Thursday, 18 April 2013 09:32

7 steps to raising Seed Investment for Africa focused Tech Startups - Step 5


PRACTICE the pitch and work up to your favorite investor(s)

Know the toughest questions upfront and address them intelligently and honestly. You might have to go through "Gatekeepers" who have the connection to the high profile investor, understand their position, don't assume they will just make an e-mail intro out of the blue. Treat them well- their job is not to refer every start-up, it defeats the point of a gatekeeper. Note the common questions (note: not many are technology related- no one cares if you built it in php vs ruby!). Sometimes you'll get questions to which there are not good answers- don't be afraid to say "I don't know"- its a mark of maturity, but be sure to convey that you will find out or are actively working to solve that problem and you are a fast learner.

REALITY OF AFRICA: For entrepreneurs originating from Africa, the pitch delivery needs to practiced to perfection. Being able to pitch in 6-10 minutes is daunting for most entrepreneurs, but it should be an opportunity to distill your startup into the key elements- In Silicon Valley, you never know when you might have to talk about your startup, could be in conference, in a bar or in an elevator (hence the elevator pitch!) So most startup founders can talk about their startups really succinctly.

If you have to talk too long- see point 4 on education. You might need to follow up or prepare with the person introducing "referring" you the investor. Here is a checklist of questions you should watch out for and have good answers ready:

Africa is the dark continent- its unstable right?
Do Africans have real money to spend?
There is serious currency risk, check out the inflation in Kenya and Uganda? How will your business handle it?
Nigeria is the best place to do a start-up right? It's a big market! Why are you in Tanzania?
Can you hire the technical and managerial talent to grow your venture?
How will I get my money back via- Exit?

 To read the other steps and Mamba Mentors advice click here