Venture Capital for Africa: crowdsourcing a startup movement across Africa
10.000 entrepreneurs and investors collaborate to fill early stage investment gap
Online community VC4Africa (Venture Capital for Africa), connecting promising entrepreneurs in Africa with investors and startup resources, continues to gain momentum. This week VC4Africa welcomed it’s 10,000th member, and already 1,000 African enterprises are registered on the platform with many securing valuable partnerships to date.
VC4Africa wants to close Africa’s startup-funding gap, bringing quality entrepreneurs and qualified investors closer together. In addition to self-help tools, business modeling workshops, and member hosted networking opportunities, registered entrepreneurs are also eligible to receive dedicated support via the VC4Africa Mentorship Program. The peer-to-peer support program draws on an international network of business experts that dedicate their time, network and expertise free of charge. Entrepreneurs in need of a capital injection are also able to initiate a fundraising request through the VC4Africa service and connect to the largest network of dedicated early stage investors interested in supporting African based ventures.
Entrepreneurs with published venture profiles on VC4Africa can register their funding needs and upload documents to a secure documents tab. These intentions to fundraise are screened by the VC4Africa team before they are made available to accredited investors. Any registered investor can engage entrepreneurs for more details and the VC4Africa team assists its members with personal introductions and 1-1 networking opportunities. Both entrepreneurs and investors can make use of VC4Africa’s support infrastructure when closing an investment deal. In this way, the organization works to lower barriers to investing in the continent’s most promising entrepreneurs.
Launching its investor services in May of 2012, the organization recently published a list of 40 investors active in the community. In addition to a growing number of Angels, the network also includes more established firms like 4Di, Accion, African Media Ventures Fund, Alden Impact, Alitheia Capital, Annona Sustainable Impact Fund, CMA Investment Holdings, DOB Foundation, Elea, eVentures Africa Fund, Fanisi Capital, GroFin, incluvest, Innovation 4 Africa, Jacana Partners, Kitendo Capital, Kukua Fund, Matamba Anonaka Technology Holding, Premanco Ventures, Sanaga Ventures, Sand Hill Angels, Social Venture Capital, the TBL Mirror Fund, TLcom Capital, Toronto Enterprise Fund, TVC Labs and Verod Capital, amongst many others.
The ventures on VC4Africa are early stage and require investments between USD $10K and USD $1 million. The documentation has to be top level and social traction within the community counts. Entrepreneurs have already raised more than a USD $1 million in funding through VC4Africa, and joint ventures and investments have been secured by members in countries as diverse as Cameroon, South Africa, the United States, Kenya, Nigeria, the Netherlands, Somalia and Zambia. Since January 1st, 2013, 8 ventures initiated fundraising campaigns. 3 have since secured lead investors and currently 5 new deals are under negotiation.
Entrepreneurs are free to sign up on their own accord or as part of pre- existing partnerships. VC4Africa collaborates with leading incubators like ActivSpaces in Cameroon, MEST in Ghana, the Nailab and the GrowthHub in Kenya, Innoventures and Ice Cairo in Egypt, Ice Addis in Ethiopia, Mara Launchpad in Uganda, Wennovation Hub in Nigeria, CTIC Dakar in Senegal, Enviu in The Netherlands, 88mph and Seed Engine in South Africa, among others. VC4Africa is also a member of the LIONS Africa partnership and supported the inaugural DEMO Africa 2012 event.