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How to access Goodwell’s €20m fund for African startups

Amsterdam-based impact investor Goodwell Investments last month announced that it had raised €20-million to invest in high-growth African startups. Do you fit the bill and want to get in on that funding?

Goodwell Investments marketing and communications director Nico Blaauw (pictured above) gives Ventureburn some insights on how entrepreneurs can go about accessing the funding.

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Is your business model aligned with Goodwell’s objectives?

In a statement announcing the fund, Goodwell Investments stated that it invests in businesses “that offer products and services to under-served people to meet their increasing demand for affordable and quality basic products”.

Blaauw told Ventureburn the investor looks for startups with business models that are not only clear but “aim towards a clear and measurable social impact and financial return”.

“The model must be tested and business running, albeit at an early stage. The business model must be scalable, the team dedicated, passionate and competent,” he explains.

Get the proposal right

To be considered for funding, startups have to fill a form on the Goodwell Investments website which asks entrepreneurs a number of questions including how their business models fit with the impact investor’s mandate, the startup’s current traction and amount of funding raised.

Goodwell Investments has allocated half of the €20-million fund to fintech

“Once people have contacted us, we will screen the proposition (mostly outlined in a teaser of the pitch summary) on a set of basic criteria,” he says.

“To be honest, most proposals do not meet criteria. If a proposal does, it will enter a fixed process allowing both parties to develop full and transparent understanding,” he adds.

Be prepared to give up equity

Startups that receive funding from the impact investor normally have to give up an equity stake, this is dependent on the exact role Goodwell Investments will take as an investor.

“Goodwell does provide capital and management support. We will never take the role of the entrepreneur, hence we only go for minority stakes,” he says.

However, he adds that the investor is “open to alternative financial structures if that is what the investment requires given its development stage and financial position”.

Focus on fintech

Fintech startups stand a better chance of tapping the fund.

Goodwell Investments will invest half of the €20-million fund in fintech and the rest in agriculture, health and sanitation, energy, transport and education.

“We have a solid track record in financial inclusion. Financial inclusion is the engine for the economy and core to developing an inclusive ecosystem,” he says.

“Our focus is steadily shifting towards digital financial inclusion and fintech as technology enables new business models that allow to reach larger groups of under-served consumers faster and cheaper,” he adds.

Location matters

Is your startup in one of Goodwell Investments’s focus regions?

“80% of our fund will be invested in geographies in which we have a team on the ground,” he says.

“We currently cover Western Africa with teams in Ghana and Nigeria, Southern Africa with a team in Cape Town and we are close to having our dedicated team for Eastern Africa in Nairobi, Kenya,” says Blaauw.

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