Raising Startup Capital: Entrepreneurs Exploit Funding Avenues

Within a difficult economic context marked by lack of capital, owners of businesses are multiplying strategies to get the necessary funds to scale up their business outfits

In Cameroon, many people who have started their businesses have had to deal with one major hindrance which cuts across the board – lack of capital. Dealing with this challenge is very important to the life of any startup. And within a difficult global economic context, many owners of startups are multiplying strategies to get the necessary funds to scale up their business outfits.

Just recently, the management of Kiro’s Games; one of the world’s best African-themed role-playing games, announced it had raised USD 65,000 (circa FCFA 37.9 million) during a four-day teasing phase of a fundraising scheme. Fankam William, Community Manager at Kiro’o Games said they are targeting USD 300,000 (approximately FCFA 175 million) in total to expand to the United States of America, Europe and 12 African countries.

Interestingly, the Kiro’s Games team is making use of a locally-inspired fundraising scheme – Rebuntu – to achieve their goal. Rebuntu is a play on the words Reboot and Ubuntu; the Zulu word to mean humanity towards others. The crowdfunding platform is inspired by a Cameroonian culture, specifically the Bamileke, who are known for keen marketing and financing.

Rebuntu mixes the local culture with classic method of raising capital through the sale of shares. Also, in January 2019, Cameroonian techie William Elong, Founder of Will & Brothers; a company that produces Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, successfully closed a second fundraising after raising about FCFA 1.3 billion.

The entrepreneur has also had to rebrand his business from Drone Africa to Algo Drones, to make it look more appealing and to attract foreign investors. In a country like Cameroon, where online crowdfunding isn’t usually easy going because many people lack electronic payment systems, some entrepreneurs have been eyeing awards for their innovations in order to get capital.

A case in point is Melissa Bime, a healthcare entrepreneur who won a USD 25,000 Grand Prize at the Anzisha Prize Award organised by the MasterCard Foundation and the African Leadership Academy. She is the founder of INFUISS, an online blood bank and digital supply chain platform that ensures patients in hospitalsin Cameroon have life-saving blood when and where they need it.

Also, Zuo Bruno won the 2018 President’s Excellence Award in Scientific Innovation worth FCFA 10 million for his Zoomed; an SMS car-tracking app. “Many entrepreneurs do not believe they can raise capital by ploughing back profit,” Zuo told Cameroon Tribune, urging other entrepreneurs to be assertive. Eduke Nadesh, Community Manager at ActivSpaces says most of their members get funding from strategic partnerships. She also cited consultancy services, personal savings, seed capital from foundations, family support, amongst others.



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