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Crowdfunding

How to find Investors for your Startup

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Africa has experienced a rampant rise of inventions and startups that have gone a long way from the minds of inventors to disrupting the Sub Saharan ecosystem solving very many problems that have been a setback to the growth of the continent for ages. From the rise of startups in fintech helping in payment related challenges, innovations in media and advertising mechanisms, health sector, eCommerce and so many others. It is evident that through technology Africa will unleash its potential as a continent on the rise with new opportunities coming up thus entrepreneurs with brilliant ideas have the chance to bring them to life.

Starting a startup and scaling it up has not been a walk in the park to many African change makers due to so many prevailing factors and conditions. One of the biggest factor is the struggle to have a sustaining financial muscle that makes it possible  for startups to develop their products and services and growing their customer base. The ability of a startup to attract a pool of investors is one of the ways of ensuring a startup survives  its initial stages. Investors who believe in an idea have the power to determine the success of a startup but the big question remains on where to find the suitable investors who will pump in finances and advice. Here are several primary strategies startups can use to meet investors.

Cold Call Submissions

There are countless lists of Angel Investor groups online over the internet where you can research and find out what firms do deals in what industries and then send them a proposal to them for review. Be sure that your chances of even getting an answer is at best one percent and your chance of that answer being a yes is about the same as that of getting hit by a car crossing the street while reading this article. The main point is that you really need to have your idea pitched at its best since you are using email to reach out to investors.

Using a Deal Broker

Way back before the internet when dinosaurs roamed the earth, If you wanted to get the attention of an Angel Investor, Venture Capital firms or Private equity firms you had to go to a broker pay a good sum of money to have them develop a plan for you and then use their connections as a broker to introduce you to deal makers. Most of these ‘plan sharks’ as I would call them, are just looking to take money and have no more chance of getting your startup funded than one percent and above.

Online Communities

There are so many online communities such as Gust, SeenInvest and Crunchbase which are a den of high profile investors that out lay what each of the investors are looking to invest in. It is therefore hard to go wrong with a strategy like that and often has a good chance of hearing from the investors

Local Angel Investor Network

Some investors prefer to invest locally. Local investors have access to inside data on local business startups and can plug in you into a good number of opportunities. Most of these networks have a range of the amount of funds they are wiling to put in startups but they offer a good chance for entrepreneurs. A good example is Kenya’s KCB Lions Den.

Retain a Business or Patent Legislator

The best way to get introduced to ‘people who know people’ is to hire the best lawyer or attorney that money can buy, pay the retainer, take them to lunch once in a while then have them introduce you to other clients of theirs that are in a similar industries that can help you move your deal forward. This has a high chance of success and lunch is always good.

Crowdfund It

This happens to be one of the widely used means of funding startups where many small amounts of money are raised from a large number of people over the internet. It involves  three parties: The project initiator who proposes the project, individuals or groups who support the project as see it being viable and a moderating organization which brings the parties together Kickstarter being an example

Private Investors

The best chance of getting funded are private investors who are actively seeking and building opportunities. This is a much better odds if you have your act together. If you have something that is ready then it is the best chance of moving forward you will find.

 

Resquebnb is a new ‘Airbnb’ connecting stranded Kenyans to food & shelter in election-related violence hotspots

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Image credits:Dailymail.co.uk
Image credits: dailymail.co.uk

Ushahidi.com was launched by a group of volunteers to map post election violence after Kenya’s disputed general election in December 2007. Ten years later, Resquebnb has launched to connect stranded Kenyans to food and shelter after election-related violence claimed over 20 lives leaving several injured and stranded in the capital Nairobi and Kisumu town in western Kenya.

Resquebnb, coined from rescue and bed and breakfast or bnb as made popular by Airbnb, the global short accommodation marketplace is a collaborative initiative by social media enthusiasts and humanitarian volunteers led by Kenyan developer Tevin Otieno. and Twitter user @MissNyawira. The site, now in its raw form, is being used to raise cash and food donations as well as connect stranded Kenyans to temporary accommodation from willing but vetted volunteers for both sexes.

“We are a community seeking to map, match and connect those in need of help with willing volunteer hosts following the just concluded #ElectionsKE2017,” the team posted on its website allowing users to either host or ask for shelter.

The site has partnered with Kenya’s on-demand B2B courier firm Sendy to help get donations to those in need for free. Food donations can be dropped off at any Uchumi outlet while cash donations can be channeled through mobile crowdfunding platform M-Changa though its Lipa Na Mpesa PayBill number 891300  and account number 13923 or via Airtel Money though Paybill Business Name: MCHANGA and reference 13923.

By the end of Sunday, the M-Changa donations had surpassed the volunteers target of Ksh. 150,000.

The platform might not help everyone affected in the violence as most of the victims are low income slum dwellers who might not afford the data to be online now but it’s a positive contribution to save lives as Police and pro-government militia slam violence to opposition demonstrators who feel their victory was stolen.  The opposition led by Raila Odinga claimed the post-election protests have claimed over 100 lives while the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights said just 24 people have been killed. However, Police spokesman George Kinoti said the the force had only recorded six deaths. Kenyans have been infuriated by news of a ten-year old girl who was shot and killed by a stray bullet at her parents house in Mathare slums.

There have been reports of police and the goons breaking into peoples homes to quell the opposition demonstrators.

 

 

Fintech platform Trine raises €6M series A to scale its operations in East Africa & Europe

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© Emmy Jonsson

Swedish crowd-investment platform for profitable solar energy projects TRINE  has raised 6 million EUR in Series A funding to scale its operations in East Africa and Europe and expand the crowd-investing platform’s funding capacity to reach more people.

The funding round was led by venture investor, Gullspång Invest with participation from Andrew Reicher, the Chairman of Berkeley Energy Africa, and Lars Thunell, the former CEO of the International Finance Corporation.

According to Sam Manaberi​, CEO ​and Founder of TRINE​: ​“This funding round, led by Gullspång Invest, allows us to scale our business by opening multiple projects across the TRINE platform, thereby attracting greater numbers of crowd-investors who want to fund solar energy projects with impact.”

“As a long-term investor with a great reputation in the market, Gullspång Invest will be a great fit in accelerating our growth and helping us achieve our goals. They invest in meaningful businesses, and they have an excellent portfolio of companies that we look forward to learning from.”

One in five people on the planet do not have access to electricity, but it does not have to be like that. TRINE is on track to eliminate energy poverty for 66 million people within the next 5 years, and over the next 24 months. The increased operations will see the TRINE platform channel 100 million EUR of crowd-investment into solar energy projects.

Before this raise, the firm in October 2016 said it was raising 3,500,000 EUROS ($3.7m) to scale its operations in East Africa. This raise will help it sign up more solar partners, who use the site to raise working capital from crowd-investors to be able to offer affordable and reliable solar energy to local communities. The fintech firm helps to relieve the pressure of up-front costs, whilst encouraging people to abandon the traditional use of expensive and harmful fuels.

“We aim to bring solar energy to the 1.2 billion people in need of access to electricity and make it easy for people to make a social and environmental impact while also earning a return on their investment,” said Sam Manaberi, founder and CEO Trine. ”We had a seed round of 5 million SEK at the beginning of 2016. Our next major step, in terms of funding, is our A-round. We’re currently in the raising process, and we’re targeting around 3.5 million EUR to allow us to scale as planned.”

Sam added that Trine is fully focused on building its platform and scaling globally.

Founded in 2015 in Gothenburg, Sweden, TRINE is democratising the finance of solar energy and creating a new for-profit business model that serves as a virtuous circle; benefiting investors, helping solar companies scale their businesses, and providing rural communities with the clean, renewable energy that they so sorely need.

Sam & Andreas

With operations in Nairobi, Kenya, the fintech startup removes the issue of upfront expensive costs to local communities with its crowd-investing model, which gives people the opportunity to support solar energy projects while also delivering a return on investment. The minimum amount one can invest per project is 25 EUR. The firm has already catalysed more than 1 million EUR of crowd-investments for thirteen off-grid projects in six Sub-Saharan countries, empowering over 120,000 people to escape energy poverty.

Magnus Brandberg​, ​Partner ​at ​Gullspång Invest​, adds: “As a family-owned investment company, we think in generations rather than quarters, which means we prefer to provide companies with patient funding, in addition to time and advice when needed. Globally, there are over one billion people still lacking access to electricity, and we will do the best we can to help TRINE tackle this challenge, and work towards a world without energy poverty, no matter how long it takes.”

TRINE intends to provide 66 million people access to clean energy by 2022, saving 8 million tons of CO2 emissions annually.

 

 

South Africa’s Feenix.org is to students what Kickstarter is to startups

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Feenix.org aims to break the cycle of poverty in South Africa by connecting students to donors locally or globally to contribute to their education in Africa’s second biggest economy but most advanced and expensive education system.

Feenix aims to give opportunity to the public get involved  in a students education to help them get through their degrees or give them the tools they need for a better South Africa. The platform allows students to tell their story to stand out from the rest and then users can give from as little as R50 to a student’s education.

The crowdfunding portal is run by Feenix trust as a Public Benefit Organisation with support from Standard Bank and developed by Byte Orbit. Feenix will be run by a small group of young South Africans entrepreneurs, passionate about South Africa, and the difference education can make in people’s lives.

Crowdfunding is not a new concept as communities have always come together across Africa and across the world to help support each other in funerals, deaths and celebrations and weddings. Even education in Africa has been a community thing and people have always contributed generously. The only difference is that technology brings it only and to many more people than gatherings.

There are various such platforms across Africa though not focused only on education but they include Kenya’s M-Changa, ImpartFund and Donate-ng and Goodgivi.ng. Most of them work like global crowdfunding platforms Kickstarter and Indiegogo but Feenix’s main focus in student education in South Africa and nothing less where students have gone to streets to protest against high tuition for college and university courses.

YAPILI raising $32K to connect patients to physicians globally

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Patient-doctor marketplace YAPILI is seeking to raise $32,000 (30,000 Euros) to launch its pilot version free of charge for first 100 users in Botswana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe for a period of 6 months.

The platform which connects users to licensed physicians locally and internationally has turned to crowdfunding to bolster its patient to doctor platform in a move expected to reach out to the larger audience to help connect 1000 new users to a licensed doctor at hand, anywhere in the world.

Specifically, YAPILI says it will use the funds  to expand its team to onboard more users and doctors, build an Android App, up the security of health data storage, develop a matching algorithm to connect users with doctors and collaborate with data scientists for a Big Data framework.

According to the firm, for only € 30 a contributor can give a man or a woman unlimited access to a doctor on-line for 6 months. Yapili’s competition is Medx.
Check out the campaign
here.