for Africa (VC4Africa), an online community of venture capitalists, angels and entrepreneurs, today announced the launch of new tools aimed at helping people raise funds for their startups.
The network, which is dedicated to building business on the African continent, claims that the new tools make private investment easy, secure and social. It also says that they allow entrepreneurs to register their funding needs. These are then shared for investors, registered as part of the VC4Africa investor network, to review.
Any investor interested in the venture can reportedly engage the entrepreneur for more details. and if they like the terms the venture is offering, step forward as a lead investor. The venture then goes into fundraising mode for 90 days in which the entrepreneur and lead investor can attract additional support. This is the next step in VC4Africa’s efforts to help close the startup-funding gap, bringing quality entrepreneurs and qualified investors closer together.
This new functionality builds on a pilot in which VC4Africa successfully connected three out of five participating companies. One deal has since closed and another two are in final stages.
Saskia Reus-Makkink, Head of Investor Relations at VC4Africa, “This is the next step in our efforts to connect entrepreneurs with the resources they need to realize their potential. With this launch, we make it even easier for entrepreneurs to connect with possible partners.”
He also says that VC4Africa does everything it can to ensure that the companies applying for funding are viable:
We screen all of the business plans and related documentation of the ventures that apply for fundraising. If they meet our quality standards the venture is made visible for the investors registered as part of the VC4Africa investor network. If the entrepreneur does not meet the quality criteria we identify areas they can work on. They are free to make use of our growing number of tools and can apply to the VC4Africa mentorship program. These are resources they can use to get to the next level.
VC4Africa claims that for investors to give listed entrepreneurs a serious look, the venture has to be well beyond idea stage. The documentation has to be top level and social traction within the community counts.
According to the network, thirty percent of the registered ventures have some form of social mission and could be qualified as a social enterprise. It also claims that each venture is disruptive in its use of technology or application of a disruptive business model. Entrepreneurs are free to sign up on their own accord or as part of pre-existing partnerships. Collaborations are already underway with leading incubators like ActivSpaces in Cameroon, MEST in Ghana and the Nailab in Kenya. VC4Africa also hosts ‘startup challenges’ with initial competitions coming online in Cameroon and Zimbabwe.
VC4Africa listed entrepreneurs engage a growing network of angel investors and well established investment firms like ALTVEST, Alitheia Capital, Jacana Ventures, E+Co, Chembe Ventures, DOB Foundation, DOEN, Hivos, E-Ventures Africa, i4A, Sovec, TLcom, GroFin, African Development Corporation, Matamba Anonaka, African Media Ventures Fund, Elea, Ringier, Kitendo Capital, among others. Entrepreneurs have already raised more than a US$1-million in funding 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.
VC4Africa launched this programme with a screened selection out of the more than 400 ventures already registered in the system. The ventures on VC4Africa are early stage and require investments between US$10 000 and US$1-million. The primary sectors include mobile, web, energy and health care, among others.