In a few words, what is Madica about and what inspired the name?
Madica is a 12–18-month structured investment program for pre-seed stage African startups – especially those that receive a disproportionately small share of venture funding, such as those led by women or by local founders or those that operate outside well-established tech hubs. Madica, short for ‘Made in Africa’, was born out of the need to empower mission-driven founders by democratizing access to world-class company building support, which is available today only to a few well-networked entrepreneurs.
In short, we back exceptional early-stage ventures that are made in Africa and we believe the name captures the essence of the program. We do this by investing up to $200,000 in participating companies at the beginning of their journey so they can hire the right team and focus on building the business. We complement this with programmatic support including access to hands-on mentorship by exceptional founders and operators, training and coaching on company building by industry specialists, and targeted interactions with prospective investors to ensure that later-stage capital is available as companies grow.
2. What are the criteria to qualify for the program?
Madica looks for:
· Local founders with diverse teams from across the continent
· Ventures with at least a minimum viable product, ideally with the first few paying customers
· Ventures that haven’t yet raised significant institutional capital
· Founders from all sectors building real scalable solutions
3. How important is it for Venture Capitals to play the role of bridging the gender gap in the tech sector?
A very small portion of global VC funding goes to start-ups with a female CEO. For example, 93% of venture funding in Africa in 2021 went to start-ups led by male CEOs yet, on many metrics, female-led companies outperform those led by males. Also, the scale of challenges that must be addressed across the continent requires diversity of perspectives and talents. Venture Capital flows need to mirror this needed diversity and the current gender gap is a missed opportunity. Madica is designed to address some of this gap, but it is important that more VCs play a leadership role in this regard.
4. How many startups have applied for the program since its launch and where do you picture Madica in the next five years?
Madica aims to address the structural gaps that undermine innovation, entrepreneurship, and wealth creation in large swathes of the continent. The overwhelming response we’ve received from founders across the continent building solutions in various sectors validates that Madica is indeed meeting a real need. Over the next 3 years, Madica aims to directly invest in 25-30 startups while supporting several more by opening up resources from the program and make it freely available. In 5 years, Madica aims to help change the narrative around African startups – lower the perception of risk, attract more capital, inspire more founders, and garner more media attention. It will empower mission-driven founders by broadening access to world-class company building support – which is available today to only a few well-networked entrepreneurs.
5. What advice could you give to startups that are looking for funding? How should they position themselves?
a) Obsess over the needs of your customer and focus building a solution, no matter how rudimentary, that addresses their needs.
b) Find and work with co-founders that share your vision and bring complementary skills.
c) Practice articulating your unique story and why your startup exists and be ready to share that with potential partners, team members and investors.
d) Create pitch materials and be ready to provide more detailed information on request.
e) Research and approach investors that align with your company’s vision, growth stage, sector, and business model.
f) Aim to be default alive and have a clear plan for how to survive in case you’re unable to raise funds.