S1E8: Context Matters - What Alternative Financing Models are Appropriate for This Ecosystem?
To solve problems on the continent, entrepreneurs are building sustainable, impact-driven, infrastructure-building, tech-enabled, for-profit companies - how should these companies be funded?
In this episode - our third and final episode of our three-part series on venture investing in Africa, and the final episode of Season One, as well, we take a first principles approach to fundraising in Africa, and dive deeper into the opportunities for entrepreneurs to leverage different types of capital and funders to achieve their business' objectives.
[01:45] - We define Venture Capital in the Silicon Valley sense, from Stratechery's What Is a Tech Company?
[02:48] - A discussion with LifeBank's Temie Giwa-Tubosun, on building a solution in the healthcare space - as a proxy for our exploration into impact-driven, for-profit startups in Africa
[06:24] - A discussion with MDaaS Global's Genevieve Barnard Oni and Oluwasoga Oni on building tech-enabled, brick and mortar diagnostic centers in Nigeria, and being told by one investor that they weren't "tech enough"
[10:31] - If the businesses being build to solve problems across Africa are not "tech enough", and if venture capitalists fund tech companies, then what fundraising models should we use? We hear from LaunchLab's Josh Romisher on the variety of investment vehicles used to fund off-grid solar home system ventures.
[14:01] - Exploring innovative finance models with the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship's Tine Fisker Henriksen.
[18:41] - If we're re-thinking investment models, should we also be re-thinking the very nature of finance for emerging markets? With Founders Factory's Lwazi Wali.
[22:12] - How might we imagine new, yet-to-be -determined models for Africa? Perhaps with the help of a history lesson from Alex Lazarow, global venture capitalist and author of Out-Innovate: How Global Entrepreneurs - from Delhi to Detroit - Are Rewriting the Rules of Silicon Valley.
[25:17] - As always, Sayo and I share our thoughts.
- Genevieve Oni–Co-founder,MDaaS Global
- Oluwasoga Oni–Co-founder & CEO,MDaaS Global
- Joshua Romisher–CEO,LaunchLab
- Tine Fisker Henriksen–Innovative Finance Lead,Bertha Centre for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship
- Lwazi Wali–Head of Venture,Founders Factory Africa
- Sayo Folawiyo–Co-founder & CEO,Kandua
- Justin Norman–Founder & Host,The Flip
- Alex Lazarow–Global Venture Capitalist,
- Temie Giwa-Tubosun–Founder & CEO,LifeBank
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Alex [00:11]: I think that's one of the things that I'm pretty interested in is - how does the venture capital model get evolved or changed for the reality of building in emerging markets, where timelines might be longer, where there might be less capital, where the nature of the business model might be different.
Justin [00:29]: That's Alex Lazarow, who we heard pose this question towards the end of last episode. I'm interested in this topic too. Throughout this season we've taken a local look at building business on the continent, to explore the considerations and implications for entrepreneurs solving problems in emerging markets and non-western environments. These considerations and implications exist for venture investors too and as discussed last episode, we're seeing these implications manifest themselves, for example, in the way in which funds balance their portfolio, invest in co-building venture models, or leverage evergreen structures to mitigate time pressures put on startups. But in this episode of The Flip, the final episode of our three-part series on Venture Investing in Africa, and the final episode of our inaugural season one, as well, we want to dive even deeper. Venture Capital is a model for a time and place, and a very narrow, specific type of business. Across the continent, we're seeing entrepreneurs building business models or distribution channels for their own time and place. So, if we reverse engineer - what other venture investing models or structures could best service the types of businesses being built across Africa?
VO [01:32]: You're listening to The Flip, the podcast exploring more contextually relevant stories from entrepreneurs around Africa.
Justin [01:41]: Welcome back to The Flip, I'm your host Justin Norman. My old boss used to say "wisdom begins with the definition of terms". Last episode, we more deeply defined venture capital in the traditional, Silicon Valley sense, as defined by Stratechery's Ben Thompson, in an article that I've again linked to in the show notes. To summarize: venture capitalists fund tech companies, which are characterized by a zero marginal cost component that allows for uncapped returns on investment. Silicon Valley's archetype - software companies. But in Africa, the very nature of having to build out agent networks, or physical infrastructure, as an example, means that these businesses are not software companies with zero marginal costs. And beyond that, the nature of the African market as a whole, as discussed earlier this season in episode 5, makes expansion - and achieving a requisite level of scale for the VC funding model to work - excessively difficult, as well. So how should we look at fundraising in this context? I think it's instructive to have this conversation in the context of two amazing social enterprises. These companies are representative, for me, when I think about startups in Africa - for-profit companies with impact deeply embedded in what they do, who are building physical infrastructure to solve complex problems that are unique to emerging markets.
Temie [02:48]: My name is Temie Giwa-Tubosun, I'm the founder and CEO of LifeBank.
Justin [02:52]: LifeBank is a healthtech company that delivers blood, oxygen and other medical products to hospitals in Lagos and Abuja in 45 minutes on average. LifeBank was born out of Temie's aim to improve maternal healthcare in developing countries like Nigeria.
Temie [03:04]: I learned about postpartum hemorrhage - a mom gives birth and then starts bleeding it's the fastest, the biggest and most chilling way that women die - it happens really quick, between 20 minutes and 2 hours, it's the largest cause of maternal death in the entire world and it has the simplest solution - the solution is a simple pint of blood.
Justin [03:29]: Before LifeBank, Temie started an NGO to get people to donate blood
Temie [03:33]: And then one evening, I met with a blood bank colleague of mine and he mentioned to me that they routinely discard blood, and I was really taken aback because it was the first time that I heard that there was a surplus. So the problem we were really solving when we launched was you had supply and you had demand and somehow those two things are not communicating with each other. I figured out we could have a marketplace where blood banks could speak with hospital clients, that you could really bring a revolution to the system.
Justin [04:04]: So Temie and LifeBank set out to leverage technology and data to create an efficient system that connects supply and demand, and importantly that allows products to move from blood bank to hospital extremely fast - in 45 minutes on average.
Temie [04:15]: The only way we're able to deliver that fast is because we have inventory information. And of course, we innovated around our delivery system.
Justin [04:23]: LifeBank's inventory gathering, desktop kiosk that allows hospitals to request what they need, and they're leveraging a 24-hour call center and USSD app should hospitals need additional support.
Temie [04:32]: And that's sort of what's visible about our distribution system, which is the delivery part, but it's only one part of the entire system - the 3 other parts that allow the delivery to happen really efficiently. So, data is really important, having a seamless way where hospitals can discover what they need is absolutely critical and then the delivery is also important.
Justin [04:49]: So through LifeBank's delivery services they are building considerable infrastructure along their value chain to get blood from the blood banks to hospitals.
Temie [04:55]: The reality is, when it's a human being they need physical things and then need it to get to them, and someone has to build that. And the reality is, you cannot leapfrog building infrastructure, but how you build that infrastructure can be optimized by technology. we're not building bridges, of course, we're not building roads, but we're gathering local innovation that allows us to deliver things and be an infrastructure player, because we do deliver, but optimize it in a way that allows our business model to be scalable.
Justin [05:30]: But while they are building to scale - the nature of their business requires building deliberately and sustainably.
Temie [05:34]: I really resisted, first because the business model has to be strong so I didn't want to rush it until we had innovated around our business model. Two, I really needed to know that - there's that thing that says "move fast and break things", but for us we need to move fast but if we break things, we are breaking human beings, and that is not acceptable to me.
Justin [05:56]: And this informs the strategic decisions LifeBank has made, in spite of some of the advice they have received.
Temie [06:01]: Anytime I speak with finance folks, people in startups, they tell me how we need to get rid of our delivery system and contract that out and just be a software company, all of that.
Justin [06:24]: While LifeBank continues to build critical infrastructure and scale, so too is another startup in the healthcare space in Nigeria -
Soga [06:30]: My name is Oluwasoga Oni, I'm the CEO & co-founder of MDaaS Global.
Genevieve [06:35]: My name is Genevieve Barnard Oni, I'm also a co-founder & CFO of MDaaS.
Justin [06:42]: Yes, they're a husband and wife team.
Soga [06:44]: We build and operate modern tech-enabled diagnostic centers in clinically underserved communities in Africa.
Justin [06:50]: MDaaS - or Medical Devices as a Service - is, much like LifeBank, building critical health care infrastructure in Nigeria.
Genevieve [06:57]: One challenge that we saw specifically was around access to diagnostic care. And diagnostics really plays this big anchoring role in the healthcare system - if you don't know what you have then it's really tough to get treated and get healthy faster, and so we saw that there was a gap in particularly secondary and tertiary cities.
Justin [07:17]: So MDaaS builds diagnostic centers - brick and mortar facilities - to offer incredibly affordable healthcare procedures, using a low margin, high volume model to its customers - most of whom do not have insurance and pay out-of-pocket.
Soga [07:29]: For our OB/GYN scan, which is when we scan people that are pregnant or people who want to know if they're pregnant, it's about $4. The question now becomes for us, do we think we can get the volume in those places where we can keep it sustainable for ourselves. That's the mathematics we have to actively calculate in our heads as we look at places we're going to go to, to say hey do we think we can get the volumes to justify it. And we have a lot of things that work in our favor towards that, such as technology.
Justin [07:58]: And on the technology side, it's the model and design of their tech-enabled diagnostic centers that allows them to build sustainably and affordably.
Genevieve [08:05]: So, for example, all of our equipment is digitized so if we did have a mobile ultrasound unit in one of these smaller footprint centers we're able to send images from that unit to a radiologist offsite, so you don't have to have all of the staff that you need to be involved in care physically in that location - and at our current centers we already work with all offsite radiologist and because our images and equipment are digital it means that we’re able to not spend as much money on every individual center.
Justin [08:39]: It's an asset-sharing model, like Uber, or Hello Tractor - who we heard from earlier this season. And MDaaS sees themselves as an infrastructure builder, not just in the physical sense, but in the ecosystem sense, as well.
Soga [08:49]: We see our role as building that critical distribution infrastructure for healthcare so other people can piggyback on our infrastructure to provide more services to the people that need it the most
Justin [08:59]: And key to MDaaS achieving this is profitability.
Soga [09:02]: For us, we really focus on the unit economics of our business to make sure each of these centers become sustainable after just a few months, so we're not sinking money into a place where we don't know where the end is going to come. So, each unit, each diagnostic center must be self-sustaining - and that's one of the KPIs we measure to make sure we can scale. Our first center broke even on operations within 5 months.
Justin [09:29]: And achieving profitability quickly and to scale is important from a fundraising perspective for MDaaS
Soga [09:34]: And what this also helps us is that we can tap into more types of capital - particularly debt - which is what people typically use to build infrastructure. So for us, we're making the case to build this massive infrastructure with debt and that's the best way to help scale.
Justin [09:53]: So you may be thinking - are they a technology company? Certainly, they don't meet the requirements of the Silicon Valley archetype, and I suppose some investors agree -
Soga [10:01]: One of the pushbacks we get is about being brick and mortar, in a space where everybody is looking like where digital health is sexy to most people and everybody is looking to do the next big digital health thing. When we were raising money, we had people that declined to give us money because we weren't tech enough - the reality is, yes maybe the definition of being tech enough is not what we need at this point in our evolution, and that's OK.
Justin [10:31]: Maybe the definition of being tech enough is not what we need at this point in our evolution, and that's OK. And while our evolution in Soga's case may apply specifically to MDaaS, perhaps we should apply it more broadly to the African early-stage ecosystem? While technology can be a critical enabler, and while it is infinitely scalable and borderless, the nature of the local problems being solved - in healthcare, or last-mile delivery, or even in payments - these sectors are creating businesses, and business models, that often rely on a high amount of infrastructure, and by their very nature are not borderless and infinitely scalable. Which requires different funding models. Two episodes ago, we heard from entrepreneurs seeking investment from a strategic and diverse set of investors. So too, are entrepreneurs seeking a strategic and diverse set of investment vehicles -
Josh [11:13]: Remember, investment is very broad.
Justin [11:15]: That's Josh Romisher - the CEO of Stellenbosch University's LaunchLab incubator and formerly the CFO of solar home system company Fenix International, based in Kampala.
Josh [11:23]: I mean, convertible notes, SAFEs, whatever they may be is just one funding source, thinking about venture debt, which I'm a big fan of, thinking about joint ventures, starting to work with partners early in terms of the business.
Justin [11:36]: Josh's experience fundraising for off-grid solar energy companies - who like LIfeBank and MDaaS are building businesses solving emerging market problems that require emerging market fundraising strategies - this experience, given the nature of the business, required fundraising from a lot of different investors with a diverse set of investment mandates.
Josh [11:51]: It's really a fun and innovative, fascinating process because it is a Chinese menu of options - on one side you have all of the different investment vehicles, those are everything from results-based financing to SPVs to corporate ventures. On the other side of that, you have different parts of the business that need funding - so you can really start to go to a wide variety of funders
Justin [12:12]: And each part of the business of, say, an off-grid solar energy company, given its requisite business model, may require a different type of funding.
Josh [12:19]: If I use the solar home system company as an analog - we started by saying we want to build hardware, a solar panel to put on your roof & a battery to put in your home, but we'll back it up with software. Now we have to distribute that, so we're going to build a robust sales force. But, in order to make it affordable, we need to offer seller financing. Now we're a consumer finance company. In order for people to feel comfortable with our financing we need to service the system, so now we're a service company. The tough part is - that's now 5, 6 companies in one - so if you go out and try to raise traditional venture capital funding in order to do that, you're just going to run out of time as you build multiple pieces of a business that are all necessary for the whole to come together, and do create the rails for other businesses to be successful. So I do think models of revenue sharing, grant capital, smart subsidies are really necessary for the African context.
Justin [13:10]: This mosaic strategy of pulling different pieces of funding together is seemingly more important for the African early stage ecosystem's time and place as comparison to Silicon Valley.
Josh [13:19]: Generally in Africa we need to be much more creative in terms of our funding. When you build a company in Africa you're being asked to build everything - you're being asked to build the rails, the product, to acquire the customer, to educate the customer - things that we take for granted in more developed markets like the US or Europe just don't exist. If you're building a SaaS company in Silicon Valley, you probably know there's 5 or 6 VCs that you want to work with and you're going to go to them and it becomes a very simple process.
Justin [13:43]: But complexity and diligence also breeds opportunity.
Josh [13:46]: When you're operating in Africa, a) you need to really increase the solution set, you need to go to a wider variety of investors - that does add time and effort to the process but it also is a massive opportunity.
Justin [14:02]: As companies in off-grid energy or healthcare solve for complex problems across Africa, using innovative fundraising models to do so, it raises a question of what other models are worth exploring - particularly from an impact investing perspective?
Tine [14:14]: Hi my name is Tine Fisker and I am the Innovative Finance Lead at the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation.
Justin [14:19]: The Bertha Centre is an independent academic center based at the University of Cape Town's Graduate School of Business, whose ultimate goal is -
Tine [14:26]: What our ultimate goal is is to push out new inclusive business models, new innovative finance models to think differently about how we do business and what kind of leadership we push out. We, as the Bertha Centre, have the opportunity to create the market we want to see - inclusive, sustainable, positive social & environmental impact in the business ecosystem.
Justin [14:53]: And if we look at social enterprises across the continent - and the nature of the problems that they are solving - it's often to fill a societal gap that exists in a developing country. And if we look at social enterprises across the continent - and the nature of the problems that they are solving - it's often to fill a societal gap that exists in a developing country. there wouldn't necessarily be a market need for startups like LifeBank or MDaaS. So how do we incentivize companies to fill that gap - to build businesses that offer a public good? Public goods that, in other markets, may be provided or subsidized by government? One way is through financial tools like social impact bonds -
Tine [15:20]: We set up a social impact bond in the Western Cape focused on early childhood development that's basically a public/private procurement model where we blending different types of capital and incentivizing impact creation that we otherwise can't necessarily create a return on.
Justin [15:38]: In other words, using impact metrics, not financial return metrics, to unlock performance-based funding for a specific initiative.
Tine [15:43]: We are currently contracting, we've received commitments to seed what we're calling the Green Outcomes Fund, which merges de-risking mechanisms and performance-based mechanisms such as the Social Impact Bond. We are incentivizing local investment funds to invest in green, early-stage, high impact businesses by paying them for positive outcomes such as an access to energy connection, green jobs, etc.
Justin [16:13]: With impact embedded in social enterprises, the social impact bond is one way to incentivize and fund ventures that are being built for emerging market problems across the continent. Another model is revenue sharing - a byproduct of funding scarce environments, as we've discussed previously, is that startups in Africa are seeking profitability sooner than your average Silicon Valley startup. And profitable businesses creates the opportunity to leverage a new model worth exploring -
Tine [16:34]: There's an increasingly popular instrument globally that takes the revenue participation or demand dividends - that takes a percentage off of the revenue that's coming in, so you're sharing the risk a little more equally between the financier and the enterprise. And that also means it depends a lot more on the performance - so you're not necessarily taking equity from a very early-stage company that's then going to hurt it down the road but you're also not imposing an early-stage business with debt.
Justin [17:05]: Ultimately the goal of Tine & the Bertha Centre's work in innovative finance is to create new investment vehicles that work for the types of businesses solving the types of problems they are committed to solving across the continent, and importantly, creating mechanisms that de-risk and further incentivize other investors to play in this space.
Tine [17:19]: How do we mobilize more capital for impact investing? How do we make South African foundations, for instance, excited about providing catalytic grant capital to early-stage, high impact enterprises? How do we get them excited about investing in impact investing out of their endowments, for instance?
Justin [17:38]: And some of the questions the Bertha Centre is asking about impact investing may be relevant for more traditional, commercial VCs as well.
Tine [17:44]: Some of the things we're looking at at the moment is, for instance, how do we do sustainable funds management models on the continent, if we're not going to necessarily take a Silicon Valley 2-20 approach? Some of the creativity that we've seen is people doing evergreen funds versus shorter, closed-end funds. Doing more of a solid salary for people working in the funds instead of incentivized structure. There might be money, there might to some extent be enterprises, but actually is more on the learning side in terms of how do we deploy capital, what should be the terms - in terms of should it be patient, should we be doing more combinations between debt & equity, for instance.
Justin [18:42]: So why is solving for these funding challenges, and creating greater alignment between funders and practitioners solving for the hardest problems around the continent so important? Perhaps so that we can ensure the businesses worth funding get funded accordingly.
Tine [18:55]: One of the big issues with impact investing is it's quite driven by philanthropists and grant capital coming from the 1 or 2%, which means it's very foundation driven, which means it is quite individual preference driven.
Justin [19:19]: This problem manifested itself with Temie from LifeBank.
Temie [19:22]: I remember we had applied for a particular funding and the person had mentioned - ‘oh yeah so you're delivering in 45 minutes, that's nice, but how are you really changing the world?’ And I was really taken aback - there was one that said, ‘oh, you're only in Lagos’. So there was a lot of pushback from all over the world - we lost resources, we lost grants. If we had just launched in a rural market people would have come and said, ‘oh you're doing great’. But I really resisted.
Justin [19:54]: And it's similar to the feedback that Soga at MDaaS received about not being tech enough. So for the Bertha Centre and Tine, the work becomes -
Tine [20:01]: One of the key things to have a conversation about as an industry is how do we democratize this or tie it into the key needs of the recipient countries?
Justin [20:14]: And it may not be about other models in and of itself, but other ways of thinking altogether -
Lwazi [20:18]: I think also there just needs to be a candid conversation that we need to have about the paradigm and ethos of money here, and what investment means in Africa.
Justin [20:28]: That's Lwazi Wali, Head of Venture at Founders Factory Africa, who we heard from last episode. In that episode, we discussed FFA's venture development model, and we used the term hedging - that they're hedging for the inherent risk of investing in early-stage ventures through their venture building model.
Lwazi [20:41]: If you come from a western point of view then it's called hedging. But I just think from an impact and also development point of view, it's just the right thing to do. It's saying, you're preparing, you're both helping to develop the ecosystem you actually participate in or live in, but also making sure that you are protecting yourself from it, as well.
Justin [21:03]: And of course, hedging or impact is not mutually exclusive with financial returns, either.
Lwazi [21:07]: And I'm a huge believer in impact investing in the true sense of what it means, which means both financial and impact are not mutually exclusive. I think we are seeing enough of a change in ecosystem across innovative finance disciplines, actual creating transparent instruments that move liquidity towards parts of the ecosystem that are typically priced out of traditional forms of capital, whether that's banks, VC or PE capital
Justin [21:35]: And here's where a paradigm shift may be required -
Lwazi [21:37]: I mean, the majority of the population in Africa does not meet the criteria of what western capital requires. I am actually of a really strong belief that we need to re-think how we price risk for the African entrepreneur. Finance is still one of the only industries that are still very product-centered and not human-centered - finance says this is the product that we sell, therefore you must fit into that box or else you can't get access to it. Whereas, 80% of the ecosystem does not have collateral and land rights.
Justin [22:15]: So how do we continue to re-imagine new models for the future? Perhaps with the help of a history lesson -
Alex [22:19]: I ask my students where they think venture capital originated from, and many would say 'oh, it was invented in Silicon Valley, and now it's been adapted to the rest of the world'. And the reality is, it's actually much older.
Justin [22:30]: That's Alex Lazarow again, who we heard from in the opening - a global venture capitalist and the author of Out-Innovate: How Global Entrepreneurs - from Delhi to Detroit - Are Rewriting the Rules of Silicon Valley_, a book on emerging market innovation, which I've linked to in the show notes._
Alex [22:42]: The venture capital model was actually built for the whaling industry. This is in the mid-1800s I believe. There was a little bit under 1000 whaling boats, 70% of which were American and 70% of them came from one town - New Bedford. And what New Bedford had figured out was a model where agents would collect capital from a bunch of investors and invest it in a bunch of boats. The agents would then work with captains who would invest in their boat, they would outfit their own boat, and they would get a portion of the profits. And the sailors would get a portion of the profits, as well, but would not get paid during the whole time. The voyages were really long, many boats sunk and so it was really high risk, and investors made money because some of the boats came back and had disproportionate returns.
Justin [23:29]: And this model, we can see, looks a lot like modern-day venture capital.
Alex [23:33]: And so in this world, the investors are the LPs, the agents are the venture capitalists, the captains are the modern-day entrepreneurs and the workers are the sailors.
Justin [23:42]: Given the nature of whaling, where return on investment wasn't realized until the ships came back to harbor with the whales they caught, and as a result, the captains and sailors were paid on commission, it's a model that was readily adapted for modern day Silicon Valley software businesses.
Alex [23:54]: That model was adapted to the venture capital model, and obviously things were adjusted, and the 2 and 20 structure was adapted with a management fee and a carried interest, but let's not forget, it's called carried interest because it used to be what you could physically carry off the boat.
Justin [24:10]: So modern-day venture capital adapted another high risk/high reward investing model that was specific to a time and place. But again, the question becomes, what model is best for this time and place of the early-stage ecosystem in Africa today?
Alex [24:22]: There's an alternate universe where we might have taken inspiration from other high-risk ventures. And I think one good example of that is the mining industry, which also - you don't know if you're going to be successful when you start a mine, investors are taking a bet on it and they often will look to a portfolio of bets over time. And the model that they put in place there is a royalty structure, which is essentially a revenue share. And that's a totally different model to work for high risk ventures. Obviously, the venture capital model is - today's pure venture capital model is the most successful one, and I think it is one great answer for a particular type of business, but it's obviously not the perfect type of answer for every type of business. And, we're seeing some of these other models start succeeding, as well. And it's still early days, but I suspect if you fast forward ten years from now, it might not be from the whaling industry that we find all of our inspiration. It might be from some of these other industries like mining, as well.
Justin [25:19]: As we come to the conclusion of our three-part series on venture capital, the main thing my b-mic Sayo and I want to drive home is that as we operate in a unique environment, and it requires it's own unique set of models. But it's incumbent upon the practitioners to think critically about what's best for their current situation - and not merely explore different models for difference sake. And that's what Sayo and I sat down to chat about, as we reflected on this topic -
Sayo [25:40]: I have a couple of questions - what is different about this than Silicon Valley? So if I'm an infrastructure company, if I'm building Square, building POSs -why should I go for venture funding and not debt? If I'm a profitable company from early on, why should I go for venture funding and not revenue share? I'm just making sure that the thing isn't that SV is over-indexed to VC If there are better models for different kinds of businesses, then that's not necessarily an African thing, that's about the way the money flows & how it's set up - which should mean that Silicon Valley is over-indexed on venture funding. What do you think?
Justin [26:28]: My guess is that because of the higher than average availability of venture capital, it probably is over-indexed, and my understanding - albeit from a distance - about that ecosystem is that things are starting to change a little bit, I mean, in the context of trying to look more at profitability over growth, does that perhaps mean that rev share models would become more en vogue? And it may not change because there's not much incentive to change because it is such - the availability of funds is so high but I guess the question for us in this context is, because there is funding scarcity, should we not assume that this is the model and should we pre-empt the question by looking at other models?
Sayo [27:19]: 100%, I agree with that, that's what I think. And we should be - it's essentially about being more efficient in the matching, which is necessary because of the scarcity.
Justin [27:30]: And by the way - and we said this at the end of last episode, as well - a venture model doesn't not work, but we're perhaps getting even more nuanced now just talking about what may work the absolute best given the context, given the funding scarcity, given the timelines, given the challenges. And so, if we breakdown the businesses to its parts and look at what are they really doing, I think it's a fair argument to make that other models perhaps ought to be utilized more, or more regularly than they do now, and perhaps we're seeing a shift already.
Sayo [28:10]: What do you think about speed? Is one of the biggest benefits of venture that it's much faster than everything else?
Justin [28:16]: So, is equity venture capital much faster than venture debt or rev shares?
Sayo [28:24]: Yeah. Certainly more than venture debt obviously because you need securities, you need to actually have - there's just more terms and more terms that are essentially about cash flow and risk, which both require further investigation.
Justin [28:40]: So should we be optimizing for speed or should we be optimizing for fit?
Sayo [28:44]: No, that's what I'm asking. I don't necessarily think that it should be because it's faster you should do it, I'm just more just saying or exploring why that mismatch might exist.
Justin [28:56]: I mean this is obviously caveats apply given the generalized nature of this conversation but, my main takeaway from this whole venture series is just that it's incumbent upon entrepreneurs to find this really unique blend of investors that can provide a different and diverse set of strategic purposes.
Sayo [29:20]: At different times.
Justin [29:21]: At different times, right? So on the one hand that's - back to international vs. local conversation, from a smart capital & advisory perspective. But then that also means that the type of investments that you take on -
Sayo [29:34]: Yeah.
Justin [29:35]: And I suppose that's a more unique requirement in this environment than in the US where you're just taking VC all the way and there are no gaps in every stage, and for the right business you can find money.
Sayo [29:49]: Yeah, 100% - I've certainly seen more entrepreneurs blending the shit out of their finance here than anywhere else. And it's cool, I love it actually.
Justin [29:59]: Just the requisite creativity to find the people and to speak their language and to pitch and sell to such a wide and diverse set of people.
Sayo [30:10]: And it's also the nature of the problems. You're building sustainable, profitable, impactful businesses - so it should be raised through profit seekers, impact seekers & sustainability seekers - which is cool.
VO [30:30]: That's it for this episode - and this season of The Flip. We're so appreciative that you've listened thus far, and here's where we need your help for Season Two and beyond. What other topics are you interested in us exploring? What things do you want to learn about? We want to know and we need your help - you can hit us up on social media @theflipafrica or email us at email@example.com.While we're busy building up season two - please be sure to follow us on social media for updates, as well as bite-sized insights from entrepreneurs and investors, that haven't made it into the show. And don't forget to hit subscribe on your podcast app and sign up for our newsletter on our website - theflip.africa - for updates on when season two will launch. Until then, thanks as always for listening and we'll see you soon.