New program to help Africans excel in VC knowledge

A new program by a private company, Dream Venture Capital (Dream VC) is set to support venture capital in Africa by teaching and training professionals to excel in the industry.

The founders of Dream VC argues that their educational programs help passionate individuals get the knowledge, the experience and the network they need to get started in venture capital (VC) or land top roles at VC funds around Africa.

“One of our main objectives is to democratize knowledge and access to the venture capital space in Africa. We run intensive remote programs teaching and training professionals to work in or excel in the Venture Capital Industry in Africa,” said Mark Kleyner, Cofounder and program Director of Dream VC, an investor accelerator and; community platform running remote programs centered specifically around venture capital across Africa’s startups ecosystems.

This year Dream Venture Capital “is running a large cross-country expansion and are planning to open up multiple new programs with Pan-African availability. according to Mark Kleyner. “Last year the programs were quite successful, and in early-mid March, this will be hitting the news, as dozens of African VC funds are involved and the initiative is scaling very fast,” he told New Business Ethiopia, commenting on the new program scheduled for launching next week.

“At the end of the day, working in countries like Nigeria or Kenya, founders across the continent often are faced with major obstacles – and there is still a lot that must change about perceptions of investing or building startups in Africa. Investors need to be much more hands-on and add a lot more value than just money to build sustainable, scalable businesses. And this can’t be done without including and enabling local leaders to be more active in the VC space,” remarks Cindy Ai, the other Cofounder and program Director of Dream VC.

After launching a small-scale program in 2021, they are now back, at a much larger scale, and with success to show for their efforts. More than 90% of the fellows who graduated from the inaugural program went on break into venture capital; with some joining new and established firms such as Ajim Capital, Akribos Capital, LoftyInc Wennovate, Oui Capital, and Lateral Capital – while others are busy writing checks as angels or setting up their own syndicates and funds in emerging ecosystems like Mozambique, Côte D’Ivoire, Rwanda, and others, according to Mark Kleyner.

“We aren’t just accelerating a new wave of check-writers. We are catalyzing the next generation of African ecosystem builders,” said Cindy Ai.

The last few years have seen exponential growth in entrepreneurial adoption. This is only further enabled by rapid increases in the publicity of startups and startup founders – but the investment world has dragged behind. Even as funding has increased, most of this has been concentrated in select deals (48% of total funding for startups in Africa went to just 12 companies), and over 50% of investors are international.

“People are saying entrepreneurship can help to catapult countries across the continent into digital transformation, but this simply cannot happen without an equivalent level of support from the private capital sector,” said Mark Kleyner.

“This is where Dream VC see themselves plugging in, teaching fellows across both programs with an immersive 0 to 100 knowledge acceleration about the VC space, covering everything from Deal Sourcing and Due Diligence to the varied ways VCs can add value and support companies throughout their investment, exploring complicated topics like Syndication, Angel and VC investments and even the legalities of setting up VC Funds or Angel Groups to invest in African startups,” the founders stated.

They indicated that while international interest is now putting African startups in the spotlight, there are still very few support systems for aspiring local investors and opportunities for working professionals to break into VC on the continent. Dream VC exists to change this and has ambitious plans to enable the next wave of aspiring investors by building the communities, the educational infrastructure, and the environment to thrive and add maximum value to startups in multiple African startup ecosystems, according to the founders of Dream VC.