Access to funding and lack of support systems are some of the biggest challenges startup founders in sub-Saharan Africa face. And while venture capital and founder support programs are growing within the continent, much remains to be done to meet the financing, technology and social capital needs of the particularly marginalized groups such as female founders.
It is these gaps that continue to inspire the development of new programs, such as: madica by US-based venture capital firm Flourish businesseswho hopes to reduce the burden of building startups.
Launched today, Madica is a pan-African investment program that aims to provide funding, technology support and mentorship to underrepresented founders across the continent. The sector-independent program focuses on technology startups in the pre-seed phase, where most ideas fail.
The program has set aside $6 million for investments in up to 30 African startups, each receiving up to $200,000 in return for equity capital, leveraging much-needed funding. The initial investment phase lasts three years.
“While investment is booming on the continent, funds are often disproportionately focused on a few well-networked entrepreneurs and shifted to the more prominent tech hubs… Madica is industry independent and plans to do more by providing hands-on support, comprehensive resources, access to networks and more, which is why we have set aside an equal amount for programmatic support in addition to $6 million in investment capital,” said Manica’s chief executive, Emmanuel Adegboye.
“We encourage founders across the continent to apply to our program. We believe Africans have an unparalleled entrepreneurial spirit, and one of Madica’s core goals is to ensure a level playing field for every African founder,” he said.
Madica said it is also keen to reach underserved markets on the continent, beyond the established hubs of Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. This is part of its commitment to ensure pan-African reach by supporting local and female founders.
To be eligible for the program, founders must work full-time on their idea, have a minimum viable product, and have received little or no institutional funding. Application and admission to the program will take place continuously.
Madica is also working with AfriLabs, Pariti, Africa Early Stage Investor Summit, CELO foundation and Rising Tide to identify entrepreneurs to support.
Participating founders will be matched with mentors, including Isis Nyong’o, the Asphalt & Ink partner; Ceviant Finance co-founder, Idris Saliu, and Wendy Hoffman, the Capital Legal Counsel at The Delta.
“Madica is an investment in the African venture ecosystem, with the bold goal of creating a broader systemic shift. Through Madica, we plan to develop a framework of mentors, create world-class programming, raise follow-up capital and leverage Flourish’s global presence to extend the reach of local networks. These will ultimately benefit other participants in the ecosystem — startups, investors and policy makers,” he said Ameya Upadhyaythe venture partner at Flourish Ventures, an early stage fintech VC whose portfolio includes Flutterwave and Paga from Nigeria.
“We hope Madica can help change the narrative around African startups – reduce the perception of risk, raise more capital, inspire more founders and gain more media coverage,” said Upadhyay.