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Dream VC Returns in Force to Democratize Knowledge and Access to the Venture Capital Space in Africa

The VC accelerator is launching two new programs for entry-level and professional VC enthusiasts

PHOTO Courtesy of VC Dream

TechInAfrica – The venture capital (VC) accelerator, Dream VC has come up with two new programs which are geared toward Africans interested to break into the VC scene.

The two new programs are Launch into VC fellowship and Investor Accelerator Fellowship. It is meant to provide talent pools in Africa the medium to emerge and become a diasporic VC phenomenon in the continent.

VC Dream aims to close the investing gaps where local investors tend to be overshadowed by foreign investors. Its 2021 flagship fellowship program is a direct response to the matter, where VC Dream organized a 4 monthly learning session for 30 accepted fellows, 18 of which have successfully become part of big and established firms (Oui Capital, Loftyinc, Ajim Capital, and more) and some who have started their first Angel Networks and investing in their home countries (Nigeria, Mozambique, and more).

Their 2022 programs bring a more ambitious mission, seeking to reap even more investor talent pools in the continent while becoming the go-to Launchpad for Africa’s aspiring investors.

The accelerator’s inspiring mission, however, came from a place where the cofounders realize the true potential of the continent, the countries, the people, and current challenges. The co-founder and Program Director of Dream VC, Cindy Ai, observed last year’s trend where Africa tech grew faster than any other region, with 681 rounds of fundraising bringing in a total of $5.2 Billion in equity and ~$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,” adds Ai.

Dream VC co-founder and Program Director Mark Kleyner chimed in on the investment climate of the continent, noticing how investment still fared behind the spotlight of startups and their founders, where over 50% of investors are from outside Africa and whereas only 48% of total funding for startups managed to reach 12 companies.

“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,” says Kleyner.

This is where Dream VC draws their objectives, by building the communities, educational infrastructure, and thriving environment for aspiring investors with the two major programs. Learners will learn and practice the ultimate guide to the VC space, from Deal Sourcing and Due Diligence, adding value and support to companies throughout their investment, then to the more complex topic such as Syndication, Angel, and VC investments, and the legalities involved in setting up VC Funds or Angel Groups for investing in African startups.

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 program 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 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 Africa-centric lens.

Investor Accelerator Fellowship Overview

  • The Investor Accelerator is Dream VC’s program-oriented at creating the VC leaders of tomorrow. Through the program, 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 program- 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 program is not set up for any one persona, the 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.

“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,” says Ai.

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

The Launch into VC will run for 14 weeks starting from June to September 2022, while Investor Accelerator will run for 20 weeks from June to October 2022. Both programs will be fully-remote and paid. Scholarships are available for applicants who might need financial support to enroll in the program. Applicants are highly encouraged to apply early due to the program’s competitive nature.

The application is open starting today (March 8) and will be closed after May 1 at 11:59 pm GMT. The early bird deadline is April 1 2022 11:59 pm GMT.

Learn more about the program here:

About Dream VC

Dream VC is an investor accelerator and community-driven platform providing rigorous remote programs for aspiring African investors centering on venture capital. Dream VC aims to catalyze the next generation of African investors, with a particular focus on driven and underrepresented individuals (homegrown Africans, diaspora, and beyond) who wish to be impactful ecosystem builders in their communities.

Cindy Ai, Co-Founder, and Program Director

Cindy Ai is a former startup operator and entrepreneur turned ecosystem builder working on catalyzing the African investor pipeline. Cindy is currently the co-founder and program director of Dream VC, an investor accelerator and community-driven educational platform providing rigorous remote programs centered specifically around venture capital across Africa’s startup ecosystems. Before Dream VC, Cindy worked across many intersections of innovation and venture capital, from massive accelerators to lean venture studios to automation-driven investing platforms. Her niche is on the platform side of venture capital, with wide experience managing and engaging stakeholder relations at Moonshot House – an exclusive, invite-only global virtual ecosystem for financial institutions, venture capital firms, hedge funds, LPs, angel investors. She has also plugged into the fundraising side for 7 global venture capital funds ranging from the USA, Africa, Europe, and SEA – including vertical-specific funds such as Sisu Ventures (a gaming-focused VC).

Mark Kleyner, Co-Founder and Programme Director

Mark Kleyner is an entrepreneur, ecosystem builder, and early-stage VC in Emerging Markets. Mark is currently the co-founder and program director of Dream VC, an investor accelerator and community-driven educational platform providing rigorous remote programs centered around the venture capital industry across Africa’s startup ecosystems. A multi-time founder, Mark has worked within VCs in the UK, US, Europe, and Africa and actively advises, coaches, and mentors several very early-stage West & East African startups – who have gone on to raise upwards of $10m in Venture Financing, and joined programs like Google’s BFFA, PioneerApp, TechStars and YC. Beyond these activities, Mark is an active startup mentor in 9+ Accelerators and Incubators at StartupBootcamp, Impact Hub Lagos, Seedstars, Founder Institute, and Village Capital. Mark’s expertise centers around Venture Building, especially within the Consumer and Enterprise Technology sectors, but he actively works with startups in sectors including FinTech, E-Commerce, EnterpriseTech, AgriTech, Logistics, and more.


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