Reflecting on 2023: A Year in Review

Unlike preceding years, 2023 was a slower year for the global VC industry. Investors turned away from risk-seeking asset classes in favor of more secure investment vehicles. Funding decreased globally, and Africa was no exception due to the recent interest rate hikes. This resulted in significant implications for both founders and investors. Yet, amid the ebb and flow, there were moments of triumph. 

By the numbers

Throughout the year, we came in contact with 1000+. companies and invested in 8 of them, we made follow-on investments in 11 existing portfolio companies including our Series A debut in Remedial Health, and expanded our footprint into Senegal, bringing the total number of countries we’ve invested in to 8. We visited 5 countries, hosted 2 international partners, and held 10 ecosystem events, with 2 focusing on female founders. 

New portfolio additions 

  • Juice - Enables African businesses to make faster, cheaper, and more reliable cross-border payments with their local currency. Led by Ife Johnson and Justin Ziegler.
  • - AI-Driven Intelligence Platform for FMCG companies in Africa. Led by Max Smith and Xavier Macia.
  • Maad - modernizing FMCG distribution by allowing informal retailers to order products from their platform with reliable delivery ,low prices and offering working capital credit facilities. Led by Sidy Niang and  Jessica Long.
  • Talstack - Enables employees to access tailored learning content delivered by African operators, connect with peers and experts in their field, and participate in leaderboards and live Q&A sessions. Led by Seni Sulyman and Kayode Oyewole.
  • VOOM - an all-in-one e-commerce solution for everything related to used cars, offering a seamless experience for both buyers and sellers. Led by Abobkr Elmashtoly and Mohamed Kamel

Portfolio success - catalyzing growth beyond capital

Supporting our portfolio companies is a key part of who we are. This year, our Platform and Networks team worked on multiple enterprise-driven initiatives to provide catalytic value to our portfolio companies. As a result, we achieved an average Net Promoter Score of 90%. Over 80% of respondents commended the quality of support we offer, while more than 87% believe our response time to their requests was excellent. Here's what some of our founders had to say:

#BackedbyVP in the News 

Our portfolio companies not only weathered the challenges but also emerged as trailblazers. From securing substantial funding to garnering global recognition and growing revenues despite the macro headwinds, here are some of the major highlights from our portfolio companies.

  • Chargel, Fez, Raenest, and MDaaS were selected for the prestigious Google Black Founders Fund cohort for 2023.
  • Nomba, raised a staggering $30 million in Pre-Series B funding.
  • Shekel Mobility raised over $7 million in funding, with $3.2 million in equity and over $4 million in debt.
  • Remedial Health raised $12 million in equity and debt funding. This was our first Series A investment.
  • Termii launched the TermiiGo app at their annual Elevate Conference. 
  • was named one of the Top 100 most innovative InsurTech companies in the world by FinTech Global.
  • Traction raised $6 million in seed funding.
  • PiggyVest released their inaugural savings report, a comprehensive survey with insights  into the savings, spending, and debt habits of thousands of Nigerians. 

Community Events, Team-building and VP Adventures 

Community events and team-building activities have always been the heartbeat of Ventures Platform. Here's a glimpse into the memorable moments that shaped our 2023.

Driving community amongst our founders

  • We kicked off the year with our annual in-person Founders Retreat in Lagos, Nigeria. This multi-day event provided our founders with an invaluable opportunity to refresh, reflect, learn, and forge meaningful connections. But the bond didn't stop there as we hosted a mini event for our founders later in the year. Tagged “An Evening of Culture”, we came together to celebrate the rich diversity of our various cultures over food and drinks.

Bringing the ecosystem together 

  • This year, we played a leading role in unifying the African entrepreneurial ecosystem. The inaugural edition of the Africa Prosperity Summit, which took place in November, was a key event. It brought together a diverse group of stakeholders, including investors, founders, fund managers, family offices, and thought leaders, promoting powerful conversations and actions aimed at driving innovation and prosperity across the continent. You can read more about APS here.
  • Highlighting our commitment to diversity, we launched "Leveling VC," an ambitious initiative designed to increase venture capital funding for African startups led by female founders. This multi-year initiative aims to raise funding percentages from 13% to a bold 25% by 2028. We also supported female founders during Lagos Startup Week by hosting a fundraising masterclass and panel session specifically for female entrepreneurs.
  • We had the pleasure of hosting QED Investors' Co-founder and Managing Partner, Nigel Morris, Founding Partner Frank Rotman, and Partner Gbenga Ajayi in Nigeria. The visit included a private dinner and a fintech ecosystem mixer in Lagos, as well as meetings with government officials in Abuja. These activities fostered connections between local fintech players and global investors. Additionally, we hosted Françoise Lombard, CEO of Proparco, and her team for a roundtable discussion about the crucial role of fintech in Nigeria's economic landscape with select portfolio companies.
  • Internationally, as  part of the G20 summit in India, we hosted a Digital Economy Dialogue. The Honourable Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani, along with notable figures from the tech sectors of both countries, attended. This meeting facilitated knowledge sharing and created opportunities for partnerships and investments.

Exploring new frontiers

  • We went on a journey, hosting ecosystem mixers in Egypt, Kenya, and Senegal. These deepened our knowledge of the regions and provided a platform to connect with founders and investors. We hosted a networking cocktail in Dakar Senegal, a collaboration with Partech Partners, which led us to and  whilst our engagement in Egypt led us to Voom. All three companies are promising additions to our portfolio, a testament to the fruitful outcomes of our scouting efforts. 
  • Back on home turf, we hosted two vibrant Happy Hours, each catering to specific niches in the ecosystem. The first, dedicated to Female Founders, and the second, focused on Cleantech, provided casual yet invaluable networking opportunities. Beyond the structured events, these gatherings created an informal space for connections to flourish, and reinforced our commitment to backing the best founders.

Our views, our stories

Our team embraced the opportunity to share our views, champion causes, and contribute to the broader narrative of innovation and investment by penning down insightful articles centered around the funding and startup landscape in Africa. Some of our top articles include; 

  • 6 Strategies to Overcome the Funding Winter: From selecting the right markets to addressing challenges like devaluation and inflation, this article highlights essential strategies and provides valuable insights on outlasting the Funding Winter. By Dolapo Morgan (Senior Investment Associate)

VP Adventures

We also featured and participated in conversations across 18+ platforms. To name a few platforms we were on;

  • Our Founding Partner, Kola Aina took the global stage at the G20 Compact with Africa Summit in Berlin. As a keynote speaker at the Young Entrepreneurship in Africa conference by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), he shared the work we are doing  at Ventures Platform Fund as part of the broader ecosystem and championed the cause of scaling Venture Capital investment flows to Africa. 
  • Our Managing Partner, Dr. Dotun Olowoporoku was on the #AVCA2023 Panel titled "Technology as a Tool for Sustainable Investing”. He shared insights into the transformative potential of technology as a tool in sustainable investment.
  • Senior Investment Associate, Dolapo Morgan and Fund Operations Lead, Matthew Akano represented Ventures Platform at the 2nd edition of the Oxford Saïd Africa Venture Finance Programme together with other fund managers investing in early and growth-stage technology companies in Africa. 
  • Members of the investment team, Sola Osonuga, Emeke Ishiekwene, and Dolapo Morganwere mentors at different cohorts of the Plug and Play Tech Center in Egypt and Morocco.
  • Kola Aina and Dotun Olowoporoku engaged in a compelling discussion with Steward Redqueen, exploring the ESG challenges facing African startups.

And finally,  we rebranded!

We did a complete 360 on the look and feel of our brand and website to help communicate how far we have come, where we are today and our hope for the future. Our vision, mission and essence remains the same -  To build the future of Africa through entrepreneurship and innovation - by funding high potential founders early and through their growth, while providing them unrivalled support to scale. Read about our re-branding here

As we reflect on what a year it has been, we have deep respect for all startup founders whose resilience were tested. In the face of unprecedented events, major disruptions and shifts in the economy, they put in the work, navigated uncertainties and made difficult decisions that, in some instances, included the hard  choice of closing down their companies. 

Cheers to the builders shaping the future of Africa we can all be proud of, and to the entire ecosystem that supports them. We are also grateful to every partner that supported us in 2023 to make it such an incredible year. May the upcoming year, 2024, bring forth all that we wish for and more.

Backing Prosperity in Africa: A mini documentary showcasing the impact of some of our portfolio companies.

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