Please describe how your project has been successful and how that success is measured
VC4Africa is the largest and fastest growing social network for investors and entrepreneurs dedicated to building businesses in Africa. Our business is connecting people and ideas: we are the only open and accessible platform dedicated to the subject and our network already consists of over 10.000 entrepreneurs and investors from more than 250 countries.
We facilitate 364 active forum discussions, 157 events focused on business in Africa, 38 Incubators and 886 community generated blog postings. We have hosted self-organized VC4Africa meetups in Kampala, Nairobi (2x), Kigali, Johannesburg, Lagos, Abuja, Douala, Buea, Tunis, San Francisco, Atlanta, New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles, London, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Paris and Leuven.
Central to our mission is the business of connecting entrepreneurs (and their powerful ideas) to the networks, expertise and capital they need to grow successfully. This year we not only saw the re-branding of VC4Africa but also the launch of our new matchmaking platform VC4Africa.biz. We currently have more than 124 ventures from 30 African countries open for funding. Today, with our existing infrastructure, we are making concrete steps to achieve these goals. Our entrepreneurs are securing funding and finding partners needed to grow and scale their business.
Rick, the founder of Market-fleas.com (http://vc4africa.biz/ventures/www-market-fleas-com/), an online craft market similar to the more renowned Etsy.com, closed his first 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.”
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 (http://vc4africa.biz/ventures/next-2-us-africa/) 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.”
We are just scratching the surface of what is possible and already we have more than 100 ventures online from more than 25 African countries. The reach of VC4Africa is suprising. Our network extends well beyond existing hot-spots like Nairobi. For example we recently connected with the leading network of Angel investors in Mali. Even in these areas we see a hunger to partner, connect and support local entrepreneurs. Djigui, the founder of the leading Malian business angels club, and also founder of the first business school based on entrepreneurship in west Africa, writes, ‘Is it possible that you organize a meetup at Bamako, the Malian capital? The entrepreneurial scene is increasing more and more..,because unemployment is growing each year, ie: each years we have more than 60,000 students and even 0.001% do not get job. So entrepreneurship is the only key to promote SMEs to reduce unemployement. I think that VC4Africa can help entrepreneurs here to build businesses.’
This is just a sample of the entrepreneurs, the ideas and the networks that already come together in VC4Africa. Now with the right partners and dedicated resources we believe we can greatly expand on our existing infrastructure and vibrant network that will further realize African success stories.
The new VC4Africa.biz matchmaking platform has now been live one month. Some of our first testimonials:
1) “Hey guys, http://vc4africa.biz/ventures/www-market-fleas-com/ already has a potential investor, so big ups on the platform. We tried many different platforms and none of them even gave us a response, but after only three days we got a response here. Keep up the good work and i’ll be spreading the word.” Rick (Rick has since secured funding)
2) “Being an entrepreneur, I've been around the block when it comes to sites of this nature. And I must say; awesome! If you are able to attract investors successfully, this will become the one-stop shop for African business development. The site is easy to use and best of all, unique. All the best and thank you!” Louis
3) “Your web site 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. We are finalizing a relationship with a SMS provider that will allow Next2.Us Africa to offer our geosocial network service in Kenya in the coming weeks.” Brian (Brian is currently launching his Kenya pilot and testing the system with local techies in Nairobi).
4) "That sounds great Ben, I believe that through this platform (with its business plan crunching) is going to help many entrepreneurs." Wikins
5) “Please let me know how to support your work with the "Start-up Tool Kit" for entrepreneurs in Africa, perhaps including intellectual property and creativity content, templates, etc. and also by providing feedback to investors about valuation, due diligence, strategic guidance and advising, etc. for innovation and IP-based companies started in Africa, whether they're planning on being a regional or international business.” JiNan.
6) " Thank you for your kind welcome and above all for being one of the the founders of this medium. I believe it is going to be a very useful tool for entrepreneurs from everywhere who have the best interest of Africa and Africans. I will look forward for more interactions in the future.” Kebede
7) "Hi Ben, thanks for the thumbs up. Great platform you have founded here! Looking forward to meeting up with those interested in getting involved in my business with either funding and/or mentoring." Nicolette