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Corporate Venture Capital in Africa: how startups and big corporates can benefit from working together

By Miguel Heilbron on February 5, 2014


Big corporate investments in Africa are increasing. We read more and more about companies like IBM, Intel, Microsoft and Google, MTN, VodaCom, Orange, SafariCom, and many other big companies, investing into startups in Africa. Coming May, the Global Corporate Venturing Symposium in London, UK, will for the first time include a
half day session on corporate venturing in Africa. We spoke to Sean Ndiho Obedih, Founding Partner of UK based Corporate Venture Capital advisory firm Sobek Ventures, to learn more about corporate venture capital trends in Africa. Read the interview below.

Why is Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) such a hot trend in Africa, and what does it mean for the African startup / VC ecosystem?

“Corporate Venture […]

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To a new year full of African success stories! The VC4Africa community in 2013 & the year ahead

By Ben White on December 30, 2013

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What started as a conversation between like-minded professionals continues to grow as a thriving community dedicated to African venture finance. VC4Africa members had a busy year as the community continues to push the boundaries and redefine what is possible in the African startup space. Here is a look at a few major highlights from 2013 and a look forward to what 2014 might bring.

Growing Africa’s startup community:

 

» 13,000 members: Today there are 13,000 entrepreneurs, mentors, investors and business professionals part of the VC4Africa.biz community spread across 159 countries. There are 45,000 fans on Facebook, 25,000 followers on Twitter, and 10,000 connections on Linkedin;

» Improving ventures: To date, VC4Africa has processed more than 1,500 venture applications and published 900 venture profiles to the website. These […]

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Nigeria: Entrepreneurs and investors discuss the VC climate for local startups

By Bankole Oluwafemi on December 13, 2013

Jason Njoku, iROKO Partners and SPARK, and Tayo Oviosu, Paga.

This article by Bankole Oluwafemi originally appeared on TechCabal, a VC4Africa publishing partner.

Last month, Nigerian tech blog TechCabal hosted the first of its “TechCabal Sessions”. Read the recap below. Tayo Oviosu, founder and CEO of Paga, served as ‘special guest’. Paga was launched in 2011 and is now the #1 mobile payments company in Nigeria. Other participants included iROKO Partners & SPARK‘s Jason Njoku, Prowork‘s Francis Onwumere, Hotels.ng‘s Mark Essien, and many other interesting people. The TechCabal Sessions are exclusive dinner events where influential personalities in Nigerian technology, internet, business, meet over great food and drinks in a relaxed, informal setting. TechCabal aims to help create a more cohesive startup ecosystem by fostering […]

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Angel & VC investors from across Africa & world converge in Nairobi to meet the continent’s top innovators

By Ben White on October 15, 2013

Thursday and Friday, October 24 and 25, the DEMO Africa conference will take place in Nairobi, Kenya: a must-attend event for both investors, entrepreneurs, tech media & others looking for Africa’s “next big thing”. On Wednesday, October 23, VC4Africa hosts an investor reception (invitation only), in collaboration with our partners D8A and Appfrica. On Wednesday afternoon LIONS will also host its summit, a partnership network event that brings together industry stakeholders from both public and private sectors.

This year DEMO Africa will again launch 40 of the most innovative startups in Africa and highlight some of the best new technology innovations emerging from across the continent. Some tickets for the main event are still available, but going fast.

Part of […]

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Results of VC4Africa’s 2013 SME Performance Index

By Ben White on October 7, 2013

The team at VC4Africa recently reached out to entrepreneurs part of the community to find our more about their progress. These are the results of the first VC4Africa SME Performance Index 2013.

Africa is a hot-bed for innovation and a source of world changing solutions. To realize the potential of the continent’s most promising entrepreneurs, vital resources need to be unlocked i.e. the required network, knowledge and capital. The VC4Africa community is a global peer-to-peer network where entrepreneurs and investors come together to build great African success stories. But do we know these companies are making a difference? Do the companies we engage as a community already add to the tax base of African economies and are they […]

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VC4Africa introduces VC4A Talent, a free recruitment service for African startups

By Bill Zimmerman on July 25, 2013

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve launched a new recruitment function for ventures listed on VC4Africa, the first steps in creating a one-stop shop where startups can search for qualified talent, and where skilled experts and others can seek out the best new companies.

Building a great company is hard to do. To successfully take a concept to market you have to create outstanding products and services. And although we might be called Venture Capital for Africa, we know entrepreneurs need a lot more than just cash. Building a great company requires access to the right network, expertise and knowledge along the way. It also means you have a great team in place to execute the vision. Simply put, entrepreneurs who operate alone have little […]

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10 African startup founders who built million-dollar Internet companies

By Douglas Imaralu on July 23, 2013


Success stories inspire success stories. This article was originally published on Ventures Africa, a VC4Africa publishing partner.

The number of millionaires springing up from digital ventures has grown tremendously in the past two decades, as the world increasingly embrace the potential of knowledge technologies, information and social media to produce economic benefits , employment and enable globalisation. From Mark Zuckerberg to Sergey Brin, Lawrence E. Page and YouTube partners: Steve Chen, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim, the world has witnessed a new breed of entrepreneurs who have charted a new course in business and made a fortune at it. The good news – Africa is not lagging behind.

Innovative minds in the motherland have cited and exploited opportunities in the knowledge economy, which has become […]

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Africa Rising in the news, East Africa’s investment scene struggling on the ground

By Tim Weiss on June 20, 2013


In a series of articles on VC4Africa, Tim Weiss will explore private equity investment challenges in East Africa. Below is the introduction: various media evoke an optimistic case for investing in Africa. Still, specific equity investment challenges remain. 

With regard to doing business in Africa, newspaper articles, blogs, twitter feeds, online platforms and consultancy reports can be seen as the new “Lonely Planet” for decision makers: providing guidance in markets that are still ambiguous to many decision makers. Oftentimes, an aggressively optimistic image of the African “lion” economies is evoked. Some of the selling arguments are:

  Economic growth trajectories which vastly outpace those of the Northern Hemisphere economies

  A rapidly growing middle class, currently estimated by the AfDB at 10.8 million people […]

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Dear African VC, angel: international investors are stealing your lunch

By Martin Carstens on May 13, 2013

This article by Martin Carstens originally appeared on Ventureburn, a VC4Africa publishing partner.

Is there a shortage of VC and angel funding in Africa? Pose the question to entrepreneurs and the answer is bound to be yes. Omidyar’s latest report on African entrepreneurship found that 71% of respondents surveyed in South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Tanzania believe that there is a shortage of equity capital to start new firms. African financiers disagree, simply saying that many projects are not fundable.

Whatever the case may be, the International Finance Corporation estimates that up to 84% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Africa are either un-served or underserved, representing a value gap in credit financing of US$140-billion to US$170-billion. So, what’s a startup to do?

Instead […]

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Do’s and don’ts for entrepreneurs: VC intro emails – 10 lessons from a venture capitalist

By Keet van Zyl on March 27, 2013

This article by Keet van Zyl originally appeared on Ventureburn, a VC4Africa publishing partner.

About the author: Keet van Zyl is a dynamic investment expert with extensive growth equity experience. He worked at industry-leading companies such as Procter & Gamble, Investec Bank and HBD Venture Capital; and co-founded growth equity fund manager KnifeCapital as well as AngelHub – SA’s first Business Angel Investment Group.

Here’s the thing: if you do a cold-call pitch to a Venture Capital (VC) investor using email, your proposal is already at the bottom of the pile before anyone has even read the subject line.

The reason: VCs mostly rely on warm referrals from within their trusted networks to generate dealflow, as this acts as an automatic filter and increases the quality of proposals. […]

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