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 are fast growing companies with potential to scale and/or have disruptive business models. More importantly the quality of the companies is improving over time;
» 1,8 million page views: VC4Africa.biz facilitated 1,8 million page views and 500.000 visits. The average time per visit is 6 minutes, a considerable amount of time considering an average of 10-20 seconds for most websites;
» Growing investor network: There are more than 600 Angels and early stage VC investors part of the VC4Africa network;
» Industry Research: VC4Africa launched the first SME Performance Index, an annual initiative to track the developments and progress of the entrepreneurs over time;
» DEMO Africa: The VC4Africa community supported the 2nd annual DEMO Africa event in Nairobi, Kenya. 40 innovative high potential entrepreneurs were brought together from across the continent to launch their new products and services for an audience of investors and international media;
» Global Meetup: On Thursday, November 21, VC4Africa members came together in 26 cities in 20 countries around the world as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2013. The first global event dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship in Africa attracted 2000 signups.
Entrepreneurs making progress:
» USD $12M in funding: Combined, 70 ventures reported being able to successfully secure USD $12,000,000 in funding. On average, startups secured USD $80,000 in funding vs. expansion companies that secured USD $237,000. There is about a 75/25 split for Commercial vs. Grant funding for the companies that have been able to secure capital to date;
» Revenue jumps from $5K to $50K+: Ventures are improving their revenue performance over time. By the second operating year, 64% of the ventures had succeeded in generating revenue. For example, 57.1% of the ventures registered in 2010 show less than USD $5K in revenue. 43.8% of those same ventures expect to generate more than USD $50K by the close of 2013.
» FTEs from 450 to over 2000: It is clear the companies are growing in size and adding full time positions (FTE’s) year on year. By 2012 the companies employed a combined 449 people. By 2013 the same companies expected to increase their combined staff to 2,263 FTEs;
New services launched in 2013:
» Peer Mentoring: In the first half of 2013 we launched the peer-to-peer mentorship marketplace. VC4Africa’s research shows 55.6% percent of the entrepreneurs registered on the VC4Africa platform are looking for mentorship. We now have 100 dedicated business experts that dedicate their time, network and expertise free of charge. As a result, nearly 70 companies have received support. Join our mentorship marketplace too!
» VC4Africa Talent: A free service for companies to list job openings and connect with possible candidates. True to the VC4Africa mission, we seek to disrupt the marketplace by putting the entrepreneur in control. VC4Africa Talent works to cut the recruiters out of the hiring process and make connections directly between startups and the talent needed to drive their development. Check out the companies now hiring!
» Investor Pro Account: Through a VC4Africa Pro Account investors gain access to customized dashboards and are able to set up alerts. They can network and pool resources with fellow investors in VC4Africa’s investor network. Through a strategic partnership with the accountancy firm BDO, the 5th largest tax consultancy worldwide, investors gain access to deal making support in 15 African countries. Read more about the VC4Africa Pro Account.
» Fundraising Bootcamps: VC4Africa ran both the June and September cohorts, part of an intensive acceleration program for entrepreneurs looking to open a round of fundraising. Many of the entrepreneurs have gone on to secure funding and now support new teams as alumni.
We are so thankful!
We want to thank you for being a visitor to the website, attending a VC4Africa meetup, or signing up as a member of the community. Thanks to our mentors who give so much of their time and energy to up and coming entrepreneurs working to overcome such daunting and difficult challenges. Thanks to our investors for their membership to the community and their continued support of our efforts. Thanks to our customers and colleagues in the industry. Our joint collaborations are essential to connecting resources across the ecosystem. Finally, thanks to all of the entrepreneurs who are part of the VC4Africa community. You continue to inspire us all and we continue to celebrate your success.
What will 2014 bring?
The core of VC4Africa’s membership is comprised of transformational entrepreneurs that have the potential to build scalable enterprises that generate a high social return. We support these individuals as a community in the shared vision that they have the potential to transform the world around us. These entrepreneurs are connecting to VC4Africa faster than ever before possible and their numbers continue to grow exponentially. Although progress has been made, really our work has just begun.
In 2014 we will continue our efforts to support and celebrate Africa’s greatest innovators. We hope to contribute to a thriving startup ecosystem and support the development of angel networks across the continent. More capital is needed to fuel the growth of early stage companies and we actively need to invest in the capacity development of the entrepreneurs and the teams they are working to build. As a growing number of entrepreneurs from across the continent achieve success, so does our ability to support new generations of entrepreneurs coming up.
Let’s make 2014 a year full of African success stories! From the team at VC4Africa, we wish you a prosperous new year!