Startups are likely to point out lack of funding as their biggest challenge. That's why, Imuka Ventures - a post-incubation accelerator - is working to bridge the lack of funding gap.
Roy Gakuo, co-founder of Imuka Ventures, told us how they plan on doing that. He also mentions the kind of startups they focus on, why they started Imuka Ventures. Roy also hints that two of their startups are about to raise 100s of thousands of dollars before this year ends.
Startup Digest Africa: What's Imuka Ventures?
Roy Gakuo: It is a post-incubation accelerator. Imuka Ventures focuses on early-stage startups with high growth potential and impact. It offers them tailored business development and investment readiness support.
We also provide other services like training and supporting business model innovation processes. Research, benchmarking and impact measurement and much more.
What are some of the successes to date?
We have developed partner programs to identify entrepreneurs to support in our programs. For example, in Adansonia partner program we have supported over 300 entrepreneurs. These we have supported through peer to peer entrepreneur learning and sharing.
In Imuka-Grow program, we are in the final stages with our first cohort of 15 entrepreneurs. One of them already won this year’s Anzisha prize of 10,000 dollars.
We also have a partnership with Makerere Food Technology Business Incubation Center (FTBIC). We support the Graduate incubatees of FTBIC.
What is your profile of startups like?
Our startups are innovative early-stage businesses. But, led by ambitious entrepreneur’s keen to drive them to the next level in growth and impact. Though, we are multi-sector in focus.
What's the total amount of funding raised so far by your startups?
This is our second year of operation, and we have supported a total of 11 early stage businesses. These have raised over $380,000 ranging from $5,000 - $180,000. We have two others in final stages of investment committee validation to get $150,000 and $180,000.
What are the challenges of running Imuka Ventures in Uganda?
We have many entrepreneurs but few have the ambition, commitment and will to go the extra mile.
What are some of the lessons you have learned from this experience?
Innovators are critical drivers of their early stage businesses. Thus, an enabling environment with the right networks is very critical. Early-stage startups bemoan lack of capital, but oftentimes, it's not the capital. A right strategy and model of execution is what they usually need.
What is the future of Imuka Ventures [5 years]?
Imuka Ventures will have accelerator programs in at least two East African countries. We are also looking at an established fund to co-invest with partner investors.
Anything else people should know about Imuka Ventures?
We will be launching the Imuka Series at the end of November 2017. This will provide peer to peer experience sharing, networking and business support clinics. All entrepreneurs interested can send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org