We are in a unique position to promote the continent’s most promising individuals (and their brilliant ideas) with the network, knowledge and capital they need to succeed in challenging circumstances. When local governments and institutions turn a blind idea, banks refuse to open their doors and micro-finance institutions can’t offer the right capital, our global network is there to fill the gap. And thankfully our peer-2-peer platform goes beyond capital and offers a lot of the information and support entrepreneurs need to put it to good use.
As part of this mission we launched an innovative matchmaking platform VC4Africa.biz. We are still working through an incredible ‘to do list’ and have a host of exciting partnerships, features and programs in the works, but it’s great to see that our early infrastructure is already having some meaningful impact. Most importantly, we can say our entrepreneurs are securing funding and finding partners needed to grow and scale their business. Rick, the founder of Market-fleas.com , an online craft market similar to the more renowned Etsy.com, was one of the first to close an investment round via VC4Africa.biz.
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.” He goes on to explain, “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.” Market-Fleas is not alone and iYam mobi and a few other ventures are now in discussions with possible investors so it’s good to see more deals are in the works.
Other members don’t require funding and are finding the strategic partners they need to expand their business instead. Brian, the founder of Next2.Us writes, “Your website has been very helpful to me. I was able to connect to a company that wants to represent Next2.Us geosocial sms network throughout Africa. We have executed a Framework Agreement and are finalizing a relationship with a SMS provider that will allow Next2.Us Africa to offer our geosocial network service in Kenya.” Following his developments on twitter @hungrygarden it’s great to see they are now engaging local developers to test the service now live!
I think we are just scratching the surface of what is possible and already we have 86 ventures online from more than 20 African countries. What is really exciting is to see the diversity of projects across countries and sectors. If you are en entrepreneur working on a great project and in need of support feel free to reach out and connect with our network. You can sign up as a member on VC4Africa.biz and visit the Ventures section where you can post your project.
Posted By Ben White
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November 9th 2010 – Today VC4Africa starts the first African online venture capital matchmaking platform at http://www.vc4africa.biz/.
Many investors are looking for businesses to get involved with but have difficulties finding promise. At the same time many businesses seek knowledge, capital and practical support. Without matchmaking their potential is never realized, hindering economic growth.
The VC4Africa community currently consists of 10.000 members worldwide. Business ideas have been registered through the website and entrepreneurs are seeing benefit. VC4Africa works to visualize the continent’s business potential. VC4Africa has the ultimate goal to contribute to a paradigm shift focusing on transparency and entrepreneurship as a leading agents for development. VC4Africa wants to become the one-stop shop for African business development.
VC4Africa is a truly global initiative with the team working from Cameroon, Kenya, The Netherlands and the USA. Events (or what the community calls VC4Africa Meetups) have already been hosted in Kigali, Kampala, Nairobi, Johannesburg, Lagos, Tunis, San Francisco, Atlanta, Washington DC, New York, London and Amsterdam.
Due diligence is a limitation factor for investors interested in Africa. It costs too much time and capital to find genuine entrepreneurs with a solid business idea and plan. As a result, most existing funds seek large deals and better margins. MicroCredit is limited in its ability to support high growth businesses, this results in entrepreneurs with potential, struggling on the sideline.
VC4Africa solves these issues by applying innovative technology that leverages the power of the crowd. Anyone anywhere in the world is able to positively contribute to the development of African businesses with their own competencies and interests.
Open up! Now is the time. Let’s connect!
VC4Africa is an initiative by Ben White (Founder, Amsterdam), Bill Zimmerman (Founder ActivSpaces, Cameroon) and Bart Lacroix (Founder 1%Club, Amsterdam).
VC4Africa is an online community dedicated to connecting innovative, Africa-based entrepreneurs (and their ideas) with access to knowledge, markets and capital— i.e. mentors, business partners and investors. The focus is on entrepreneurs with innovative projects that apply new technology, new media, the web, mobile and green energy.
For more information contact: Ben White
Telephone number: +31 (0)6 29 227 200