ViKtoria Ventures aims at finding and supporting scalable early stage businesses looking to fundraise for their businesses by offering mentorship and financial advisory services. Based on our experience, we have singled out local angel investing as one of the key factors to catalyse growth and eventual exits of companies in Kenya. Since 2014 we have hosted angel investor networking and pitching events – dubbed ‘ViKtoria Angel Network (VAN) Events’ – as part of our efforts to build a vibrant angel investing community. These events attract local business angels and start-ups seeking investment. At the events angel investors are trained on deal appraisal, structuring, due diligence and exits as well as networking opportunities and exposure to potential investments through pitching sessions. On the other hand, participating start-ups benefit from coaching and mentoring, networking opportunities, business introductions, and peer-to-peer learning with the ultimate goal of securing angel investment. It is in this vein that we recently held our first VAN event of 2016. The event held at SevenSeas Technologies on February 11 attracted several young entrepreneurs keen on pitching to and meeting one-on–one with the vibrant, patient and resourceful angel investors present.
Stephen Gugu, one of ViKtoria’s co-founders, opened the session with a brief introduction of the company and the typical investment process for VAN members. More importantly, Stephen outlined ViKtoria’s 2016 angel investment strategy – Some of our key targets for 2016 include executing 3 deals worth at least $200,000, holding quarterly pitching events, enlisting at least 10 active angel investors in our network, and maintaining an investment pipeline all year round.
Three pre-screened early-stage ventures pitched their ventures for 10-minutes followed by a 10-minute Q&A session where the angels openly analyzed the business models of the startups.
The first business to take the floor was Student Finance Africa (“SFA”); a fintech company that lends to students who wish to pursue post-secondary educational programs and to the parents of those students, who will act as a consigner for their children. Using predictive analytics and credit assessment tools, SFA assesses the parent’s overall financial health and the student’s academic and professional promise in order to make credit decisions.
SFA’s products are largely classified into two: loan products for university students with a repayment period of 15 years and loan products for university graduates pursuing technical programs with a repayment period of 2 years. The investors addressed the issue of the long loan tenure that the young entrepreneur promised to take into consideration as she continues to refine her business model.
The next presentation was by Bamba POS, which provides an affordable cloud-based Point Of Sales system and retail automation solution. In addition, their solution utilizes merchant data to extend access to working capital financing.
The last company to present was Lynk which offers an application used to find, screen and book reliable household workers. Lynk envisions a world in which everyone can enjoy job security, fair wages, a safe work environment and career growth. Additionally, for a household, hiring someone for a job should be safe, convenient, and fair. Their platform is designed to address each of these issues, offering a growing network of qualified and verified professionals. The angels seemed particularly concerned about quality control of informal workers. However, it turned out the startup team had considered this and had figured out some ways to tackle the challenge.
To conclude, we had an open discussion where the angels provided some guidance to the entrepreneurs on the areas they would need to improve on in order to raise their chances of raising funds.
We have since received great feedback from the participants and are looking forward to an even bigger and better VAN event in a couple of months.