Ventures Platform @ 1: A note on Hacks & Lessons

Eighteen days ago, @vplatformhub turned One!

While the party heads on the VP team planned to stage a party to celebrate the journey so far, the sombre and more serious ones on the team prevailed. : — ) We didn’t have a party. What we did do instead was individually reflect and conclude that while we had come so far, there was more work to be done.

Since we commenced operations in 2016 a lot has happened. Earlier this year we graduated our first cohort of six companies, more on that here. Happy to say; Jalo, Mobile Forms, Wesabi, Payconnect, Proteach and Lizzies Creations are all kicking ass and taking names.

We also restructured the business; spinning off our co-working/co-living infrastructure operation — and essentially became a rent-paying tenant at Ventures Park. Additionally, we began laying the foundation to enable us to make more social impact and do non-profit work. All of this further helping us hyper-focus Ventures Platform on funding and supporting early-stage companies.

More recently, on May 15th we commenced the second cycle of the Ventures Platform acceleration program with six exciting companies in the batch. It is an amazing learning experience and we keep experimenting, remembering we are but a start-up, helping start-ups’. . . .

Here are some hacks we recently implemented.
  1. To further support our alumni we began offering quarterly business review sessions that allow us to spend periodic time with alumni founders, review progress, play devil’s advocate or simply just catch up.
  2. We standardized reporting expectations from all current and alumni companies to ensure accountability and measure progress. We are in this for a “haul”.
  3. We developed and shared with our founders a useful but simple start-up corporate governance framework. Please share your comments below, we would love to hear what we have left out. . . .
We also learnt a few lessons.
  • While there are legit reasons for employed people or entrepreneurs to pursue projects as side hustles, we have learnt for a fact that the ideal VP founding team need to be completely sold out to the idea and work full time on it.
  • Getting all companies in a batch to grow at a similar pace towards a showcase like a demo day is not necessarily practical. Some ideas just take more time.
  • Build a process and trust the process. In doing this we have since incorporated a very strict investment selection committee constituting of our investors, board and core team to make the final call on the selection of accelerator companies as well as outside accelerator investments.
  • We also learnt to trust our instincts and that investing really is an art not much of a science.
  • The chemistry and health of the founding team are superior to the idea.
  • There are more people talking about investing / angel investing/startup investing and the likes — than there are people writing checks. Sad! . . .
In the coming months, we look forward to learning and sharing more.
Kola Aina
Kola Aina
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