With funding updates popping up frequently in the African tech ecosystem, it’s easy to assume that the community is doing fine. There are however gaps in funding and capital security for African tech startups.
Africa secured $5 billion in venture capital funding last year. However, there’s still relatively limited capital available to early-stage startups on the continent. Bantaba is changing this narrative by connecting founders to the wealth of the diaspora through its digital infrastructure. World Bank data shows that remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa amounted to $45 billion by 2021. The majority of these funds were used for consumption.
Bantaba This is changing everything.
Bantaba launched as a beta platform on July 2021. Since then, Bantaba has worked tirelessly to fill these gaps and foster growth for African startups. It begs the question: Why is community-driven business and platform important?
Bantaba: Where are you from?
Bantaba is an old Manding word that gave rise to the business’s name. CEO Lamin Darboe says the word refers to a tree that holds elders from African villages. This allows them to make crucial decisions.
Darboe explains that the business is a digital gathering place that brings together African tech startups with the diaspora, with the sole purpose of attracting capital and knowledge from the diaspora. How has Bantaba fared in this endeavor?
Minting value from goodwill
Bantaba, while still quite new, has made a significant impact in the last few weeks. It has attracted over 150 African tech startups, as well as over 300 diaspora experts.
Darboe said that the diaspora’s goodwill has made all of this possible.
”The potential of the African startups is huge and the continent is growing fast. I don’t think analysts are wrong to suggest that Africa’s startup ecosystem will be the next to boom following the steps of China and India.”
The most important lesson I have learned from Bantaba is that there is greatwill among the diaspora to help build a new Africa. This includes collaborating with entrepreneurs who are using technology to create the future of Africa. Lamin Darboe CEO Bantaba
Bantaba is a platform that grows and can be used to convert diaspora goodwill into concrete actions. It’s captured in the solutions created by the platform, from helping founders get Access to professional support To Capital Startups with viable business models that struggle to raise funds at an early stage.
This article addresses common misconceptions
Because of the matchmaking approach Bantaba deploys, you might be tempted into thinking the platform isn’t so different from the popular dating app Tinder. Notwithstanding, Bantaba is all about building the African business – it’s got nothing to do with love and feelings.
Also, Bantaba isn’t a crowdsourcing platform. Darboe quickly dismisses all of this, pointing out that stakeholders are well-informed and should not fall for these traps.
”I think stakeholders, in general, do have a good understanding of the value that Bantaba offers and this is thanks to the fantastic work that our communication team has done”, he explained.
”We have always reiterated that we are a community platform that enables startups to seamlessly connect with professionals and investors in the African diaspora who have the interest to work with African tech startups in one form or shape. This makes Bantaba very different from a crowdfunding platform which functions more on a transactional basis”, he adds.
Darboe believes that startups in Africa have made great progress over the past five years. More than 600 tech companies with the majority of their operations and users in Africa raised $5.2 billion from venture capitalists in 2021, according to a report from Partech, a VC firm that tracks annual data.
There are challenges in understanding and engaging African tech startups. There is a huge market waiting to be discovered.
“In the last 5 years, there has been great progress by startups in terms of marketing, using events and the media to network and increase their visibility to the diaspora. Many diasporans are still unsure how to find and engage with African startups despite this increasing interest. For example, most funding rounds are not disclosed until they are closed and problems startups face are closely guarded secrets.”
Barely 10 months into matching startups with the African diaspora, there’s so much to show for the efforts.
So what’s the secret? Darboe points out the enormous potential of the African tech ecosystem.
”There’s no big secret, the number of promising startups in the African tech ecosystem is huge and the lack of resources is evident. It is easy for diaspora members to find their way to our platform, where they can get the support they need. However, it is amazing to see the passion and willingness of Africans abroad to give back. Our diaspora community is always enthusiastic to hear big wins by startups within the continent.”
Despite sharing a passion to build a new Africa and having shared interests, collaboration was a challenge for the diaspora startup community. These problems have been addressed to a large extent by Bantaba.
”I think the biggest constraint to startup-diaspora collaboration until now has been the lack of dedicated space that brings together these two stakeholders and makes it possible for them to not just seamlessly connect with each other but also interact with each other. This is precisely what Bantaba provides, a diaspora-startup community with a shared passion for building a new Africa.”
Bantaba provides a forum for the diaspora, allowing them to search for startups and provide expertise. They also give African tech startups a space where they can share their stories and connect with diaspora professionals and investors. Lamin Darboe CEO Bantaba
In five years, Bantaba’s goal is to become the key link between global knowledge & capital and Africa’s startup ecosystem. Darboe, CEO of Bantaba, says that the company is working to facilitate significant international capital inflows into Africa’s startup ecosystem.
The African tech ecosystem is poised for growth with Bantaba’s exciting goals.