Dream VC, a venture capital (VC) training institute, has launched a new fellowship program to provide opportunities to underrepresented individuals in the African VC space.
The fellowship program will run for a four-month period, particularly from June to September 2021. It will focus on young homegrown Africans and the diaspora. The program will teach its fellows some basics ranging from conducting due diligence and drafting investment memos to understanding the legalities of setting up a VC fund.
Africa’s economic growth has tremendously accelerated in the past few years and has gained more and more interest from international investors. However, there still exists a massive gap between ‘homegrown financing solutions’ as well funding towards ‘homegrown startups’.
A majority of the investors currently active on the continent are foreign, with North American and European investors at the top of the list. There are exceptions to this, such as Future Africa created by Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, co-founder of Andela and former managing director of Flutterwave.
According to Cindy Ai, cofounder of Dream VC, “Everyone is talking about investing in the next generation of African startups, but not enough people are talking about empowering the next generation of young African investors.
“The median age of the African population is in its teens and there’s a massive youth unemployment issue. People are saying entrepreneurship can help solve that. But beyond that, what if we invest in the young people from the community who will later be writing those checks to entrepreneurial peers?”
There exists a plethora of VC fellowships in places such as the United States and even student-run VC funds that source and invest in startups built by their peers. These opportunities are crucial stepping stones into venture capital, which is a notoriously difficult industry to break into.
Traditionally, if an individual doesn't have the network, access, background, or know how to ‘hack the competition’, the idea of breaking into VC can seem like a pipe dream.
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 young people to break into VC on the continent. Dream VC exists to change this and democratize access to this industry through the Dream VC Fellowship program, which is entirely free and fully remote.
Mark Kleyner, the other co-founder of Dream VC said, ‘Incredible programs such as Included VC have highlighted the importance of providing access opportunities to traditionally marginalized populations to get their foot into venture capital.
They are completely changing the game, and the venture capital context right now on the continent still lacks a strong base of young investors who want to become future ecosystem builders in their communities. The gap exists because there are not enough opportunities for these young people to build the knowledge, skills base, or get access to these elusive VC funds.”
Dream VC is on a very similar mission to Included VC, where they hope to bring together top African VCs across the continent to provide more opportunities to young Africans. The program 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 Afri-centric lens.
Fellows who take part in the Dream VC program will get the following;
- Weekly training sessions and project assignments emulating real work done by VC analysts and associates.
- Partake in engaging workshops and community-led upskilling mixers, as well as exclusive panel discussions with top African VCs and serial entrepreneurs on topics such as gender lens investing and more.
"We want to bring on young and diverse fellows across the continent and beyond who are visionary, highly empathetic, and extremely driven about birthing innovation in all tech sectors in Africa. The future of Africa will be shaped by this next generation and Dream VC was created to become the launchpad for them." Cindy says.
Dream VC is a 4 month long educational summer VC fellowship program that is entirely free and fully remote. The program aims to provide a launchpad for all interested aspiring investors across the continent and beyond to kickstart their journey into venture from 0 to 100.
The institute aims to catalyze the next generation of African investors, with a particular focus on homegrown Africans + the diaspora and individuals of diverse and underrepresented backgrounds.
Interested fellows can signup here.