Access to funding and the lack of support systems are the biggest challenges startup founders face in sub-Saharan Africa. And while venture capital and founder support programs are growing on the continent, much remains to be done to meet the financial, technological and social capital needs of particularly marginalized groups, such as female founders.
It’s these gaps that continue to inspire the development of new programs like Madica by US venture capital firm Flourish Ventures, which hopes to ease the burden on startups.
Launched today, Madica is a pan-African investment program that aims to provide funding, technology support and mentoring to under-represented founders across the continent. The sector-agnostic program targets tech startups at the pre-seed stage, where most ideas fail.
The program has set aside $6 million to invest in 30 African startups, each receiving up to $200,000 in equity, and tapping into much-needed funding. The initial investment phase will last for three years.
Although investment is booming on the continent, funds are often disproportionately directed to a few well-networked entrepreneurs and driven to more prominent technology hubs…Madica is sector-agnostic and aims to provide hands-on support and Double the vast resources. Access to networks and more is why, in addition to $6 million in venture 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 a unique entrepreneurial spirit and one of Madika’s main goals is to ensure a level playing field for every African founder.”
Madika said he is also keen to tap into underserved markets on the continent, outside the established hubs of Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. This is part of its effort to ensure pan-African reach by supporting local founders and women.
To be eligible for this program, founders must be working full-time on their idea, have at least a viable product, and must have received little or no institutional funding. Application and admission to the program will be periodic.
Madica is also working with AfriLabs, Pariti, Africa Early Stage Investor Summit, CELO Foundation and Rising Tide to identify entrepreneurs for support.
Participating founders will be matched with mentors including Asphalt & Ink partner Isis Nyong’o. Idris Saliu, Co-Founder of Ceviant Finance; and Wendy Hoffman, Capital Legal Counsel at Delta.
Madika is an investment in the African investment ecosystem with the bold aim of creating a broader systemic change. Through Madica, we plan to build a cadre of mentors, develop world-class programming, raise follow-on funding, and leverage Flourish’s global presence to expand the reach of local networks. These will ultimately benefit other participants in the ecosystem,” said Ameya Upadhyay, venture partner at Flourish Ventures, an early-stage fintech VC that includes Nigerian startups Flutterwave and Paga.
“We hope that Madica can help change the narrative about African startups – reduce the perception of risk, attract more capital, inspire more founders and gain more media attention,” said Upadhyay.