In this series, we will be studying and explaining the success stories of various mega-businesses (formerly startups) in review of 15 feasible funding sources for your new business. We hope that by the end of this chapter you will begin to see funding in a fresher light.
Bootstrapping is simply starting up your business with your own personal funds.
Bootstrapping describes a situation in which an entrepreneur starts a company with little capital, relying on money other than outside investments. An individual is said to be bootstrapping when he attempts to found and build a company from personal finances or from the operating revenues of the new company. Bootstrapping also describes a procedure used to calculate the zero-coupon yield curve from market figures.
Yes, investors are very vital. But bootstrapping gives the entrepreneur(s) a good sense of independence. As case studies, we will take Adii (Rockstar) Pienaar (South Africa) and Opeyemi Awoyemi, Ayodeji Adewunmi and Olalekan Olude (Nigeria).
Adii Pienaar (WooThemes)
Adii Pienaar also known as Rockstar is one of the numerous bootstrapping success stories, he started WooThemes in 2008 with the help of his own funding! Being a marketer and web designer/developer he felt the need to make his own premium themes- and the rest is history! He saw an opportunity in a market worth exploiting and he took the chance (self-funded of course) and he had nothing to lose.
Opeyemi, Ayodeji and Olalekan (Jobberman)
Jobberman has become a household name in the Nigerian employment scenario. It bridges the wide gap between employers and prospective employees daily. Yet it wouldn’t have been born if not for these three gentlemen. They were students of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and they launched the Jobberman project during the ASUU strike of 2009; out of their own pockets. The value of meaningful connnections is well portrayed here and as at February 2012, they made it to the Forbes Magazine Top 20 Tech Startups in Africa.
Although bootstrapping may look like something only super-rich kids can do , that’s actually not. When opportunities present themselves, they are actually not expensive to cover- unless there is wastage of time. The more time you spend in uncertainty, the more expensive your dreams become.
2. Friends and Family
Charity begins at home, they say. So if you feel bootstrapping may not work for you, why not consult the next best thing- family. The beautiful thing about friends and family investing in your idea is the closeness so it might be irresistible, and in many cases they may never say no (as long as your intentions are clear). As an added bonus, they will encourage you whenever you may seem unfocused or mentally unfit. Two popular success stories of family-invested businesses are that of Bethlehem Alemu (Ethiopia) and Patrick Ngowi (Tanzania).
Bethlehem Alemu (soleRebels)
Bethlehem simply makes new shoes from old car tyres. Her venture was founded in 2005 with the help of her family, to find ecologically friendly ways to employ herself and her immediate community. Not only did she achieve this, she has created over 1,200 well paying jobs for Ethiopians and has established herself as a renowned ecological and economic hero. Charity indeed begins at home.
Patrick Ngowi (Light for Life – L4L)
He is the founder and CEO of Helvetic Group. Patrick ventured into the world of business at the age of 18 with about $50 and a few years later he got a $1,800 loan from his parents. He currently owns the biggest solar power name in Tanzania. He also supports new businesses with clean solar energy.
A lot of successful startups have benefited a lot from insightful and strategic partnerships. Of course partnership means long-term co-dependence and involvement but this should not scare an entrepreneur because once the goals of the partners are aligned, there will be problem in carrying out the intended purpose of starting the business. Our case study will be Jason Njoku (Nigeria), he partnered with Bastian Gotter in setting up iROKO TV.
Jason Njoku (iROKO TV)
Njoku (left) and Gotter (right); via Ventures Africa
The company iROKO partners was founded in England in 2010, since then it has become a huge success story. Gotter is set to exit iROKO partners by the way. The idea was borne of an increasing desire for high quality Nollywood movies. Gotter who is a prominent angel investor has also invested in prominent Nigerian startups like Hotels.ng and Tolet.com.ng. iROKO Partners has also partnered with the Tiger Management Corporation, they also got a whooping $8 million investment.
Partnership can be a really healthy way to grow a business if done the right way.
4. Angel Investors
In the previous paragraphs we talked about partnerships, Bastian Gotter who partnered with iROKO TV was also an angel investor. Angel investors are basically people that have a strong desire to invest in startups or small projects.
Angel investors invest in small startups or entrepreneurs. Often, angel investors are among an entrepreneur’s family and friends. The capital angel investors provide may be a one-time investment to help the business propel or an ongoing injection of money to support and carry the company through its difficult early stages.
Angel Investors fall into several broad classifications based on their experience and motivation in making investments. The four basic types of individual angel investors are value-oriented, deep-pocket investors, partner investors, barter investors, and socially responsible investors, you can read more on this here. To become an angel investor however one must reach the Security Exchange commission (SEC) requirements of being worth up to $1 million.
A good example of an angel investor is Mr. Gotter, he scouts for startups and provides funding and in some cases begins a partnership. We also have some other angel investors like Peter Theil of Confinity, creators of payment gateway Paypal and Angel Sante who is an angel investor for the Auxivia Project. In some cases, angel investors are set up as companies like the ABAN Investment arm of the prestigious Ghobash Group, The Global Business Angel Network (GBAN) and much more. There are also some networks that provide the much needed link between startups and angel investors, AngelList for example.
5. Venture Capital
Venture capital is financing that is made available to startups it is expected that the investments are to have long term growth. They can be made by individual investors, investment banks or financial institutions. Venture capital might not necessarily be money, the funding can come through infrastructure and resources.
Venture capital is financing that investors provide to startup companies and small businesses that are believed to have long-term growth potential. Venture capital generally comes from well-off investors, investment banks and any other financial institutions. However, it does not always take just a monetary form; it can be provided in the form of technical or managerial expertise.
A lot of startups rely heavily on venture capital, just when you think they are done raising capital – boom!, more money keeps flowing. Let’s take a look at Uber and Off-Grid Electric.
Uber often tagged the urban taxi system has gained popularity in almost the whole world. The transport system which engages private car owners to make pick-ups and drop-offs has spread to over 400 cities in the world. One can simply say Uber has become a billion dollar business (and you’re not wrong). Despite this fact, Uber is constantly being funded by venture capitalists, and here’s why; they need constant funds to carry out marketing and other strategic campaigns. All this being said it is important to note that Uber sees venture capital as a vital asset for funding and business growth – and so should you.
Off Grid Electric
via Hello Investment
Off Grid Electric is a power solution company from Tanzania, they deal mainly in solar power provision. Off Grid Electric has a partnership with the national government and Tanzanian Investment Centre. Off Grid Electric’s recent $25 million Series C equity round, led by DBL Partners, which was the largest venture capital round to-date for distributed energy in Africa. In total, Off Grid has raised $70 million in equity and debt financing in 2015 to support its vision of lighting Africa in a decade. That’s just an example of how far venture capital can go in improving and growing a business.
6. Private Equity
Private Equity is simply ownership by a specialized investment firm.
Private equity is capital that is not noted on a public exchange. Private equity is composed of funds and investors that directly invest in private companies, or that engage in buyouts of public companies, resulting in the delisting of public equity. Institutional and retail investors provide the capital for private equity, and the capital can be utilized to fund new technology, make acquisitions, expand working capital, and to bolster and solidify a balance sheet.
Typical example of a Private Equity setup is the Fund for Agricultural Finance in Nigeria (FAFIN) which is a private equity fund that provides financial, capacity‐building, and technical assistance to selected SMEs in the Nigerian agribusiness sector. FAFIN is managed by Sahel Capital. FAFIN is co‐sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, and KfW – the German development bank. It was initially launched in 2014 with $32.8 million in commitments.
Currently the African Development Bank, CDC Group, and the Dutch Good Growth Fund have jointly committed $31 million to FAFIN.
Now the web Lecture is getting more interesting but we have to stop here to give you time to assimilate all we have enlightened you on. Tomorrow we are presenting six more funding options.
We also advise you stay to the end of the web lecture and you will receive a gift of links to funding agencies with proven track record of presence in Nigeria.
Have a good night rest.
Founder Connect Skills Nigeria.