BrandArena: Madica’s Pre-Seed Investment Program Announces Investment in Three African Tech Startups

Wednesday 24 April 2024

Madica’s Pre-Seed Investment Program Announces Investment in Three African Tech Startups

Madica, an innovative investment program supporting pre-seed startups across Africa, has announced its first investments in three tech startups. With a commitment to fostering entrepreneurship and addressing structural gaps in the continent's startup ecosystem, Madica has provided each selected startup with up to $200,000 in funding, marking the beginning of an intensive 18-month journey of growth and development.

Established in 2022 and affiliated with Flourish Ventures, a leading Fintech venture capital firm with a focus on social impact, Madica addresses critical gaps in Africa's startup ecosystem. Madica aims to catalyze innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic prosperity across the continent by tackling challenges such as limited access to capital, scarce mentorship, and lack of structured support.

Among the first cohort of investments are promising startups delivering tech-enabled solutions across various industries:

Kola Market (Ghana): Founded by Marie-Reine Seshie, Kola Market empowers SMEs by providing a comprehensive B2B platform to enhance sales, optimize inventory management, and secure financing. Their innovative solution simplifies business operations and improves efficiency for small businesses.

GoBEBA (Kenya): Co-founded by Lesley Mbogo and Peter Ndiang’ui, GoBEBA offers a direct-to-customer e-commerce platform focused on bulky essential utilities. Their platform streamlines the purchase and delivery process, ensuring safe, quick, and reliable doorstep service for urban consumers.

NewForm Foods (South Africa): Karodia, founded by Brett Thompson and Tasneem, enables food producers and retailers to rapidly develop and scale cultivated meat products at a cost well below industry standards. 

Emmanuel Adegboye, Head of Madica, said, “We're excited to announce our first set of investments, which showcase the remarkable talent and innovation in the African tech ecosystem. Each one of these startups represents the untapped potential of African founders who lack the support they direly need because they are too often perceived as risky by global investors. This year, our goal is to support more of these founders and integrate them into the global startup ecosystem. 

The glaring imbalance in venture funding in Africa is a big concern, and we want to support founders who are often overlooked by investors. We aim to be a catalyst and inspire other investors to join our goal of broadening the reach of venture capital and founder mentorship.” 

Madica employs an open application process, allowing founders to apply without an introduction. The program collaborates with local ecosystem players like incubators, accelerators, and angel networks to discover and support entrepreneurs. All applicants undergo the same evaluation process, with investments made on a rolling basis throughout the year. The program intends to invest in up to an additional 10 startups this year. Interested founders can learn more and apply by visiting Madica's website.

Marie-Reine Seshie, Founder & CEO, Kola Market, affirming the sentiments of the portfolio companies stated, “We’re excited to share the news of our collaboration with Madica. It’s a significant moment for us at Kola Market because it goes beyond just funding — it is a strong vote of confidence in our mission to transform the SME landscape in Africa, and Madica’s post-investment support sets us on an accelerated path. We’re encouraged about the possibilities this support opens up, allowing us to test new ideas and scale our operations in ways that will make a difference, especially for our customers. 

“We’re excited to be working with Madica as we grow our team, develop our production capabilities and bring cultivated meat to mainstream markets. In terms of purpose, I think this is a great fit and we look forward to continuing this partnership into the future on our journey to scale.” Tasneem Karodia - Co-Founder & COO, Newform Foods.

Over the past year, Madica has also made significant investments in team capacity to deepen its support to founders. In addition to Nairobi-based Brenda Wangari who leads Portfolio Success, Madica has recently appointed Shamsa Mohamed, a Nairobi-based expert in startup and VC marketing and communications as the Communications and Community Manager, and Francis Vesta, a Lagos-based investment professional and ex-founder, as an Investment Associate. The Madica team along with its board and network of mentors brings tremendous domain and local operational expertise to help Madica founders scale their ventures.

Brenda Wangari on the selection of the startups, noted: 'Our first investments, Kola Market, GoBEBA, and NewForm Foods exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit and potential for change. At Madica, we're dedicated to providing a foundation for African startup growth through rigorous programmatic support, mentorship, and access to our extensive network. It’s about empowering founders to not only navigate the complexities of their industries but also to thrive and set new benchmarks for success.”

To ensure founders have access to the skills, expertise, and resources needed for success, Madica recently conducted its first founder immersion trip in South Africa featuring in-person meetings with a trusted network of investors, mentors, senior operators, and ecosystem leaders. The trip also offered founders an opportunity to present to renowned global investors at the 10th Anniversary of the Africa Early Stage Investor Summit. The founders presented their growth plans while pitching for follow-on investment, corporate support, and strategic partnerships. The next founder immersion trip is scheduled for June 2024 in London to help founders plug into additional investor communities.

Over the past months, Madica worked with key industry stakeholders to strengthen the ecosystem. The program sponsored Disrupt Africa’s "Diversity Dividend: Exploring Gender Equality in the African Tech Ecosystem" report to shed light on gender disparity in the African tech startup ecosystem, and spark important conversations and initiatives within the tech community. Madica also provides ongoing support to programs like Women Who Build Africa, which champions and celebrates the remarkable achievements of female tech founders driving innovation across the continent.

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