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FIP71: Fundraising 3/4 – Getting to First Close (Part 2) with Miora Randriambeloma of Chalkboard Education

Today we continue to hear from Miora Randriambeloma, co-founder of the ed-tech startup Chalkboard Education, which is changing the culture of African education through e-learning. Chalkboard Education aims to democratize learning by providing mobile learning solutions that work on all mobile devices – even without internet connection. On Part 2 of the interview, Miora tells us about the importance of having a strong network of critical friends and how long fundraising really takes.

On this episode you’ll learn:

  • How Miora herself had to learn about equity investments, such as how do shares work, what are shareholder agreements, what are the long-term implications of equity, as well as other important vocabulary.
  • The different types of investors in West Africa, including venture capital, foundations, crowdfunding (including churches and local platforms), incubators, and business plan competitions, and the fact that there is not always a match between the capital that organizations can provide and start-up needs.
  • What issues start-ups should take into account when considering equity for acceleration programs, and what the implications of giving up 10-15% of equity to an accelerator can mean over the long-term.
  • Why she and her co-founder decided to launch their company in Ghana because of the growing tech scene, but also how they used their international networks to gain valuable connections and advice.
  • That for Chalkboard Education, raising the Seed Series took 8 months, even though they knew after 3 months that they would get the capital — and that she wouldn’t recommend accelerating the process because it was important for them to really understand what they were getting into.
  • How having strong advisors and networks was key for good decision making during the company’s first raise.

 

Resources:

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FIP70: Fundraising 2/4 – Getting to First Close (Part 1) with Miora Randriambeloma of Chalkboard Education

Today we hear from Miora Randriambeloma, co-founder of the ed-tech startup Chalkboard Education, which is changing the culture of African education through e-learning. Chalkboard Education aims to democratize learning by providing mobile learning solutions that work on all mobile devices – even without internet connection. Miora tells us what it was like for her team to secure their first investment and how they went about choosing their investors.

On this episode you’ll learn:

  • The major shifts Miora has observed in education. She comes from a family of teachers and professors. When her parents were choosing a career, teachers and professors were a highly respected choice – now people are shying away from education. What has changed?
  • Miora tells us about her Liberal Arts background and how it has developed her critical thinking skills and ability to tell a good story. These skills were invaluable during her time as a Marketing Consultant and extremely important to her now.
  • Miora see Chalkboard Education as solving an accessibility issue – they are bringing the content of a university to individuals who may not otherwise be opportunity to pursue an education. Miora is simplifying a tech problem so that universities don’t have to invest in the tech and can focus on the content.
  • Chalkboard Education set themselves up at a university so they could get constant feedback from their users.They could work closely with those who would be using their product to troubleshoot problems in real time.
  • They tried selling the product before they had investors, figured if they could sell the product, that would be a good sign.
  • How did you know you were ready to raise money? Have a prototype or BETA.
  • Miora tells us about the value of competitions like Seed Stars. They learned a lot from other companies at these competitions. Everybody there was going through similar journeys and facing similar challenges. They created a Whatsapp group to formalize the community and get instant feedback from each other.
  • Entrepreneurship can be a lonely path! Find communities and join networks where opportunities arise.
  • Miora tells us what it means not “just look for money” but, to look for “the right money.”
    This type of investment usually comes with a mentorship relationship. Wait for investors who truly care about guiding you in a positive direction.
  • They needed support from someone who really understood their business. Miora didn’t want someone to just write a cheque and walk away.

 

Resources:

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nicky khaki on finding impact

FIP 011: Raising Early Stage Finance with Nicky Khaki

In this episode, Nicky Khaki talks us through early stage finance. He runs the EWB Venture fund that specifically targets early stage businesses and provides them with high-quality professionals to provide expertise to drive them forward. Nicky Khaki started out as an investment banker on Wall Street before working in Kenya for a year setting up small scale water shops in urban areas. He went back to University to study international development and then connected with Engineers without Borders Canada who were looking to formalize their investment offering for early stage businesses whilst providing professionals (or “talent”) at the same time.

  • Some of the things you’ll learn on this podcast include:
  • What the landscape of finance probably looks like for social entrepreneurs in Africa.
  • What EWB Ventures looks for in a business to potentially invest up to $100k and specifically at what stage.
  • Why EWB Ventures provides talent for 1-2 years when they make an investment into a company.
  • We talk about their talent screening process and what the talent can expect when they get placed with a company.
  • Recommendations for early stage entrepreneurs to cultivate investor relationships, including sharing a monthly update on progress.
  • What an early stage enterprise should have ready when approaching an early stage investor, and why a financial model is not expected at this stage.
  • We discuss common pitfalls Nicky’s seen with pitches to his organization, including (a) know your audience and making sure your presentation responds to that audience; (b) include what problems you’re facing and what do you need help with; (c) not interviewing the investor, to ensure they’re aligned with your style and approach; (d) talking about a major expansion in the pitch – which is crazy to do, even before you’ve reached revenue.
  • If Nicky was setting up a social enterprise, which sector he would go into.

Resources:

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Patrick Watson Finding Impact Raising Debt Equity

FIP 009: Raising Equity Investment with Patrick Watson

In this episode, Patrick Watson talks us through the process of raising equity investment for social enterprises. Based in South America, he is Director of I-DEV’s Global Investment Advisory Group. He’s worked for KPMG and Inter Pipeline Fund, a multi-billion dollar energy infrastructure company.

Some of the things you’ll learn on this podcast include:

  • We go back to basics and talk about liquidity in emerging markets, and how difficult it is compared to more developed economies;
  • We delve a little into why there is a scarcity of investment finance in emerging economies, such as less money;
  • We talk about debt “with equity like features” and vice versa, and we talk about why an investor might prefer that option;
  • How to best prepare for going out to investors and what to say;
  • Great tips in how to build your financial model and a few important things to know, including how to break down how you intend to achieve the growth you state in your financial model;
  • We discuss a little about when equity investment makes sense and when grant funding might be more appropriate;
  • We talk about developing a strategic plan for investors and why it’s important;
  • Then other materials you need to have ready, such as your investment deck (and what it should contain), 1-2 page investment teaser, a non-disclosure agreement, and your “data room” ready for due diligence;
  • We talk about the mindset you should have when talking to investors, who are essentially buying into your business and helping you realize your vision;
  • We talk about how the social enterprise could approach investors with a term sheet already worked out;
  • Some of the common pitfalls seen by social enterprises when seeking to raise equity finance, including going to too few investors in the initial stages and lack of detail around the growth projections in the financial model.

Resources:

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