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US-based VC Flourish launches Madica, an Africa-focused program to back pre-seed stage startups

  Flourish Ventures, a US-based venture capital firm  has launched , Madica  a pan-African investment program that aims to offer funding, technology support, and mentorship to underrepresented founders across the continent. The  program targets technology startups in the pre-seed stage, which is where most ideas fail.

The program has set aside $6 million for investment in up to 30 African startups, each receiving up to $200,000 in exchange for equity, availing the much needed funding. The initial investment phase will run for three years.

“Although investment is booming on the continent, funds are often disproportionately targeted at a few well-networked entrepreneurs and skewed towards the more prominent tech hubs,” said Emmanuel Adegboye, Head of Madica. 

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“Unlike other programs, Madica is sector-agnostic and intends to double down on providing hands-on support, extensive resources, access to networks and more. This is why, in addition to $6M of investment capital, we have reserved an equal amount for programmatic support. We encourage founders across the continent to apply for our program. We believe Africans have an unmatched entrepreneurial spirit, and  one of Madica’s core goals is to ensure a level playing field for every African founder.”

The new investment program aims to address systemic challenges faced by early-stage founders in Africa, such as limited access to capital, industry networks, mentorship, and structured training.

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A central element of the program will be a carefully curated panel of seasoned African operators who will mentor Madica founders. Based on the belief that strong mentorship is a central feature of the most vibrant startup ecosystems, Madica will provide this mentor community with rewards tied to company success.

To further cultivate this sense of community, Madica intends to share a part of its financial returns with the broader ecosystem. In pioneering some of these unique features in an investment program, Madica hopes to promote a vibrant and more equitable funding environment on the continent. 

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Madica, short for ‘Made In Africa’, is an Africa-wide initiative and invites founders from across the continent, including those outside the large tech hubs of Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt and South Africa.

Madica will prioritize companies led by local founders, women, and those focused on frontier sectors to shore up gaps in funding on the continent. For example, African-educated CEOs raise significantly less than their foreign-educated counterparts in both number of deals (44%) and in amount (28%).

Start-ups with a female CEO fare far worse, as they are overlooked in favor of start-ups led by male CEOs, with 93% of the 2021 funding in Africa going to the latter. 

Madica operates an open application process so founders can apply without an introduction. The program will work with partners such as incubators, accelerators, and angels to identify and support entrepreneurs.

All applicants will undergo the same evaluation procedure, and investments will be made on a rolling basis throughout the year. Applications arenow open, and interested start-ups can find out more and apply by visiting Madica’s website.

To be eligible for the program, mission-driven start-ups must ,have a minimum viable product (MVP),have founder(s) who are engaged full time  and have received little or no institutional funding 

Ameya Upadhyay, Venture Partner at Flourish Ventures, added, “Madica is an investment in the African venture ecosystem, with the audacious goal of creating a broader systemic shift. Through Madica, we intend to develop a cadre of mentors, create world-class programming, crowd-in follow-on capital and leverage Flourish’s global presence to extend the reach of local networks. These will eventually benefit other participants in the ecosystem – startups, investors, and policymakers.”

Milcah Lukhanyu
Milcah Lukhanyu
I cover tech news across Africa. Drop me an email at [email protected]

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