem like many over a short period, but we have launched a marketing campaign with billboards all over Abuja and have seen solid feedback. It is about the types of start-ups we are looking at. What moves the economy here is the food industry, for example. The entrepreneurs with the idea to start a restaurant in Liberia received funding from us in about two weeks because they came with an idea that made sense given the landscape. The grand businesses that require a large amount of paperwork and planning may seem worth the effort, but sometimes small ideas are fantastic as well. We are excited about the F&B sector because the model is working. There is another company we might close on in agribusiness that is working to shift the packaging of chicken to smaller sizes so that it is affordable for lower segments. These smaller but great ideas that come through are the basis for us to meet that target of 100 start-ups.