C4DLab, a startup incubation hub at the University of Nairobi, is exploring a long-term partnership with a booming startup incubator and funder.
Launched sometime in 2011, FasterCapital LLC, a virtual incubator and accelerator headquartered in Dubai City, boasts of having ‘co-founded’ and ‘co-funded’ up to 102 high-flying startups, with at least USD 6.9 million having gone into the venture.
“As co-founders we work with entrepreneurs on developing the software side of the startup (mobile, web). As co-funders, we co-fund the startup from idea stage and until it can generate enough money,” reads the homepage of the incubator in part.
What is more, the webpage at FasterCapital, formerly NextStep Sustems, claims that the hub has the capacity to fully mentor the startup while financing it over a period of up to two years, or until it starts to generate income.
“As an incubator we provide idea validation, feasibility study, market analysis, product development, help in sales and marketing, mentorship and financial help until the startup is cashflow positive.”
And in connection to that, John Masanda, a partner of the incubator representing the Kenya and Uganda regions, has the following to say about FasterCapital:
“Ours is a new type of incubator. The founders remarked that there are several weaknesses in incubators worldwide.
These weaknesses are leaving an important segment of entrepreneurs with no help. It is also affecting the success rate of startups as many don’t raise enough capital at the right time which is a major cause for failure.”
At the same time, while expounding more on the problem, Mr Masanda points out that most incubators have a program where entrepreneurs compete over a period of just three months, six months or 12 months.
“Even then, at the end of the mentorship programme, only the very best graduate startups secure funding. While this approach is great at creating a competitive startup eco-environment, it is still not good enough for start-ups that need a lot more iteration and for those entrepreneurs who lack experience,” he observes.
As a result, Masanda says, with FasterCapital, start-ups can expect funding to match with their own funding, unrivalled access to mentors, consultants and advisors, introductions to investors, as well as access to complementary business support services.
“But we need entrepreneurs who can bring dynamic and innovative ideas to us. Our entrepreneurs don’t need to know everything. However, we would expect them to have tons of enthusiasm, self-belief and conviction in their start-up idea,” he notes.
Incidentally, as he concludes the exchange, the former Director of Pioneer Easy Bus Ltd and MOGAS Group reveals that FasterCapital is accepting applications for funding, with submissions closing on August 16 this year.
Prospective applicants can follow http://fastercapital.com/entrepreneurs.html#startup to submit information about their startup.