Rick Harington’s MarketFleas secures funding

By Ben White on March 14, 2011

Today I jumped out of my chair when I got this e-mail from Rick. He writes, “Hi Ben, We finally finished our investment round and once again, thank you for the great platform. It really is the best out there, as we found a lot of fraudulent sites on the web claiming to help angel investors and entrepreneurs connect.” We are thankful to Rick and his team for sharing their experiences and successes with the community. It is this feedback that helps us better understand how we can support more successful matches and chart a clear way forward. Please see an interview with Rick talking more about the process he went through to secure funding for his project on VC4Africa.

How did VC4Africa help your company?

As web entrepreneurs, we found the going tough as a startup and tried a lot of avenues to get initial investment including venture capital firms in South Africa, other online investment platforms and more with absolutely no luck.

The problem was that 1. we we’re a startup so a venture capital company with a minimum mandate of R50million was never going to look at us and 2. every investment platform that we found (paid) would send (the guaranteed) connection via a random yahoo or gmail account which gave us hope, only to crush it again later.

VC4Africa helped us connect (for free) to an investor we found within 3 days of being on the site, and created a platform where we could connect easily and without hidden agenda. Thank you VC4Africa, you are the only true investment platform.

Describe your venture?

market-fleas.com is an online craft market, similar to the more renowned etsy.com.

Who is your target audience?

Mostly female online shoppers looking for unique handcrafted items.

Why is your venture unique?

Our venture is not unique, but we took a proven concept and brought it to a market that was unexplored by competitors.

What are your key milestones to date?

We’ve created a platform that allows buyers, sellers and markets to connect, buy and sell easily and efficiently. We are launching in Europe within the next six months and will be a market leader in the next year.

How will you use VC4Africa in the future?

We have been working on many other ventures as well during the last year and plan on moving forward with them in the near future. VC4Africa is the first and only place we’ll be using. And hopefully in the future we can be investors as well as entrepreneurs on the site.

Anything I did not ask you that you feel is important to add?

I’d like to take the opportunity to tell other entrepreneurs about our investment maize (challenge).

Guys, please don’t waste your time on the major investment networks that charge you a lot of money, because unfortunately they have become greedy and useless. I promise you, after trying to find investment for over a year, VC4Africa is the best. Venture Capital firms are actually willing to listen, so write the business plan and send it to all of them, as hearing a NO is better then not taking the chance at all. Our investment was small, so VC companies just couldn’t help us.

Without sounding negative the path to investment is tough, if you’ve had a good response (e.g. we love the idea and really think this is great, but unfortunately our mandate does not allow us to invest) and your at the point of giving up. DON’T. get a day job and keep on going. It’s worth every ounce of effort to do things your way, and good luck.

How can members contact you?

You can contact us at partnership@market-fleas.com.

Rick, we look forward to following your progress and to working together again and again and again:) Also, we are working on a new program we plan to launch soon that will introduce a series of profile badges. One of the badges is being designed for ‘the funded’ and you are first on the list to get one! We hope to bring you and others together into a network of entrepreneurs who have successfully navigated the investment process and are willing to help others.

Speak soon and congrats!
the VC4Africa team

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