Date founded: November 2020
Number of members: 8
Number of investments: 4
Number of deals assessed: 200 decks, 24 pitches screened
After a stint as a global IT consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers Zulaika Sunthbocus returned home to Mauritius, where she founded successful IT consultancy and software development company, Spoon Consulting. In this role, Zulaika interacted with young tech experts and entrepreneurs for 15 years – so when she left her company, she was already considering turning this access into angel activity. Her friend Aysha sent her the link for the pilot African Angel Academy programme with the note “Why not?”, and the two of them ended up doing it together.
In 2019, Aysha Tegally merged her company, Future Females Invest, with Tori Abiola’s Women of West Africa Entrepreneurs (WOWe). Together, they aim to build an ecosystem of support for African female entrepreneurs, including connecting them with finance offered by investors. Aysha’s experience on the African Angel Academy programme gave her the impetus to create an investment vehicle of FFI’s own, with her friend Zulaika.
About the group
The Future Females Invest angel group started in August 2020 with monthly meetings of about 14 women. To date, they now have eight official members (men and women). These members were recruited from Aysha and Zulaika’s networks, made up of a women entrepreneur association and some business contacts. The core group includes members with backgrounds in finance, pharmaceuticals, marketing and IT. In March 2021, six members signed a mutually agreed-upon MOU and began assessing a pipeline of potentially investable businesses.
The Future Females Invest angel group is an extension of Aysha’s FFI structure: “Both FFI and the angel group will work closely together to come up with a win-win outcome.” The existing Future Females Invest network, which is active in several African countries, is the source of the startups while the angel group contributes the finance, mentorship and expertise to support the growth and sustainability of the selected businesses.
We are democratizing investments and making angel investing accessible for women by providing free investment coaching and deal support. Many of our members are first-time angels and our door is always open to those who want to join efforts to reduce the funding gap.
The Future Females Invest Angels believe that “women should be seen, heard and funded”. Their mandate is to invest in female-founded businesses in Africa that are at an early stage (pre-seed or seed). They are sector agnostic, and plan to invest across the continent. The key requirement is that the business must have one woman founder or co-founder.
FFI Angels works on a membership model: only charging fees to cover the costs to source and execute the deals. Angels are expected to invest a minimum of $5,000 per year to participate as a member.
Deals and deal-management
Sourcing of relevant startups was initially slow-going, with entrepreneurs operating in a challenging environment especially in light of Covid-19. Over the past 9 months, however, the group has started to build a reputation and key partnerships that have led to members assessing 200 slide decks, and reviewing 24 pitches.
Members source deals from their networks and selected founders pitch to the network on a regular basis. There is no pressure to invest, and investments are made on a deal-by-deal basis. Participating angels are able to commit the ticket size of their choice and the FFI Network supports the angels to make investments by creating and administering SVPs for the investment. Each deal is led by an experienced angel.
The FFI Network has also launched its first in-person acceleration programme in Mauritius, with active participation by the group members. FFI will also be launching a virtual investment readiness programme for female founders later this year, creating a funnel of deals for the angels.
“With this group we have proven that there are people in Mauritius who want to have a positive impact on the country and across the continent,” says Zulaika proudly. “We’re given confidence by the passion of the young people here and across Africa. We are confident that even if it’s difficult, they will do something amazing.”
Investments to date
FFI Angels have made 4 investments into:
- Giving Way, co-founded by Orit Strauss Raz. It provides an end-to-end SaaS platform for non-profit organizations to effectively manage, engage and connect with donors, volunteers and supporters at large. Used by 8,000 organizations across 145 countries with very strong growth in Africa
- AMP Global builds passionate communities around content. It gives brands and media companies deep insight into global youth audiences. They have developed a Digital Media platform that helps content producers build a direct relationship with their audience.
- Infiuss Health, Africa’s first remote clinical research platform and bridges the clinical research gap connecting pharmaceutical companies to African patients founded by Melissa Bime. They are creating better health outcomes and reducing bias in medicine by fixing the huge problems that the research gap causes in Africa.
- Be Girl, a mission-driven design company that creates innovative, beautiful, and affordable products for womankind. Be Girl works for a world where being a girl does not stand in the way of health, opportunities, and success. They have operations in Kenya and Mozambique and create high-performance period products, deliver age-appropriate education and fight stigma so that all girls and women can own, understand, and love their bodies. They create menstrual products that are made with the highest quality materials to deliver the best performance.
How African Angel Academy helped
“The FFI Fund is a direct outcome of the AAA programme,” says Zulaika. It complemented the more active role that she had already started taking in the local entrepreneurial ecosystem. “I had an idea to become an angel and AAA helped me put it into action. I was very grateful for the opportunity and want to stay engaged to learn more.”
“The best part of it – the cherry on the cake – was the mentorship programme,” says Zulaika.
FFI’s AAA-assigned mentor Laila Macharia sits on a variety of boards, including those of Absa and Africa Digital Media Institute, and has been an active angel investor for seven years. Laila was particularly helpful in supporting the group to draft their MOU (including procedures as appendixes), providing the template but also asking the six women challenging questions, helping define their mandate and give them a common vision for their group.
Says Laila: “FFI’s needs played to my strengths because what they most needed was input around their own ideas from someone who had deeper experience with different kinds of groups. My hope was that we could align expectations and objectives and then distill that into structures they can use long-term. We achieved that.”
Interested in joining FFI Angels?
If you have a desire to back incredible female founders do get in touch with Aysha Tegally, +230 5982 9727 (WhatsApp, Telegram or Phone) or email firstname.lastname@example.org