VC4Africa is a professional online platform meant to promote business and facilitate interaction between entrepreneurs and investors.
Entrepreneurs and innovators in Africa can now pitch their ideas on a web platform to find investors. Venture Capital for Africa (VC4A) aims to help small-scale start-up businesses – not by raising capital, but by creating a community platform that allows entrepreneurs to describe what they are doing or want to do, and shows investors what kind of interesting ideas there are in the African market.
Launch your favourite browser and visit VC4Africa. The website’s homepage invites you to open a free account. Remember that the online profile you create is the business card peers and investors alike will look for and read in order to learn more about you and your business ideas. The first registration step, though, does not require you to submit immediately a complete, detailed profile: simply choose a username, fill in your name and email address, and write a brief description of yourself.
If you feel like learning more about VC4Africa before you register, visit the blogs page at vc4africa.biz/blogs. Maintained by VC4A’s founders, it is updated regularly with very informative posts. The blog provides insight into VC4A’s day-to-day activities. It contains summaries of the platform’s services, interviews with some of the entrepreneurs in the community, meeting wrap-ups and more.
One excellent feature of VC4africa is its ‘meetups’. Meetups are official – though casual – get-togethers organized by VC4Africa across Africa and abroad, where entrepreneurs and investors meet, talk and share experiences. Without having to log into the member area of the website, you can read more about the recent meetups here: http://vc4africa.biz/meetups/. You will get a better idea of how meetups are conducted, who has attended previous meetups and even read quotes from participants. If you join VC4Africa, you can even organize your own meetup.
The Q&A page is where you ask questions and get answers from community members. Questions are tagged and can be searched easily by category or using the search box. Everybody is encouraged to give tips, help out new peers or just ask questions. With a community of 4,400 members from 25 different countries, you are sure to get the answer you are looking for. You can post questions anonymously but then you cannot use or benefit from any of the interactive tools the site offers, like voting, earning reputation points and subscribing to questions.
Being a VC4Africa member has many benefits. Not only can you browse through the profiles of fellow entrepreneurs, you can also see who the investors are, and what deals have been made recently. One great feature, adding a touch of fun while encouraging excellence, is the award system. With many virtual awards to be earned, members can gain a reputation in the community when they actively participate by helping their peers, sharing insights, giving advice or contributing in other ways.
To realize their business ideas, entrepreneurs need to raise start-up capital first. Microfinancing does not always provide sufficient funding, and the big deals are just too few and far between. Start-ups are always on the lookout for potential funding opportunities, contacting and building networks of peers and curious investors to promote their business ideas. First-time entrepreneurs, lacking the necessary connections needed to find the right investor, can use VC4Africa virtual venture space to present their ideas and receive feedback from fellow members.
All members can browse through the extensive list of individual ventures, each presented in a fact sheet, which you can use to share your own venture idea with others by entering a ‘pitch’ and complementing it with categories, tags and symbols that will help investors understand and find your venture. You do not have to show all the information about your venture or innovation to members: you can decide what information to make public. VC4Africa’s user base is dynamic and quick to help or give feedback. You can connect to the website with your Facebook, Twitter or Google accounts and befriend fellow VC4A members.
VC4Africa is meant to promote business and facilitate interaction between entrepreneurs and investors. The platform is a professional space where deals can be made but where risk exists as well. It is therefore important to read and understand the terms of service and disclaimer.
VC4Africa is the fastest-growing online community of investors, ‘angels’ and entrepreneurs dedicated to building business in Africa. Investors can find interesting companies, see which businesses are raising capital, follow their progress and gain exclusive access to documents. They can network with fellow investors and see who is investing. Entrepreneurs use the platform to connect their young companies with other start-ups and access secure deal rooms and tools for networking with investors.