This article was written by Maya Horgan Famodu – partner & founder of Ingressive Capital – and reviewed by TechCabal’s editorial team. All views are hers and not attributable to TechCabal.

Sustainability and African tech startups

Ingressive Capital is soon launching our second Africa-focused investment fund at a much larger size, and for those of us who are not going anywhere and have built lives, teams, and careers in this ecosystem, sustainability matters. 

What do I mean by sustainability? 

Although some foreign investors are happy to sign term sheets regardless of valuations, as prices are still better than their home market and African tech is unquestionably booming; those of us here for the long term need to ensure signed valuations match the pace of growth as well as immediate TAM (total addressable market). This is to ensure not only upticks (and no down rounds) in future rounds but increasing amounts of foreign direct investment over the years (IJNA🙃). 

I started my investment work in Nigeria in 2014–when there was a negligible amount of venture FDI, and I remain conscious of how to steer in a different direction. Regarding the recent article—lol—my point was clearly missed. 

The popular sentiment holds that the market is and should be the only valuation indicator. However, global economic volatility and some high-profile recent down-rounds have caused us to start taking additional variables into account, notable mention of WeWork (from $47billion to $2.9billion), Monzo’s 40% hit, and Airbnb’s $5BN valuation shave

You could say it’s less our business, as we’re exclusively African pre-seed and seed investors (60% of Fund I portfolio companies are at or under $2.5M valuation at first check and 100% are Africa-based)—again, as a fund here well before and intending to remain well after the hype, we care about sustainability. 

Additionally, it still takes a village to raise an African startup. We need local investors to support diligence and portfolio support. We need a balance of local in-market expertise and connections with deep-pocketed, typically foreign investors who also have more access to potential acquirers, located where the source of Africa’s M&A buyers are coming from—abroad (see details on this activity in our thesis research here).  

Bullish on the future of African tech

It’s a fact that there’s a limit of African growth funds, and the bulk of tech liquidity events have either happened on foreign soil as IPOs, or from foreign buyers. i.e. Jumia, Careem, Flutterwave’s $B+ valued growth rounds, Stripe buying Paystack, Interswitch’s $B+ valued growth round, and SWVL SPAC—to name a few.

We remain bullish on the future of African tech. It is everything we believe in. Take this as a call to action to protect the story of our African ecosystem and an invitation to join us to co-create Africa of our dreams. Open positions for Ingressive Capital and our portfolio companies can be found here

Our team is and has always been committed to building investment bridges, distributing luck to Africa’s youth through our many Ingressive4Good programmes, and backing an untelevised African revolution with capital & support. I’ve been co-painting on this giant African canvas for years. A beautiful picture is emerging that cannot be stopped. 

We have been instrumental in attracting over 50 foreign firms & family offices to Nigeria alone for investment purposes through Ingressive Advisory. Our clients have made over 60 investments in Nigeria alone. A number of them have transitioned to become limited partners (LPs) in our fund due to the work we did to attract them to and showcase African tech starting in 2014, now with 80% of our LPs running global VCs. 

Ingressive’s funding trajectory

Our Fund I has made 34 investments in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and Egypt, with ~40% female-founded or co-founded. 

And Ingressive for Good, in the last one year, has:

  • Grown a community of 80,000+
  • Trained 66,000+ pan-African youths in technical skills 
  • Created hundreds of jobs for African youth across a dozen countries 
  • Deployed 5,000 unlimited Coursera accounts
  • Completed 3k member tech training cohort with 80% employment at graduation 
  • Sponsored 1,000 women to learn product management and design 
  • Provided computer science scholarships, laptops and data across Nigeria 

No one has a monopoly of ink or intention to write the African Growth story. We haven’t yet realized all the home runs, but we are permanent believers. Believers in the African potential. Believers that the “Davids” we back – with capital and portfolio support – can defeat Goliath and release shared prosperity for all. 

We finished refining our investment thesis with a mission to catalyse change in the next frontiers of technological change on the continent. I would love to share another reason to include African tech in your investment strategy—see our thesis research report here

Our optimism is based on data pooled from key African markets. We came in when the lay of the land was discouraging, and we were undeterred. We continue to take (and nurture) ambitious bets on Africa. 

It remains Day 1. 

Cheers to co-creating the Africa we envision, 

Maya Horgan Famodu.

Special thank you to Vanessa, Ayobamigbe, ‘Bami, Carlton, Uwem, and Bisola from Ingressive Capital for always keeping the ship steering in the right direction. And to the broader fund team that makes this fund possible 🙏🏽 

Feel free to email or if you’d like to learn more about the fund and open positions in the Ingressive family. 

The Cabal Author

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