StartupsTech

Dream VC, A Remote Venture Capital Institute Doubles Down on Catalyzing Africa’s Aspiring Investors Pipeline

Dream VC, A Remote Venture Capital Institute Doubles Down on Catalyzing Africa’s Aspiring Investors Pipeline - Startup Lagos

Dream VC is an investor accelerator and community-driven educational platform providing rigorous remote programs centered specifically around venture capital across Africa’s startup ecosystems. Their educational programs help passionate individuals get the knowledge, the experience, and the network they need to get started in Venture Capital or land top roles at VC funds around Africa.

After launching a small-scale programme 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 programme 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 syndicates and funds in emerging ecosystems like Mozambique, Côte D’Ivoire, Rwanda, and others.

Now, Dream VC is running a massive expansion with their 2022 programs and is keen to engage, educate and upskill a much larger untapped investor talent pool, hoping to become ‘The Go-To Launchpad For Aspiring Investors in Africa’. This year they are running 2 programs equipped with an impressive 500h+ of content and more than triple the contact hours fellows get with the Dream VC staff. 

Above: Dream VC Co-Founders Cindy Ai and Mark Kleyner are active ecosystem builders, advisors and investors in African startups. Source: Dream VC. 
Above: Dream VC Co-Founders Cindy Ai and Mark Kleyner are active ecosystem builders, advisors and investors in African startups. Source: Dream VC

The 2022 programs are set to run from June to September (for the “Launch into Venture Capital“) and from June to October (for the “Investor Accelerator“) programs. The first is a foundational VC fellowship for young working professionals keen on pipelining into entry-level positions in VC or other investment firms. At the same time, the latter is geared towards experienced professionals [with a significant operator, entrepreneurial, or advisory background] who have the capital and network to pivot into an ecosystem-building VC career. 

Launch into VC Fellowship Overview

  • Fellows who take part in Dream VC’s Launch into VC will get access to live and recorded weekly training sessions and project assignments emulating real work done by VC analysts and associates. Fellows will also partake in engaging workshops and community-led upskilling mixers, and exclusive panel discussions with top African VCs and serial entrepreneurs on finding the best deals, gender lens investing and more.
  • Launch into Venture Capital is a foundational program. While the programme has a set of recommended backgrounds, the incredible talent potential, knowledge potential and capital potential: There are no predefined academic or investing experience requirements for the program.
  • Dream VC’s fellows grow together as a community. All Dream VC fellows remain an indefinite part of the wider Dream VC community. Beyond active socials, Dream VC aims to provide mentorship to the fellows, pairing inbound LIVC fellows with former Dream VC Graduates, allowing the new cohorts to foster ties, build connections and overcome existing challenges in the space.
  • The programme aims to build a talent pipeline of promising young investors that are intimately familiar with the pain points of the communities they grew up in and can drive change in the venture capital industry through an Africa-centric lens.

Investor Accelerator Fellowship Overview

Above: Dream VC Homepage. Source: https://www.dream-vc.com/
  • The Investor Accelerator is Dream VC’s programme oriented at creating the VC leaders of tomorrow. Through the programme, Dream VC aims to help launch or accelerate the careers of experienced operators, founders, working professionals and African enthusiasts interested in catapulting into the Venture Capital Investment World, as investors, startup advisors or ecosystem builders.
  • Fellows who participate in the Investor Accelerator will be taught actively, with multiple live sessions every week, occurring on evenings and weekends to engage the fellows.
  • As a much more extensive, and intensive programme- this one promises to last 20+ weeks, with over 800h of content, spread across strategic block-based learning and complemented by a range of panels with top industry leaders like GPs and Executives in many VC firms actively investing in or based out of African markets.
  • While the programme is not set up for any one persona, key to this is the nuance of understanding VC in Africa – and this is what Dream VC offers, giving fellows exclusive access to fireside chats, panels and networking opportunities with leading professionals from Ecosystem Leaders Championing African-Focused Funds today.

In 2021, amid global VC growth, Africa tech grew faster than any other region with 2x the activity of last year and more than 3x the amount invested: 681 rounds of fundraising brought in a total of $5.2 Billion in equity, with a further ~$800m in debt, to a total of ≈724 startup deals

“Despite this, most people don’t look into the origins of that funding and don’t think of investment changes at a system-wide level. The majority, 95%+ of working professionals, operators, and wealth owners across the continent and in the diaspora are not exposed to the startup ecosystems across Africa. And we’re keen to change that,”

Cindy Ai, Co-Founder & Programme Director of Dream VC. 

A core focus of Dream VC is to empower and enable individuals from all walks of life to better plug into the startup ecosystems. This is done via their highly comprehensive program to generate ‘The Next Generation of African VCs’. The median age of the African population is still under 20, and despite the ongoing digital transformation, there still exists a massive youth unemployment issue in multiple countries around the continent. Many of these are talented, ambitious young individuals who are left out, and many of them are now turning to entrepreneurship.

The last few years have seen exponential growth in entrepreneurial adoption, and 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,” adds Mark Kleyner, Dream VC’s other Co-Founder and Programme Director. 

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. These help the fellows become particularly aware of the African market and how to invest in African startups.

“There are so many passionate individuals we meet from countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania…really across the continent, who have the passion to help startups and can bring that experience to bear. Many are multidisciplinary – and could well form the backbone of the new innovation economy, growing across the continent. However, these individuals are often entirely disconnected from the VC world,” comments Mark. Even while this talent pool lacks the knowledge of how to leverage their skills – funds, family offices, and investment houses alike continue to pattern match – hiring top talent from global business schools and often looking abroad, outside the continent, for new talent, even as many struggles to recruit top talent locally. Dream VC hopes to change that and turn the tide.

Applications for both programs go live today, March 8th and will be processed on a rolling basis until the final deadline on May 1st 2022 at 11:59 pm GMT. The Launch into Venture Capital Fellowship specifically also has an Early Bird Deadline on April 1st, 2022 at 11:59 pm GMT in addition to the final deadline on May 1st. Interested applicants can find more about both programme applications here

The programs are expected to be extremely competitive, so prospective fellows are highly encouraged to apply early. Although Dream VC’s core programs are paid, several generous scholarships are available, so highly motivated applicants who need financial support are still strongly encouraged to apply. 

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