19 posts tagged VC
19 posts tagged VC
The much celebrated Ghanaian tech start up Dropifi, has become the first entirely African company to join the silicon valley-based 500 Start Up program.
500 startups was founded in 2007 as a seed accelerator and investment fund by former Mint.com executive, Dave McClure. According to Cp-Africa, the company has invested in over 400 companies globally, including Wildfire Interactive which was acquired by Google for $250 million in 2012.
Dropifi is a smart customer service widget that helps users better analyse, visualize, and respond to to incoming messages and also tells when sent emails are opened.
“Most web sites have a contact for which is dumb, just sending an email. Dropifi is a smart contact form which extracts the right data. Very much aimed at small business,” TechCrunch said.
David Osei, Effah Mensah and Kamil Nabong founded the startup in November 2011 after joining the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) program in Accra, Ghana in August of the same year.
Dropifi won the Global Startup Open Competition and was named the World’s best startup in 2012 by Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
Kenyan Isis Nyong’o is an investor in Africa’s technology space and a well-known name in the industry. Until recently she was the managing director of Africa for InMobi, an international mobile advertising network. Prior to InMobi, Nyong’o worked in senior management positions at MyJobsEye, a job site in Kenya, and she specialised in mobile and local content partnerships at Google. She also led MTV Network’s commercial entry into Africa and holds degrees from Stanford University and the Harvard Business School, where she was president of the Africa Business Club.
What are some of the risks facing tech investors in Africa?
What steps can be taken to overcome or reduce these risks?
There are risks with any investment and every investor needs to understand their risk appetite. Within the African context I can mention four risk areas perhaps unique to tech investors on the continent over the next decade.
First, there is a real risk of the ‘growth inhibitors’ that can be primarily bucketed under infrastructure-related inhibitors. If, for example, we fail to solve the electricity challenges, there will be a limit on the addressable market for products and service if devices can’t be recharged reliably and cost-effectively.
Second, there is a real talent gap for this industry and if we’re not able to solve how to develop the necessary skills quickly enough, we again risk limiting the potential of the businesses being invested in.
Third, the regulatory environment is critical and as the internet grows in relevance, I’d anticipate that regulators will do what they are tasked to do – which can sometimes lead to a conducive climate for innovation such as the case with M-Pesa in Kenya but can also have adverse affects limiting creativity.
Finally, the relative illiquidity of African markets today means that exit options for investments are more limited than other regions.
Click through to read the rest of the interview or Follow Isis on twitter at @inyongo
Africa has received a lot of interest from VC’s in the last few years as it continues to develop. The ever growing number of accelerators, tech hubs and angel networks appearing across Africa are further proof that entrepreneurship is flourishing in the region.
The tech, web, mobile and telecommunications sectors in particular are showing tremendous growth and are attracting a lot of interest from venture capitalists.
Here is a list of 15 venture capital firms (some home-grown and some foreign) looking to take advantage of the opportunities Africa has to offer.
Spending time with the startups of Savannah Fund proved to be a unique opportunity to think about marketing in a context quite different than my own.
Coming from the tech space in San Francisco I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect while working with teams from Ghana, Uganda and Kenya but picked up quite a few insights and learned a lot along the way.
I saw that there is no one-size-fits-all solution in crafting an effective marketing plan, that each startup faces unique challenges in their home country, and that in areas of constraint, creative strategies can be used to reach an audience and effectively convey the message.
I also learned that although operating in vastly different environments, startups launching in San Francisco and their African counterparts face many of the same challenges in their initial stages.
Here are some key insights on the challenges and opportunities of marketing startups in African markets.
4.) Cultural Relevance:
Africa is not a country, but rather a diverse continent made up of 54 countries. Startups looking to expand their market outside of their home countries may be challenged by a lack of understanding of users outside of their own space. An interesting example of this was observed with Khola Studios, a gaming studio from Uganda. The team at Kola Studios is looking to expand a popular game, Matatu, outside of Uganda but may have to change the name to make it culturally relevant in other East African markets.
Alliy has also started a so-called accelerator program through the Savannah Fund that gives entrepreneurs management advice and a small amount of cash in exchange for a 15 percent equity stake.
The program has helped launch three companies: Ahonya.com Ltd., a Ghanaian enterprise that aims to be the Amazon.com of Africa; Kola Studios, a mobile-game developer in Uganda; and Kenya-based SafariDesk, which helps plan African vacations.
Savannah Fund investor Draper, who put in $250,000, says he’s eager to get in at the onset of Africa’s tech development.
“We were among the first venture capital investors in places like India, Eastern Europe and China,” he says. “This kind of early fund can have an enormous impact in a region. Entrepreneurship spreads, and wealth and jobs follow.”
Slides and transcript, click on source link
Eghosa Omoigui, is the only African investor in the Silicon Valley. He is bold, brilliant, entertaining, fast on his feet, but also generous with those less fortunate. The Nigerian-born Omoigui has invested into tens of companies such as Betaworks, Stipple, Retailigence, Namesake, SpeakerText, Sense Networks, Voxify, SmartZip, Yatra, BuzzInTown, Cerebra.
Omoigui is now said to be committing about $30 million into tech start-ups in Africa with focus on Consumer Internet & Services, Mobile, Digital Media, Content & Advertising, Software, Services & Infrastructure. As for fact checking, his early-stage private equity investment fund, EchoVC Partners, has currently zero african startup into its portfolio, and from the 45 startups he has met recently in Lagos, during a short visit, he said none was good enough for his firm.
It still not very clear what are Eghosa investment plans into African startups, though his visit was met with high excitement and expectation from the Nigerian tech entrepreneurs.