If you could tack a ringtone onto inbound email, Jason Njoku’s would be ringing off the hook. Announcing that you’ve got a couple million dollars to spread will do that. Now that Spark is flush with new capital, to the tune of $2 million, how do they plan to deploy it?
First, a quick look at the first one million they raised in May. When the conglomerate launched (that’s what Jason is calling it now), there were already a bunch of companies in the portfolio, which means that monies had already been or were being disbursed. Jason gives us some idea of what the companies got, without going into detail.
At Spark, our initial seed stage deals are priced anywhere between $30,000-$50,000 money in at $80,000 – $200,000 valuations. Where our angel deals are priced at $300k-1.5Mn, we have committed $1.4Mn to our companies in five months.
Jason has however told me that they now tend to make $50k investments because according to him “anything below that is pointless”. In that same conversation, I learnt that ToLet, Gidimint and Hotels have received $700k between them, this year.
There are three main ways Spark could spend its $2 million
Spark hubs – the official release confirmed what I already gathered from sources — Spark intends to establish “hubs” around the country. “Around the country” brings up a map with 36 dots in my head, but that’s obviously hyperbole. Beyond the presumed aim of reaching non-Lagos based entrepreneurs, it would be good to know if other purposes will be served. Also, there’s no info as to just how much will go toward that purpose, which locations/cities they are looking at, or a timeline. We’ll see.
New deals – I’m not privy to the method for determining where the oil to be drilled is, but looking at Spark’s portfolio, a speculatory pattern around local niches that are perceived to be untapped but potentially high growth market opportunities becomes obvious. Jason isn’t done prospecting — he says Spark is looking to close 6-7 more deals in the next few months. In fact he’s in Lagos right now, presumably for that purpose.
More wood behind existing arrows – Spark will definitely be putting more cash into some of the concerns that are ongoing to keep things moving at a fast clip. Mark Essien’s Hotels is one of the most promising of the golden geese, but probably the one that’ll require the most maintenance, especially now that it’s got high powered competition in Rocket Internet’s Jovago to contend with.
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