Savannah Funds for Tech Startups in Africa

Technology is progressively gaining predominance in African nations. It is playing a significant role in the transition from being the margin to the mainstream of the global economy.

Africa has recorded a rise in technological innovations, tech innovation hubs, and tech-related ventures. In 2016, venture capital to African Tech Start-ups was pegged at about $608 million to 1$ billion.

Investments are fast rising from Venture Capitalists (VCs), Angel Investors, the government to grow the tech industry. Savannah Funds is one of such funding for the start-ups.

About Savannah Funds

Savannah Funds, based in Nairobi, Kenya is a venture capital fund for early stage, high growth technology start-ups in Sub-Saharan Africa. Started in 2012, they have made investments in about 20 Africa focused start-ups in countries like; Kenya Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and South Africa. They have he helped these start-ups to raise over $13million in seed and venture capital funding and generated over 150 jobs.

Savannah fund is Africa’s leading technology seed fund and accelerator, offering $25,000 to $500, 000 investments in early stage tech start-ups. Savannah funds says it aims to bridge the early stage or angel and venture capital investment gap that currently exists in Africa by combining capital with mentor networks both in the region and from Silicon Valley via an accelerator program and a follow-on independent seed fund.

Benefits

A key piece of the Fund’s overall strategy is to address skills and experience gap of entrepreneurs in the region through the Accelerator Program. The accelerator program is designed to help emerging entrepreneurs build a company and launch a product. Early-stage companies participate in “cohorts” and be exposed to a program to learn from experienced local and high value and reputable mentors that have built global technology brands that are also very hands on as would be expected by angel investors.

They have built a curated curriculum of mentors in an over 2 hours sessions every week for 3 months. This is to enable start-ups see over 12 mentors dedicated over 30+ hours of mentoring across all the start-ups, face to face at the iHub, Kenya. Some of the mentors provide technical assistance and can become partners in the business to help in marketing, selling or to connect with right customers. They also provide links to specific resources, such as the UX design lab to help improve the design or usability of applications.

The Fund’s Accelerator Program deploys relatively small amounts of capital ($25-30,000 to each company in exchange for 12% equity stake) to a cohort of up to 5 start-ups at a time for 3 months.

As part of the investment there will be a $2,500 program fee that comes out of the investment to cover expenses incorporation, legal and office space. So net funding is between $22,500 – 27,500 after expenses.

In addition, if a start-up is strong enough at the end of the program, Savannah funds can fast track application to their partner investor 500Startups Accelerator in Silicon Valley which qualifies for $100,000 investment and US re-incorporation.

Eligibility

Applicants will be chosen through an online application and interview process but successful teams should apply with not just an idea but an initial prototype, early customers and revenue.

You are eligible to apply for Savannah Funds, if you:

  1. Have a product in the market with some traction and need more resources and partners to scale your ambitions for a long term and global company.
  2. Lack the connections, and social proof/validation to talk to tech focused investors.
  3. Want to partner and learn from other entrepreneurs who have done it before and tap their networks for advice so you don’t repeat the same mistakes others have.

Application

Currently, application for the program is closed. The date for the next cohort despite not communicated yet can be gotten from their application portal. Simply follow the link and register for their newsletters to get updates.

To access their FAQ, click here