Dream VC Launches 2 New VC Fellowship Programs; Set to Become The Go-To Launchpad for Aspiring Investors in Africa

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Dream VC Is Building the Go-To Launchpad for Aspiring Investors in Africa With Their VC Fellowship Programs
Dream VC Co-Founders Mark Kleyner and Cindy Ai are active ecosystem builders, advisors and investors in African startups. Source: Dream VC.

Founded in 2021 by a small team of Young Investors, Ecosystem Builders and Tech Founders alike, Dream VC has grown into a thriving community, spread across 12+ countries and growing with each cohort, striving to democratise access and understanding about the Venture Capital Space for professionals on the continent and among the diaspora. The institute is entirely remote and celebrates its return to the public arena by launching 2x new programs, aiming to train more than 50+ Future Investors for the continent.

Africa’s economic growth has tremendously accelerated in the past few years and has gained more and more interest from international investors. However, there is a massive gap between ‘homegrown financing solutions’ and funding towards ‘homegrown startups’ in almost all 54 markets across Africa. Most of the investors currently active on the continent are foreign, with North American and European investors at the top. There are exceptions to this, such as Future Africa, created by Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, co-founder of Andela and former managing director of Flutterwave. More funds are being actively formed as investing in startups slowly becomes mainstream.

This is where Dream VC see themselves plugging in, teaching fellows with an immersive 0 to 100 knowledge acceleration about the VC space, covering everything from Deal Sourcing and Due Diligence, to the varied ways VCs can add value and support companies throughout their investment, exploring complicated topics like Syndication, Angel and VC investments and even the legalities of setting up VC Funds or Angel Groups to invest in African startups.
For 2022, Dream VC is returning with 2 programs equipped with an impressive 500h+ of content, and more than triple the contact hours fellows get with the Dream VC staff.

The first programme, Launch into Venture Capital, will run for 14 weeks from June 2022 to September 2022 and is a foundational crash course into VC for young working professionals with less than five years of full-time work experience. Fellows who participate 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, interact with actual African-focused VC analysts and associates in relaxed networking mixers, and benefit from comprehensive career development modules specifically on how to break into the VC industry. Finally, Launch into VC fellows will get access to a dedicated mentorship network through a matching system that pairs 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 second programme, Investor Accelerator, aims to help launch or accelerate the seasoned 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. This rigorous and immersive programme will launch in June 2022 simultaneously alongside the Launch into VC program but will run for 20 weeks until late October 2022. 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 programme- this one promises 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. Investor Accelerator Fellows will also get to hone their investing chops by reviewing active deals, drafting investment memos, and presenting them monthly at a mock Investment Committee meeting.

Despite being a young firm with only one inaugural programme under its belt, the fellowship has an impressive track record with resounding success. More than 90% of the fellows who graduated from the inaugural programme went on break into venture capital; with some joining new and established firms such as Ajim Capital, Akribos Capital, LoftyInc Wennovate, Oui Capital, and Lateral Capital – while others are busy writing checks as angels or setting up their own syndicates and funds in emerging ecosystems like Mozambique, Côte D’Ivoire, Rwanda, and others.

There exist a plethora of VC fellowships in places such as the United States and Europe that offer solutions and support for aspiring investors. These opportunities are crucial stepping stones into venture capital, which is a notoriously difficult industry to break into, with less than 10,000 VCs around the world. At the same time, Venture-Backed and Venture Enabled startups support more than 100m jobs (12m+ in the US alone). This is not yet the case in Africa, and navigating the African startup and investment landscape is very difficult without local context and on the ground support. Despite a set of major VC funded companies being formed in the last 3-5 years, Africa still only has <10 unicorns, despite having a population of 1.3bn+ and the highest rates of entrepreneurship in the world. Pivotal to that is the lack of early-stage funding and the sparsity of VC funds investing across the continent. 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.

“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,” adds Cindy, Co-Founder and Programme Director of Dream VC. 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 working professionals to break into VC on the continent. Dream VC exists to change this and has ambitious plans to enable the next wave of aspiring investors by building the communities, educational infrastructure, and environment to thrive and add maximum value to startups in multiple African startup ecosystems.

Applications for both programs go live on March 8th and will be processed on a rolling basis until the final deadline on May 1st 2022, at 11:59 pm GMT. The Launch into Venture Capital Fellowship specifically also has an Early Bird Deadline on April 1st, 2022, at 11:59 pm GMT in addition to the final deadline on May 1st. Interested applicants can find more about both programme applications here.

The programs are expected to be extremely competitive, so prospective fellows are highly encouraged to apply early. Although Dream VC’s core programs are paid, there are several generous scholarships available, so highly motivated applicants in need of financial support are still strongly encouraged to apply.

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