Funding is critical for startups in today’s business world. You may have the most brilliant business idea but without the appropriate funds to back up your business, you won’t be able to make your dreams come to fruition. Future Africa is one of the foremost African platforms that aid African entrepreneurs and startups to build, grow and expand. This article focuses on the history, portfolio, and investments made by this company.
What is Future Africa?
Future Africa Fund has been in existence since 2015 but was made official in January 2020. The company connects investors to innovative startups and in the process, turns the most difficult challenges in Africa into global business opportunities for startups.
The company believes that a future where purpose and prosperity are within everyone’s reach can be built through supporting startups with capital, coaching, and community.
Who is the Founder and CEO of Future Africa?
Iyinoluwa Aboyeji is the CEO of Future Africa. He is a serial entrepreneur concerned with the public interest. Iyinoluwa was until last 2020, the CEO of Flutterwave. Flutterwave uses payments technology and infrastructure to link Africa to the global economy.
His leadership drove Flutterwave to become one of the fastest-growing payments technology businesses of all time. The company has processed over $2 billion across over 50 million transactions with annual revenues of millions of dollars a year and attracting significant investments from top players in the global payments arena.
Iyinoluwa is also the co-founder of Andela. Andela is the largest engineering organization in Africa and has over 1000 software engineers.
Iyin now spends time helping founders, philanthropists, and investors from around the world as head of Fund for Africa’s Future. He helps them understand the ways of building impactful and fast-growing technology businesses in Africa. Primarily, he identifies entrepreneurs who have the passion, experience, integrity, and courage to build businesses in Africa and at the same time develops an informed point of view backed by data on how to turn the challenges in Africa into incredible business opportunities. Fund for Africa’s Future celebrates entrepreneurs who are frontrunners and empowers them to serve the next generation of innovative entrepreneurs.
Who are the Co-founders of Future Africa?
Chuba Ezekwesili, Olabinjo Adeniran, and Barakat Adenike Sheriff.
Value proposition of Future Africa
A strong community comprising of Venture capitalists, angel investors, talented professionals, and advisors.
Successful partnerships with innovators to build high-growth technology businesses.
Future Africa manages several portfolios and has made many investments in African startups. The company in 2020 claimed to have 160 limited partners and to have funded 14 companies with a total sum of one million dollars.
So far, the startups that have beneficiaries of Future Africa are:
Moniemie, MarketForce, NexFord University, Andela, Rxa, Ramani, Payhippo, Kwara, Edves, Lami world, Ndovu, Sudo, Max Rides, Lori, Buycoins, Bamboo, Rise, Stears, Eden, Mdaasglobal, Tambua health, Stitch, Ongair, Boost, Sote, 54gene, Flutterwave, Spleet, Shara, Moove, Big cabal media, Stem cafe, Indicina, Kasi, Kobo, Afriex, Relef, Chaka, Termii, Suplias, Evolve credit and Smile Identity
How does Future Africa operate?
Future Africa uses two models:
1. Future Africa Fund
2. Future Africa Collective.
What is the Future Africa fund?
This fund enables limited partners to acquire diversified returns without having to take a specific risk tied to a deal. A minimum of $25,000 per quarter can be committed by limited partners. This makes them gain pro-rata exposure to all investments that Future Africa is involved in.
With the committed capital from the partners, Future Africa can make a firm commitment to founders. This gives Future Africa significant leverage in competitive rounds.
The funds of various investors and business angels are brought together and five startups are presented to them each quarter for investment. $5000 is the minimum amount to be invested by each member of the fund.
Some of the portfolios in this fund include 54Gene ($19.7m raised since its creation), Kobo360 ($37.3m raised), Lori Systems (nearly $38m raised), Bamboo, and Chaka ($1.5m raised).
What is the Future Africa Collective?
This is an innovation fund that is centered around people. It allows the carefully curated community of co-investors to invest with Future Africa on a deal-by-deal basis. This investment is done through investment syndicates or at every quarter via the Future Africa Rolling Fund.
How Future Africa invests
To build a future filled with purpose and prosperity for everyone, Future Africa provides capital, coaching, and community support to empower founders. Capital is one of the primary vehicles of support. the company shows its commitment to building Africa’s future by first investing capital into startups and then layering coaching and community support.
About $4 million of capital has been invested into 45 startups across several countries in Africa operating in different industries. Over $350 million has been raised by these companies in follow-on funding. They are worth over $1.5 Billion and employs over 5000 people.
How to apply for funding from Future Africa:
Things to note before pitching to Future Africa:
- Future Africa invests in people. It is the centre of what the company does.
- Future Africa is sector-neutral. Investments are done by the company in technology-driven companies with high growth across industries like Healthcare, Agriculture, Logistics, Hospitality, Software As A Service, Finance, Communications, Media & Entertainment, Retail, and Commerce.
- Future Africa invests using a framework called TIME.
What is the meaning of TIME?
Technology: Future Africa invests in businesses that are solely about technology or use any aspect of technology to solve different problems in different industries.
Infrastructure: The company invests in startups that are building the physical or digital infrastructure that will facilitate the African future desired by the company.
Media: Media startups that shape new narratives get investments by Future technology. The fund is interested in startups that are telling new stories and also exploring new revenue models alongside mass reach and consumer platforms.
Environment: Future Africa invests in agricultural startups that enable more environmentally friendly smallholder farming. Also, preference is given to recycling or upcycling startups.
6 steps for funding
Step 1: Apply to join the portfolio of founders by filling funding form.
Step 2: Preliminary review
A large number of pitch decks and applications are received and this takes an average of 6 weeks.
Step 3: Meeting with founders on Wednesdays
Step 4: Evaluation of Talent, Design, Data and Distribution)
Step 5: Due Diligence
Step 6: Closing/Funding
Important facts to note:
1. Future Africa invest at pre-seed and seed stages of companies.
2. The company looks out for Minimum Valuable Products which can be a website, landing page, a demo or product prototype.
3. Founders who want to build technology(software or hardware) products are encouraged to have a technical co-founder.
4. Traction is considered important at the pre-seed and seed stages. People should be using the product or service.
5. $25,000 – $500,000 is provided for funding.
6. After funding companies with capital, Future Africa work closely with founders to support them as they build products and scale companies.
7. Future Africa receives hundreds of pitches and the team takes time to carefully review each pitch. Patience is required from the pitchers for the process to be completed.
Future Africa is one of the foremost platforms investing in Africa businesses, providing capital, a support structure, and community for the growth and scaling of African businesses that will ultimately create a bright future of opportunities on the continent.