Access to funding and a lack of support systems are two of the most significant challenges that startup founders in Sub-Saharan Africa face.
While the continent’s venture capital and founder support programs are expanding, much work remains to be done to meet the financing, technology, and social capital needs of marginalized groups such as female founders.
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These gaps continue to inspire the development of new programs such as Madica by US-based venture capital firm Flourish Ventures, which aims to alleviate the burdens of starting a business.
Madica, a pan-African investment program that was launched today, aims to provide funding, technology support, and mentorship to underrepresented founders across the continent.
The sector-agnostic program focuses on pre-seed stage technology startups, which is where most ideas fail.
The program has set aside $6 million for investment in up to 30 African startups, each of which will receive up to $200,000 in exchange for equity, providing much-needed funding. The initial investment period will last 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… 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,” said Manica’s head, Emmanuel Adegboye.
Madica also stated that it is interested in expanding into underserved markets on the continent, outside of the well-established hubs of Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa. This is part of its push to ensure a pan-African reach by empowering local and female entrepreneurs.
To be eligible for the program, founders must be working full-time on their idea, have a minimum viable product, and have received little or no institutional funding. The program will accept applications and admit students on a rolling basis.
Madica also collaborates with AfriLabs, Pariti, the Africa Early Stage Investor Summit, the CELO Foundation, and Rising Tide to identify entrepreneurs to support.
Participants will be paired with mentors such as Asphalt & Ink partner Isis Nyong’o, Ceviant Finance co-founder Idris Saliu, and Wendy Hoffman, Capital Legal Counsel at The Delta.
“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,
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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,”Ameya Upadhyay, a venture partner at Flourish Ventures, an early-stage fintech VC whose portfolio includes Nigerian startups Flutterwave and Paga, agreed.
“We hope that Madica can help change the narrative around African startups – lower the perception of risk, attract more capital, inspire more founders, and garner more media attention,” said Upadhyay.