Cameroonian startup Guanxi Invest has an equity investment platform that enables entrepreneurs to find investors for their activities, and has had an impressive impact already.
Investors can discover startups via the Guanxi Invest platform and invest in businesses in exchange for shares.
The startup has so far received more than 20 applications to fundraise on the platform, validating and listing two thus far. A total of 55 active investors have so far put US$11,500 into these projects, while the Guanxi team works to get more projects live.
“Not all of the remaining projects that are rejected are bad, but this is mainly because their fundraising application is not complete, especially at the level of the financials,” co-founder Cedric Ngondi told Disrupt Africa.
“Hence, we continue to work with them in other to better prepare them for their fundraising campaigns. We are conscious of the challenges entrepreneurs face in preparing a good application and we take it as a responsibility to accompany them in that light.”
The idea for the company was born while Ngondi and co-founder Yves Nkome were working on a class project during an exchange semester in Shanghai, China.
“Yves and I were working on launching a crowdfunding platform in China. While working on the project, we realised there were huge similarities between the Chinese and African ecosystem as far as investments and fundraising are concerned,” said Ngondi.
“We then decided to launch this solution back in our country to solve the problem of access to funds faced by our local entrepreneurs.”
He said crowdfunding was still in its infancy in Africa, with most platforms either based abroad or focused on non-profit crowdfunding, meaning Guanxi Invest is a first-mover in terms of equity crowdfunding on the continent.
“The major constraints to the development of the market are payment methods and the relatively high minimum investment tickets. Thus, we chose to integrate all the local payment solutions into our platform – like mobile money and cash payment – to tackle the low level of bank account penetration,” Ngondi said.
“Also, the minimum investment ticket on our platform is US$15, which makes it available to more people. Our goal is to democratise investment by breaking all the barriers to investment in Africa.”
Ngondi and Nkome started the business – which charges commission on funds raised via the platform – with about US$3,500 in funding from friends and relatives, but they are now trying to raise a further US$150,000 to accelerate Guanxi Invest’s growth and expand to other countries.
“Our services are currently available only in Cameroon. We are planning to expand our services to 13 more countries in Central and West Africa by next year. Our objective is to be present across the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa by 2022,” said Ngondi.